If you know me, then you know by now that I can never say no to good food, much to my own detriment. I’ve struggled with being confident about my weight ever since my sister called me “Michelin” in standard six, and I remember sitting on the bathroom floor reading Shout magazine and wondering why I couldn’t be like the skinny white girls in those pages.
Then I grew up and sort of stopped giving too many f***s, and decided that I would eat anything and everything my heart desired, and I loved getting home and finding food just waiting for me. Then I got married and moved out of my parents’ house and realised that if I wanted to eat (and maybe even feed my Lover), I had to cook. Eating out is nice, but it’s also really expensive, and my budget keeps saying no.
So I started cooking a bit more, realised that I didn’t mind doing it, then realised that I enjoyed it better when I didn’t have to do it – or when we’d eaten sandwiches for lunch and dinner two or three days in a row. Around that time I got knocked up and we had to get a nanny and top on my list of requirements, was that she had to cook really well.
We’ve been very fortunate because this woman not only deals with Gong all day; she still finds time to throw down some amazing meals. Even her ugali makes my taste buds sing.
So because I never have to cook these days, I’ve decided that I want to do it a little more. In this segment, I’ll be sharing my favourite recipes from all over the Internet, and even some of my own, beginning with this goodness that I stumbled upon the other day.
Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of these recipes; I’m just sharing them as I make them. I also do not follow recipes as they are. I start off with the intention of sticking to them, but early into cooking I find myself improvising. It could be that I couldn’t find the ingredients, or couldn’t be bothered to go shopping, or mixed things up a little because i was distracted, but the food usually turns out better than expected.
So let’s jump into my current fave, shall we?
My favourite thing about this recipe has to be how quick it is to make. It’s simple, doesn’t require any super-fancy ingredients, will impress your people, and is easy on the dishes – nobody wants to wash a sink full of dishes after enjoying a good meal.
Prep + cooking time: about 30 minutes (if you’re organised, and committed)
Serves: 4 (according to the recipe, but could be more or less depending on how you guys eat)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, or 6 chicken thighs (I used 8 drumsticks)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 2¼ cups low sodium chicken broth (I did not have broth, so I dissolved 2½ bouillon cubes, yaani stock cubes like Royco, Knorr or Maggi in 2 ½ cups of water)
- 1 lemon (the big yellow imported ones are much juicier than the small green ones)
- chopped dhania, for garnish
Spanish seasoning mix
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (you could also use regular ground Spanish paprika)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (I used 4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped finely)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander (you can use cumin instead)
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I made my own by mixing dried oregano, basil, thyme and ground black pepper)
- In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients for the Spanish seasoning mix. Divide in half and set aside. Cut the lemon in half, then thinly slice one half – for garnish – and reserve the other half for juicing later in the recipe.
- Place chicken in a medium bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, then toss or mix with your hands to coat well. Use half of the prepared seasoning mix to rub on both sides of each piece of chicken.
- Drizzle a large pan with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil (though feel free to add a little more if you need it) and bring to medium heat. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Transfer to a plate. (It won’t be cooked through at this point)
- Add rice, chicken broth, juice from 1/2 of the lemon, and remaining seasoning mix and stir to combine. Return chicken to the pan on top of the rice. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes until liquid is absorbed, rice is tender, and chicken is cooked through.
- Garnish with lemon slices and freshly chopped cilantro or parsley and serve immediately.
This dish kind of reminds me of chicken pilau with a twist, and I actually found it while looking for a recipe for that. I could have made the pilau (I’ve never made pilau, judge me), but I thought I’d score higher points if I announced “we’re eating Mexican tonight!” Let’s just say that I did, and thanks to the recipe, I was once again able to remind my Lover of yet another of my talents.
Have you tried it? What did you think? Got anything you’d recommend for me? Leave a comment, I’d love to try and make what you’re making too.