The world is reeling under the threat of the COVID19 virus. Most of us are home-arrested with the country in a complete lock-down. With only essential services available, it makes procuring food items that much harder. And so the challenge in the kitchen is to make whatever you can, with whatever you have, but good enough to make that meal count.
So, here is a quick grilled chicken dinner, with creamy mash and mushy peas.
Three happy, sumptuous looking chicken breast pieces on my chopping board, made me as happy as a painter about to start his painting. With a mallet, level up the piece into uniformity, and then with a knife, score the flesh to let the simple salt-pepper rub in it. Let the pieces rest for a while.
Next up, I cubed up some potatoes, peeled off their skins (must have hurt) and put them to boil. For the mushy peas, I shelled up some fresh green peas and plonked them in the boiling cauldron with the potatoes for a brief bit.
In a saucepan, put in a glug of olive oil and a small knob of butter and splutter in some whole cumin seeds; to that add about 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped. Stir them up and put in the peas. Next, took my masher (who thanked me profusely for taking it out of the kitchen drawer after years), I used up my shoulder and arm power to mash up the peas. It will take some muscle power, but if you have been doing the dishes and mopping the floor regularly, then it would be a dream. I did not have cream to add, so I added about 2 tablespoons of milk and kept at the peas. Throw in some salt. They turned all mushy albeit a bit chunky. Taste – check.
The potatoes were ready in their hot bath. Drained off the water and put them in with some butter. The two usually get along fabulously. So, I introduced them to the masher. Keep going at the potatoes and butter, making sure that you don’t scrimp with the latter. Crack in some black pepper, a little oregano, salt, and a cup of freshly cut up spring onion shoots; sorry, no chives. Put them all in the sack together. Mash it up into a creamy, smooth paste. Taste – check.
With the sides ready, now it was time to put the chicken to the sizzle. Heated up my griddle pan, put in a generous glug of olive oil and put the chicken breast pieces in. Watch the sides of the chicken peices change colour from pink to a fatty yellow. Turn them over. Let the chicken have its conversation with the oil. Make sure to season the other side with salt and pepper as well (if you didn’t earlier). Keep an eye on the colour. Doesn’t take long for a char to turn to burn. Take them off, and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Plate up till then.
Mushy peas come in cutsie bowls, handsome dollops of mash on the side – I wanted to see them and not make them into a mattress for the chicken to sleep on). And then, place your grilled chicken. Take a few pictures and then serve to family.