Tag Archives: chicken

Man vs Lobster @ Zheng He

TheCalmDev @ Zheng He - Man vs Lobster
TheCalmDev @ Zheng He – Man vs Lobster

Unfair fight. Lobster alive or on the plate, notwithstanding.

Little did I know that I was going in for combat when I walked in with my dearest friend at Zheng He by the waterfront at Mina’a Salaam. Priority seating, with uninterrupted views of the Burj Al Arab changing gels in the evening, was quite the highlight. And then the food started rolling out.

The Dragon Boat Festival @ Zheng He
The Dragon Boat Festival @ Zheng He

To celebrate the dragon boat festival, there was a special dimsum menu. Truth is, whatever the festival, I am always up for dimsums. Chicken, prawn and mushrooms, tempered, and stuffed inside delicate translucent steamed bags is something I can do on repeat mode every evening.  The only thing that beat it was a crispy golden king prawn in Chinese mustard and spicy mango. Our kind hostess from the Orient, oriented us and patiently answered our questions. Spicy mango, not spiced mango, said she. This appetizer is highly recommended. In fact, I do not mind having it as a main course.

And then on followed a kingly sight of soups, duck, shrimps, octopus and scallops. My co-eater asked for the whole Canadian lobster in black pepper sauce. It didn’t alarm me, as I thought it would be an equal share of the crustacean. When it arrived, I was left to wrestle it all by myself. Understand this, I had half the Tasmanian Sea inside my stomach and then I had to eat the entire lobster! (Ideally this line would have sounded better with an expletive.)

The lobster on the far right. What I ate was bigger!
The lobster on the far right. What I ate was bigger!

And so, I set out for the impossible. The head and the tail shells on the plate taunted me as I slowly reached out my chopsticks for the chunks of juicy lobster meat flavoured with the essence of the Sichuan area. The taste was incredible, as was the texture. My hands picked up momentum, picking and delivering piece after piece until my mouth was unable to keep up. Chewing and swallowing on an almost-full stomach is not an easy task. I was thinking of greater glories like my name on Zheng He’s aesthetic walls discussing my superhuman feat; or comforting things like eating in my loosest pyjama in front of TV. I wasn’t prepared to give up easily on this deliciousness on my plate. I was about 7 pieces more to go before fame and glory would throw their garlands around my neck. I wasn’t looking at the Burj, or at the table next to me with 5 gorgeous girls daintily eating their Chinese food. And then there were 3, left. Lobster pieces. I felt like Achilles in the siege of Troy. To destroy a 1.5 kilo lobster all by myself is no less satisfying. With my plate polished off clean, I stood up akimbo, much to the surprise of my bemused friend, the 5 beautiful co-diners and our Chinese stewardess. I told her stoically that I was adjusting the lobster inside my stomach and she did have a strange look on her face. Hah! You should have seen mine – it was like Po with his mouth filled with buns.

Ni hao! And how!

#BurpAndBelch Meter: 5 buuuuuurps (sorry, was I too loud?)

#5WordFoodReview: Eat Pray Eat! Then Repeat!

Zheng He's - Mina A' Salam Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

GoGyroz: Easy Way To Go Greek

TheCalmDev goes Greek #GoGyroz
TheCalmDev goes Greek #GoGyroz
Pheidippides running on the wrapping tissue with a gyro in hand. Is this what led him to the Marathon?

Is this what Leonidas and his horde ate to get those hard 6-packs? If so, I am willing to go on a GoGyroz diet. 

For the uninitiated, it will not take long to understand the food in question. It is the Greek equivalent of the shawarma. Vertical skewer meat stuffed on to a folded pita bread, with a choice of what you want it go with it – veggies and sauce. And then, sink your teeth into it, Greco style.

I was tabled on this very sparse (Spartan idea, maybe), Greek-blue-and-green themed small outlet by the very warm and cheery team, an array of gyros. Now the menu is as Spartan as it gets. Read, minimalist. 4 different gyros. Make your own gyro empire. And that is it. This where you take a breath. Less is more. Unwrap your warm gyro, close your eyes as you open your mouth wide as a dinosaur and chomp.

Spartan Bite
Spartan Bite
The Spartan (Greek) is a juicy sandwich filled with red onions, arugula leaves, chicken, tzatziki sauce along with a special GoGyroz seasoning. This one, I really liked.

Babylonian Byte @GoGyroz
Babylonian Byte @GoGyroz
The next one is the Babylonian Bite (Persian) that had a hint of sesame tahini, shredded chicken, tomato, parsley, pickles. After all, you need to survey who the Greeks are up against.

 

 

Ottoman Odessey @GoGyroz
Ottoman Odessey @GoGyroz
The third one was the Ottoman Odyssey. What? I didn’t have to run a marathon like Pheidippides. I had a car. So this one was the Arabian doner with a roast eggplant sauce. I like that.

The fourth, and I did not try this due to unavailability of space in my stomach is the Mayan Myth, which is the Mexican. Tortilla bread with chipotle and guacamole. Maybe next time.

I definitely recommend the Spartan and Babylonian. And while you are chomping it, imagine the hoplites fighting the Persians on the plains of Marathon.

#BurpAndBelch meter : 3 burps

#5WordFoodReview : There Go My Dream Abs!

Go Gyroz Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yum In The Tum Mushroom Sauce

Soul gravy. Enough said.
The gravy of anything keeps the soul of the dish. This dictum passed

Sai Talwalkar - chef-at-home
Sai Talwalkar – chef-at-home

the litmus, when our happy as a canary, crazy-cook friend Sai called me and wifey over for dinner. While all else on the dining table were flavourful, but my memory is fresh with the mushroom sauce that dripped my grilled chicken.

This is Sai’s Mushroom Gravy Recipe.
1. Mushrooms – white button mushrooms will do. The Italian brown ones taste better. Use both for a richer taste. 10-12 will be enough for 2 people.
2. Shallots – 3 tablespoons
3. Garlic – 2-3 cloves
3. All purpose flour –  2 teaspoons
4. Stock (veg or chicken) – 1 cup
5. Worcestershire sauce – 1/2 teaspoon
6. Seasoning – salt and pepper
7. Cream – 2 tablespoons
8. Mixed dry herbs
Slice up the mushrooms. Finely chop shallots.
Heat a healthy glug of olive oil and spoon in 1 teaspoon of butter. Add the shallots, saute till pink, add the garlic, add the mushrooms. Sai takes a bigg-ish pan to do this. Mushrooms will not brown well if crowded. Saute till cooked; meaning you get to eat a sliver from the pan! Season them with salt and pepper.
Now add the flour, basically to thicken the sauce. One needs to be careful here, as you do not want the sauce to be floury (does that term exist or we just made that up).  Let it coat the mushrooms well.
Mushroom GravyNow add the stock, it should be a little more than the final measure of sauce you need. Let it simmer till you reach the correct consistency then add the Worcestershire sauce and the herbs.
Add the cream. Switch off gas. Check seasoning. Keep warm or eat immediately.
Goes very well with steak / grilled chicken or salmon.
Truth be told, gravy is the soul of any dish. Try it.
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published on Masala Online on 25 Feb 2015: http://www.masala.com/recipe-of-the-week-mushroom-gravy-190082.html

Grilled Chicken with Rosemary and Zaatar

Dinner under 15 minutes
Dinner under 15 minutes

Quick and easy dinner that got ready under 15 minutes and impressed the better half on V-Day eve too!

For you to score under 15 minutes or exact, get the marination ready. For 2 chicken breasts, you will need:

  • 3-4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of Lebanese zaa’tar
  • 1 shot of orange juice (add this discreetly, as if it were a secret ingredient that others aren’t supposed to know)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Cut the breasts in half; so you will have 4 pieces in total. Coat the chicken pieces  with the dry rub. Place them in a container. Add the shot of orange juice and let it soak in for 4 hours.

For the salad, take fresh greens and tear them up roughly by hand. Add a small part of chopped walnuts. For the dressing, use balsamic with olive oil. Pour the dressing and toss the salad well. IMG-20150214-WA003

Heat your griddle pan, throw in a couple of glugs of olive oil and grill in your marinated chicken pieces. Once done, let them rest for a couple of minutes.

Plate in the greens, slide up the chicken pieces beside them.

Bon apetit!

They called it Whiskey Chicken

Fresh from a victorious BBQ at a close friend’s house-warming party, I am feeling rather chuffed at how wonderful the BBQ marination has turned out to be. In hind-sight, that statement is rather far from modesty. But allow me that excitement since my experiment went off really well.

There were 2 of us responsible for all the marination and menu for the BBQ Grill Party. Need to add in that the other friend is a brilliant cook who can cook up a dream. The 2 of us were responsible for the palettes of 6.

Sharing the recipe of the nicely drunk chicken chunks in this mildly tempered marinade:

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 cloves of garlic; finely chopped

2 large pegs of whiskey

Mix all of them together. I had 2 whole chicken that I de-boned and dunked in the 1 inch cubes in it overnight.

Skewer the pieces on well soaked wooden skewers or replace them with metal ones.

Put them on the grill for about 5-6 minutes; depending on how well you are stoking the heat.

Eat! Close your eyes! Eat some more! Repeat!

Tip: strain out the garlic pieces and reduce the marinade with a handsome dollop of honey and use as a glaze to serve with the meat.

I do not have a single photo since we were too busy stoking the fire, balancing the skewers and handling drinks! Cheers!

Grilled Za’atar Chicken on Sweet Spud Mash

So, before I forget the password to my food blog, I decide to post the last 2 memorable meals that I rustled up. This one is “Zaatar Grilled Chicken on a bed of Sweet Potato Mash”.

Ever since I have started grilling, I realise that the meats remain the constant. The variable (read accompaniments) need to be varied timely to keep any recipe alive. This is just my rusted a-mathematical brain trying to postulate a theorem. If you want to skip this bit (and not know me) then scroll down to the recipe directly.

Grilled Zaatar Chicken on Sweet Spuds
Grilled Zaatar Chicken on Sweet Spuds

For the grilled chicken:

1 breast of chicken

2 teaspoons of za’atar

Salt to taste

Pepper to your liking

Olive oil to cover both sides of the chicken

 

For the mashed potatoes:

2 medium-sized sweet potato

1 small regular potato

100 ml of single cream

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 knob of butter

Salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and set them to boil. I usually cut them up into quarters to ensure even and quicker cooking. While the spuds are bubbling away, prepare the chicken.

Zaatar robed chicken breast
Za’atar robed chicken breast

Beat it lightly with a mallet to get it to even thickness. Then apply salt and pepper to both sides. Then add about 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh za’atar to one side. Add a small drizzle of olive oil and let the chicken rest.

Check on the potatoes. They should almost be done. Run a knife to see if they are softening up. Once they do, drain the water, transfer the spuds to a bowl and start mashing them up. Throw in a knob of butter and a hint of oregano. Mash them further. Use all the force you think you have when you watch The Dark Knight wrestling Bane. Add in the cream and mix it all together. Add salt and pepper. And now for the dreaded part of checking on your cooking prowess – taste a bit of the mash. Good? Great! Leave it for the time being.

Get your skillet out and have it nice and hot and carefully place in your chicken. Grill both sides. You’d notice that the za’atar side darkens up. Do not fume. It is only crusting up and becoming more flavourful.

Crunchy Grilled Zaatar Chicken
Crunchy Grilled Za’atar Chicken

Once done, rest the chicken. Slice them up and serve on a generous bed of creamy mashed sweet spuds.

What I loved most is how the za’atar revealed all its flavours while on the grill. You will love the prominent sesame crunch to the grilled chicken.

Enjoy!

On my #Burp&Belch meter, I’d give it 3 and 1/2 burps (out of 5)!

Grilled Chicken w Greens Cherry Tomatoes & Haloumi

Grilled Chicken on Greens, Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes and Grilled Haloumi
Grilled Chicken on Greens, Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes and Grilled Haloumi

This started out as an ambitious plan to rustle up dinner like I see Jamie Oliver do. Inspiration aside, it was the trepidation to get it absolutely right that got me completely involved in this dish that I (unimaginatively) call Grilled Chicken on a bed of Greens, Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes with Grilled Haloumi. I am sure the name would run off the page if featured on a menu. This is how it all went.

 

For the grilled chicken:

    • 1 chicken breast, halved
    • Rosemary and Thyme for the rub
    • Salt and Pepper for seasoning

 

For the Greens

    • 1 box of greens (or choose rocket leaves, lettuce of different hues)
    • 1 box or 250 grams of cherry tomatoes (quarter them up)
    • 200 grams of mushrooms (I used the ordinary white button mushrooms)
    • 2 pods of garlic, chopped
    • 4 slices of fresh Haloumi Cheese (grilled)
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper for seasoning

 

In a large salad bowl, flip over the box of greens and roughly tear the leaves up a bit. Throw in the quartered cherry tomatoes. Lightly saute the finely sliced mushrooms in butter and garlic. Cool them a bit before tossing them in the bowl. Squeeze a juice of a lemon all over. Add in some extra virgin olive oil. Throw in a dash of salt and pepper to season. Use your hands to mix it all up and keep ready.

Heat a skillet nice and hot. Drizzle in a spot of olive oil. Add in the chicken. While the chicken gets grilled, put the slice of haloumi cheese. While the criss-cross mark of the grill looks pleasing on the haloumi skin, keep in mind that over cooking or heating the cheese will make it rubbery and chewy. Flip them over. Check on the chicken too. That was just to show how good a multi-tasking cook I can be. The chicken will take about 6-7 minutes to get done. Take them off the heat and rest them for a few minutes. Meanwhile, start the plating.

Make a generous bed of greens. Make sure that you can see the cherry tomatoes and mushrooms; adds to the treat visually. Place a slice of grilled chicken on top. Add in a couple of slices of the grilled haloumi. Et violà!

Bon appétit! 

Wifey rating: 5 burps!