There’s nothing like having your own kitchen for the first time. In 2007 I moved out of my dad’s house to a studio apartment. I was determined to learn how to cook. Dad taught me a love of food and cooking and Mom taught me creative eating on a budget. Still I had never felt comfortable to truly tackle real cooking in their kitchens. With a place of my own I was at liberty to try and fail at anything. This applied to dating as well as cooking.
I had invited to dinner a guy I met while lifeguarding at the YMCA. Having a repertoire of ramen, boxed mac and cheese, and pasta with veggies and marinara, I searched for something new. I knew I trusted The Splendid Table and chose Madhur Jaffrey’s Cilantro Chicken. It looked simple yet impressive. I think I had to borrow a blender.
It took way longer than I figured it would. My date patiently waited on my new stools at the counter dividing the kitchen from the rest of the studio. It never turned out quite the way it was described in the recipe. It still never does but that’s probably because I never follow it exactly anymore. The recipe has lasted way longer than the guy.
Now I make it for my husband who loves chicken. Every time I ask what he’d like me to cook his answer is “chickies!” So when he was coming home from a week of Outward Bound work travel I picked this recipe to welcome him home.
It’s always good to start with gathering your ingredients. This is most of it minus the chicken.
I started by blending 3″ of ginger, 5-7 garlic cloves, 1t salt, 2t (or a good squeeze) of lemon juice. I put that in a ziplock baggie because I’d be adding the chicken later for marinating overnight.
Without cleaning the blender (because efficiency in less cleaning was a real draw to this recipe), I blended two bunches of cilantro (stems and all), a good squeeze of tomato paste, 1t salt, two tomatoes, and 3 Serrano chillies.
I happened to buy bone in, skin on chicken thighs because that’s all Everett’s had. So the part that took the most time was de-boning and skinning the chicken. I then roughly diced 8 thighs and added them to the baggie of ginger goo.
Now I had everything prepped (except chopping the bell peppers).
The next day I fried up the chicken in it’s ginger goo, then added the cilantro sauce. While that bubbled away I chopped the bell pepper. I was impatient and added the pepper and yogurt. I had a little more than a cup left in the container and just used it all up.
I stirred and waited… about 10min.
Meanwhile I had cooked pasta because I was out of rice.
I like stirring the pasta in to get an even distribution and let the sauce start to cling to the pasta.
mmmmm yum nom. We were very happy. Also equally happy with the leftovers that fed us for the next few days.