Before going any further I am going to start this off with a disclaimer I am not a “chef” and do not like to be considered as such. I like to think of myself as a risk taking enthusiastic home cook.
I have got a very advanced palate and have been fortunate enough to try cuisines from several regions across the world and in my free time I love to attempt to recreate them at home, I am not a fan of repetitive meals nor am I a fan of not exploring beyond the scope of what I know.
I watch as many cooking shows as possible and have unfortunately gone as far as watching reality dating shows that revolve around cooking (Dinner Date on BBC Lifestyle, check it out riveting stuff) I learn recipes from these shows, give some of them a little twist at times, I make my own inventions in the kitchen, I have recipes passed on to me from my mum and her sisters/ my aunts from over the years. Simply put I am never short of an idea for a good meal.
Tonight I was in the mood for something quick but at the same time wholesome and being the Ugandan I am my plate had to have an overdose of starch, meat and some greens.
I made soy fried rice taught to me by my cousin Barbara (a little over two years ago), a chicken curry with a twist by way of India, Parsley Potato wedges because who does not like bar food at home? Steamed spinach on the side to trick myself into thinking I am having a super healthy dinner.
Every product used is available at your local supermarket and local farmer’s market.
- Potatoes (your serving of choice)
- Chicken thighs (bone-in)
- Basmati rice
- Spring onion
- One red onion
- Cilantro (for garnish)
- One garlic bulb
- Two tomatoes
- Quarter lemon
- Plain/Natural Yoghurt
- Cooking cream
- Soy Sauce (I used dark mushroom, but feel free to use the kind you prefer)
- Smoked or Spanish paprika
- Black pepper
- Curry powder
- Mixed spice
- Chili flakes (optional)
- Dried parsley
- Royco chicken flavour
- Tomato paste
Lightly drizzle with olive oil/vegetable oil and sprinkle your spices to your hearts content, for this, use salt, black pepper, paprika, curry powder, mixed spice rub these into the chicken thighs until marinated. Let rest for 30 minutes to an hour and place on a baking tray (please layer with parchment paper or aluminum foil) pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and bake for an hour (flip the thighs at the 30 min mark). Bake until crispy and a beautiful golden brown.
If the oven is not an option for you worry not, the alternative is to deep fry them on low heat turning sides every five minutes until ready.
On low-medium heat pour oil of your choice into a pan, fry your finely sliced red onion, followed by your grated or crushed garlic. When that is incorporated throw in your grated tomatoes and add a tablespoon of tomato paste as you stir vigorously when all is incorporated add about 100ml of yoghurt and a tablespoon of cooking cream. You would have now created a thick sauce to it, squeeze the juice of a quarter lemon add about 50 ml of water and let boil for a further five minutes.
Remove from the heat and place the sauce in a blender, blend until you have a smooth and thick sauce and return to the pan and heat for five minutes.
When both are ready, you can place your chicken pieces in a dish and pour the sauce on top of them or alternatively you could pour the sauce to individual pieces on your plate. Your preference, your business.
This is the easiest part of the meal, I assume you all know how to make good fluffy rice. But in the case that some of you do not, I do two cups of rice and four cups of water, boil on medium heat until the water levels reduce and rice is visible to which I lower the heat to the lowest point, cover the pan and let cook until dry and ready.
In a different pan and on medium heat pour a little oil and add your chopped spring onion, lightly fry for about 2-3 minutes and then add your boiled rice. Sprinkle an even and generous amount of soy sauce and mix until a nice dark brown colour. Be careful not to use too much soy sauce as the flavour may overpower all the other flavours in the food. Your rice is now ready to serve.
Slice potatoes into neat wedges, boil for 10-15 min on medium heat when ready drain water and transfer to frying pan and fry for a further 30 min until ready. When ready sprinkle with dried parsley and your potatoes are ready to be served.
The greens are quite simple, they make their own juices so require about 50 ml to be added, place in a pan on low heat and let cook for 10 minutes, add salt to taste and if you don’t care about calories, add a little cooking cream and you have creamed spinach.
There you have it, a wholesome multi-cuisine meal. Bon Apetit!
Written by Bradford Kamuntu
Mr Kamuntu is a public relations and marketing strategist.