Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sizzlin' chicken

There was, probably is, a place called Zamu's in Pune which introduced me to the absolute goodness of Sizzlers. A cast iron plate, overflowing with tender chicken pieces, mounds of gooey mashed potatoes, sauteed sweet peas, and other assorted veggies came to the table magician a cloud of smoke, making the beautiful sizzling sound butter makes when it hits a hot pan (I guess, hence the name). Zamu's quickly became my favorite haunt for a Dhansak meal (Sundays only) their famous drunken chicken sizzlers, the tree shaded courtyard, friendly service and the memory of my first wine cooler with a friend.
I love the idea of cooking with alcohol, sometimes I even put it in my food! (Stolen from a fridge magnet, lets not say stolen, lets say inspired!)
So this Sunday, I decided to recreate Zamu ishtyle Drunken Chicken Sizzler. All my searches for drunken chicken yielded a gross looking recipe that involved sticking a can of beer up a chicken's ass or something and while I'm sure the result, judging from the enthusiastic words about it, must have been pretty good, lets just say I wanted to eat what I cooked.
Warning, the process is a little labour intensive. Well, you are chopping something up or sauteing or skewering something, preferably of the food variety. But it can be cut down to the bare minimum...chicken, some type of noodle or rice and whatever veggies you can handle.
Since I couldn't find any recipes for the sizzler I wanted, I just made something on my own. The result was nowhere close to the bone sucking quality of Zamu's but it wasn't bad. There, that's my sales pitch for you. It wasn't bad. :)
I marinated the chicken for about 4 hours in a combination of beer and vodka along with some ginger-garlic paste and jalapeno sauce and served it with oven fried potatoes, peas, corn, spinach, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, onions and peppers. Oh, and I made tomatoes a new way, oven baked them with garlic and that recipe is a winner. Beautiful in its simplicity, the juicy tomato and the almost sweet garlic made a great addition to the plate.

So here goes my Zamu inspired chicken sizzler.

2 boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into big cubes

2 teaspoons garlic paste
2 teaspoons ginger paste
2-3 teaspoons jalapeno sauce
3 tsp cumin powder
1/2 cup mixed beer and vodka
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt-pepper to taste

2-3 plum tomatoes, cut into halves
4-6 garlic pods
2 potatoes cut into wedges
1/2 cup peas and corn
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
1 medium onion, cut into large pieces
1 medium bell pepper, cut into large pieces
4-5 large mushrooms
1/2 cup olive oil
salt, pepper to taste
Italian seasoning
chili flakes

1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 garlic pod smashed
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/2 cup parsley, chopped fine

Chop the chicken in big cubes and rub in the marinade given above. Cover and keep in the fridge for 4-5 hours. When done marinating, put on skewers and cook in the oven or a grill. Since potatoes take the second place for longest to cook, chop up the potatoes next, mix with some of the olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt-pepper and cook in an oven on 350 till done. Turn them over once while cooking.
I found this way for cooking tomatoes in my new cookbook and it absolutely rocks! Just halve the tomatoes, take the garlic pods, stick them in the tomatoes, brush with olive oil, sprinkle salt-pepper and cook in the oven.
Next chop the mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, brush with olive oil, seasoning and put that on skewers in the oven. Cook the peas and corn with a little bit of salt and add little butter to it(optional).
Saute the spinach with more garlic, if you are not on a date :). Saute the sugar snap peas very quickly too.
Boil everything for the sauce together and add parsley right before pulling off the flame.
Now take your cast iron plate. Heat it properly and pile on your chicken and veggies. Pour on the sauce for the sizzle and smoke. You can put any dipping sauce over it, or just put some butter or vinegar.
Appear magically in a cloud of smoke and serve immediately to delighted customers.

I made it just under the fence for Sri's Chicken Event of Me and My kitchen, who was nice enough to remind me about it. Do people already know about my procrastinating habits?

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