in like a lion….
Good evening everyone.
I begin the new month with an experimentation, of sorts. I tried my hand at jujeh kebab and tahdig.
For those unfamiliar with Persian cuisine, jujeh kebab is essentially marinaded chicken, skewered and grilled. Unfortunately, I don’t have an actual grill. I do have a George Foreman grill, though! Yeah, it’s not the same at all. There’s no charred, smokey flavor. There’s no real grill marks. But, it is compact and efficient and I use it to grill my sandwiches almost every day.
Tahdig is actually less a food and more a product of cooking rice in a certain way. After cooking the rice, you let it sit in the pan for about an hour so it forms a delicious crust on the bottom. Usually basmati rice is used for this. I love crusty rice, particularly with paella. There are a few different types of tahdig, and I chose to make mine with potato slices.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any basmati or long grain, white rice around. So, I had to use brown rice. Either this negatively affected my dish, or perhaps I added too much olive oil to the bottom of the pan. Either way, the rice did not have as much of a crust as I had hoped for, and I had it on the stove for nearly an hour over low heat (to prevent burning). It was good, don’t get me wrong, I would have just preferred a thicker crust.
Jujeh kebab adapted from here
1 chicken thigh
1 cup greek yogurt (i recommend either fage or chobani. if you don’t have greek yogurt, take plain yogurt and place it in some cheesecloth. either hang this over a bowl or place it in a strainer that fits over a bowl. strain for 3 hours in the refrigerator, and you’ve got greek yogurt)
3 or so TBSP turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 a lime
1. in a bowl, combine the yogurt, turmeric, salt, pepper, and lime juice. combine well. it should be a nice yellow color. put the chicken in the bowl, toss to coat. either cover this with plastic wrap and put that in the refrigerator, or place this mix into a ziploc bag, squish it around, and then place it in the refrigerator. your call. let this marinade over night.
2. you can do any of the following: grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, grill it on your george foreman, bake it, or broil the chicken. i leave that to you. i did mine on the george foreman grill set to medium heat for about 10 minutes.
The chicken was very flavorful. I will never understand why people snub their noses at turmeric by calling it the poor man’s saffron. Saffron = yellow, but tasteless. It comes from a pretty flower, though. Anyway, the squeeze of lime really brightens the chicken quite a lot. It blends well with the tang of the yogurt. It’d be EVEN better on a real grill, but I digress.
Tahdig with Potato adapted from here
1 cup cooked basmati rice
1 gold potato, chopped into 1/4 inch rounds
1 TBSP saffron water (steep the saffron in hot water until the water is golden)
1. in a medium saucepan, add 2 TBSP olive oil. add the saffron water and some salt, stir to combine.
2. place the potato rounds on the bottom of the saucepan. lay the rice over this, and cook for about an hour on low heat. if you get impatient, crank it up to medium for the last 15-30 minutes or so.
The other bummer about brown rice is that you can’t really see the little bit of crust that did manage to take form. The rice was good, and the potatoes were nice and crunchy. Next time, I will definitely be using basmati rice and I am going to try and make the tahdig with bread instead of potatoes. I must conquer this.
Tomorrow? Braised oxtails!