Friday, September 16, 2011

BONJOUR SERIES # 1 - KABSA


I am here posting the inaugural post for my new series - Bonjour !  I started this to be a biweekly series.. but happily, the responses were really overwhelming , so decided to turn it to a weekly series :) YAY !! Good for Me !!

For this weeks post.. Our Guest Blogger is Jehanne from " The Cooking Doctor ". She really is a cooking Doctor. A surgeon by profession, I ought to admit that I have thought "How on Earth does She have time to manage a wonderful blog".. not just any blog people, a truly professional blog. She writes very clearly, Pictures are out the roof, and the dishes are authentic and fancy too.. I am just so in love with her space.. :))

I knew her out of no where.. :) I don't exactly remember where we began to know each other.. but was hooked instantly.. or I vaguely remember, the "Tea Pot" giveaway she had when I discovered her blog.. I badly wanted to win and used to check her space every single day until she published the Winner, which was not me :( We became good friends from there on ..

I have been having this thought of guest post series from long time.. but Jehanne triggered things.. by her willingness and enthusiasm to write.. She was so sweet to take some time out of her busy schedule and do all the write up , I asked her to .. Thanks Darling !!

She came up with so many dishes when we started of things.. but then settled, for her ever loving dish Kabsa.. which is the guest post for today.. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you Jehanne in her own words....
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Jehanne's Guest Post


When I first entered the blogging world, which was really recently, I came across Jabeen's corner, a lovely site with a fabulous event of Iftar Nights. That first click and I was hooked on her site until now, not only Jabeen shares the same healthy eating ethos being a dietitian, her effort to congregate foodies all over the world to contribute recipes for Iftaris through her special event really amazed me. That first click was also a beginning of a new friendship for us , albeit a virtual one for the moment. 
I was more than honoured to do the first guest post for Jabeen and although we both share the love for agar-agar, I thought Jabeen deserves something special, something exotic that befits her and her lovely blog. As Jabeen is probably more of a specialist on Indian food than me, I thought I would cook something Middle Eastern instead, my signature dish of Chicken Kabsa that has found its way in our ancestral home for all the special occasions, birthdays and family gatherings. What better way to celebrate Eid with Jabeen's readers than the fabulous Chicken Kabsa, the exotic dish that befits the royals.  Jabeen has also requested me to do some little snippets about myself, so here goes...


1. A bit about myself, personal and professional.

I have always been passionate about food, having seen my mother cooking and baking professionally. Our house was always filled with aroma of freshly baked breads in the morning, nice cinnamon flavoured teacakes for our chai time and dishes of the world for dinner parties. I grew up with no specific regional cuisine in particular, which makes it very adventurous and I learned more about food and cooking through my passion for travelling. Cooking later became a necessity during my uni days and subsequently after I embarked on my surgical career, cooking becomes my therapy as well as my way of entertaining friends and family after work. I love the science of baking, as it always results in wonderful creations. Though I would not trade in my scalpel just yet, this brief period of maternity leave also gave birth to TheCookingDoctor blog, where I put in my anecdotes from the various fusion cuisines we have at home.





2. My likes and dislikes

I love chocolates, and who doesn't? A great cup of espresso in the morning with some homemade granola and yogurt really kick starts my day, and I could not think of any vehement dislikes, when it comes to food. I am a big fan of anything homemade, from knitting booties for my baby up to conserving fruit jams and preserves in summer, which is now the annual ritual in our family.

3. How did I come across Jabeen's Corner

It was Jabeen's Iftar event that bowled me over, such creative ideas and what a lovely way to congregate altogether for the holy month of Ramadhan. There is no turning back. Jabeen's awesome food keeps me going there for more!

4. My signature dish

Chicken Kabsa has been one of my favourite, fool proof dish that I cook time and time again.  Originally a dish of the Gulf, this is one dish that would definitely be on our kitchen table for family gatherings, special occasions or just because. There are many variations of al-Kabsa,  but I shall stick to my mom's recipe here for Jabeen's readers as I think this is the best:-)

 


Chicken Kabsa

serves 6-8 people

5 cups basmati rice-soak for 20 minutes
1 large chicken-either leave as whole or cut into about 8 chunky pieces
6 tbsp olive oil
3 medium sized onions-diced
4 shallots-sliced finely
1 can (400g) of chopped tomatoes 
2 inch ginger
2 cloves garlic
a pinch of salt
few strands of saffron-soaked in rose water
juice of 1 lemon

Spices

2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp coarse black pepper
a pinch of grated nutmeg

Garnishings

a handful of almonds, pistachios and raisins
1 tbsp ghee
2 shallots-finely sliced

Method

1. In a pan dry roast the spices until fragrant and they change colour slightly. Grind the spices together with ginger and garlic in a food processor with few tablespoon of water. Set aside.

2. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a casserole. Fry the shallots until fragrant, and add 2 sliced onions and fry until they become golden brown. Add in the ground spices-ginger-garlic mix. Once the spices have fully absorbed the oil, add the chicken pieces (or whole) and chopped tomatoes. Let it fry for few minutes before adding 8 cups of water. Add the saffron, and season with salt. Cover and let it simmer on medium heat for about 40 minutes.

3. Once the chicken sauce is thickened slightly, remove the chicken onto a baking tray and set aside the stock to be used later. Pour 2 tbsp of the sauce on top of the chicken and bake for around 20 minutes or until chicken pieces are well cooked.

4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil in a deep casserole pan and fry the remaining onion slices. Once fragrant add the basmati rice and cook briefly for few minutes. I personally would transfer the rice into a rice cooker at this stage but you could also use the pan throughout. Add the stock into the rice, making sure you take note of the total amount of stock added by cup measurement as the rice is cooked with ratio 2:1, so for 5 cups of rice, you would need 10 cups of liquid. As the thickened tomato-chicken stock is less than 10 cups, make up to the level with tap water. Pour in the juice of 1 lemon and cook the rice until fluffy.

5. Prepare the garnishing. Heat the ghee and fry the shallots until really crispy and golden brown. Set aside. Fry the almonds, pistachios and raisins for few minutes.

Assembly

If using whole chicken, the roasted chicken can be served on the bed of rice, and garnish with almonds, pistachios, raisins and fried shallots. If using large chicken pieces, mix the chicken with rice and do the top garnishing. Serve warm.

26 comments:

Shireen Sequeira said...

This is a fantastic theme Jabeen! And Jehanne's recipe & pics are simply mouthwatering! Bookmarked for sure!

Priya Sreeram said...

woohoo; the series finally starts- congrats jabeen ; glad to know more about the Cooking Doctor and kudos to Jehanne for the awesome post; can't wait to c my feature next week :)

Umm Mymoonah said...

Good to know more about Jehanne and Kabsa is one of my favourite, pictures are tempting me to try it again...

Tina said...

Its my fav dear....Hav one big bottle of kabsa mix ..so bookmarking dis..looks perfect and fabulous dear...

Priya said...

Wow kabsa looks super inviting and fingerlicking..Wonderful series Jabeen,kudos to both of u dear..

Parsley Sage said...

Awesome theme and a great first guest post :) Love that Chicken Kabsa!

Alpana said...

Ver Nicely composed post......pictues are nice, content is very interesting.....thoug I am a vegetarian but am sure Hubby will freak out on this dish as he loves Chicken.
Thanks for sharing.

alpana
smart-snacks

sangee vijay said...

wonderful job Jabeen...and that's a awesome post by Jehanne...recipe sounds very yummy and well explained...

Sumee said...

Oh.. That's an awesome post by Jehanne. Very nice idea to explore the bloggers

Neha said...

Lovely post....Kabsa looks mouth watering...

ente pachakasala said...

yummy my fav too nice clicks

divya said...

Woww... so tempting and delicious.. looks awesome dear.. thanks for sharing :)

Premalatha Aravindhan said...

wonderful post dear,luks so tempting...

Farwin@CookingitSimple said...

looks delicious..will definitely try it out..

Suchi said...

looks tempting and delicious! great pics

hemalata said...

Wonderful post...Kabas looks so delicious and mouthwatering.

cookingvarieties said...

hi jabeen, jehanne is a great at culinary and surgery. ain't that great. this is a real appetizing looking roasted chicken.
I do have an award to give you, please come over and collect it, thanks and have a nice day

cookingvarieties said...

hi jabeen... it's true that jehanne is great at surgery and also at culinary- complementary indeed. the roasted chicken looks great and the image looks delicious and the ingredients yummy :)
I do have an award to give you, please come over and collect it, thanks jabeen and have a nice day

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Will go through Jehanne's other post. Really splendid job !! Kabsa looks very inviting ... Well done Jabeen
Deepa

La @ FoodSlice said...

The kabsa looks real good. I had some Kabsa Laham at the 4 seasons restaurant in Hyderabad and absolutely loved it. Glad to have found a recipe similar to it. Thank you for visiting my space.

sliceofmylyfe said...

Lovely theme Jabeen. Through this , I'd get to knoow so many talented bloggers that I didn't have a chance to meet before.
Though I know about Jehanne's space through the teapot giveaway itself! Beautiful post, great pictures, wonderful recipe. I have had the good fortune of tasting chicken kabsa before since I live in the gulf and must say it is one of my fav maincourses.

MyKitchen Flavors-BonAppetit!. said...

Hi Jabeen,This kabsa luks perfectly delicious,urging me to try it soon.Thanks for sharing,dropping in and for the add.Luv ur space dear.

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious looking kabsa and guest post

julie said...

Lovely theme and g8 to know about Jehanne n the kabsa flavorful. N colorful one..

Sobha Shyam said...

wonderful event and a guest post, kabsa looks so delicious..lovely clicks..nice to knw abt the cooking doctor..

Ansh said...

Absolutely breathtaking pictures and what a great recipe.

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