Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NYC Street Cart Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

Few winters ago YIKES!! It was (only) February last year, H and I decided to meet in NYC to buy my engagement ring. I would be flying in from Atlanta after my work trip and he would be flying from Sanaa, Yemen. I made sure that I would fly in to the same airport as H, that our flights would land on roughly about the same time. We calculated that we would just take the airport train to Hoboken (New Jersey) to our aparthotel by the Hudson. All within day light.

What we didn't calculated however that my flight (the flight before mine and the 3 flights after mine) would be cancelled because of the snowstorm. The domestic airplane is typically small hence rendering it pliable to heavy winds, rain and snow. H's flight however was 7-hour transatlantic flight, hence he took off and landed as scheduled. So when we finally met, it was close to 8 hours after the planned timing. The sky has turned dark and the night has fallen by the time we stepped off Hoboken.

We knew that our aparthotel is only 5 mins walk from the train station, by the river side but we lost our ways, even after asking direction from so many people. We probably waddled our way through in calf-high snow for only half an hour, but it certainly felt like years. I was drenched, cold and tired. But H persevered, grabbed my luggage and continued walking. To say that we walked through a storm that night will not be an exaggeration.

However after a very bad beginning, we had a lovely time in New York albeit stressful. Broadway, shopping, diamond district and of course, Zagat. We had our fills of the greatest food in New York, from Zagat and Michelin to street cart food. And today, I want to cook something that reminds us of that particular trip that ended with us engaged 3 weeks later and married 4 months after. We are ever so-efficient! :)

[ Hello Eloise! ]

NYC Street Cart Chicken and Rice with White Sauce (serves 2)
Original recipe is from Serious Eats (and Gilt Taste) here.

[a] Preparing the chicken
[ pardon my bite, can't fight the temptation ]
* 2 chicken thighs, de-skin and de-bone (roungly about 300 gr)
* 1 tbsp lemon juice
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1 tsp of chopped cilantro
* 1 tsp coriander powder
* 1 big clove of garlic, minced
* 4 tbsp olive oil

How to: 
* [Marinating the Chicken] Mix all the ingredients with food processor or pestle and mortar till it becomes a smooth paste, then coat the chicken with half of the paste. Marinate at least 1.5 hour. 

* [Cooking the chicken] Over a pan, spray with some oil, brown the chicken on all sides. Do not over turn/ disturb them too much. Once they are brown, coat them with the other half of the paste. Put it back into fridge. 

[b] Making the white sauce
* 4 tbsp mayonaise
* half of yogurt cup
* 1 tbsp lemon
* salt, pepper
* 1 tsp sugar
* 2 tsp white vinegar

How to: 
Mix everything and let it chill in the fridge.

[c] Preparing the rice
* basmati rice enough for 2 person, washed and drained
* 2 tbsp butter
* a pinch of cumin seeds
* 1 tsp of turmeric powder
* water (double amount of rice. so ratio of water to rice is 2 : 1) Note: I found basmati/long grain rice needs more water than my usual short grain rice.
* 1 cube chicken bullion
* some green peas (for colour)

How to:
* On a heavy bottom pan, melt the butter, add in the cumin seeds & turmeric powder. Stir fry for about 1 minute before adding the rice.

* Coat the rice with the butter mixture and let it toast for few more mins before adding water & the chicken bullion. Cover and let it cook until rice is tender. 

* Add in the peas and stir fry for another 2-3 mins then turn off the fire. Cover and let it rest. 

[d] Putting them all together
* Take chicken out from the fridge, return it into skillet together with their juices and marinate sauce. Cook them a little bit more until heated through.

* Divide the rice onto two plates and pile the chicken on top of the rice. Top with white sauce (and some hot tabasco sauce, if you want). 

I burnt my rice while typing this post, hence I need to supplement our lunch with some tortillas. Duh!
Note: You can also use pita bread instead, put some lettuce on top, before you pile on the rice & chicken, top with some slices of tomatoes, cucumber and what have you. 


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