Dec 2, 2010

Okra Chicken Casserole-- A clssic from the Ottoman Empire

'The Sun never sets in the British empire'
Or so went the adage....
When I was little my grandmother told me this. She came from a time when The Bristish were in their withdrawal stages from south east Asia  and there fascinating stories she told me about that time. Amazing, I still remember. Anyways that's food for another post :)
I guess the reason I brought it up was more to do with copyright violation: I was going to write 'Wonder never ceases in the Ottoman fooddom'-- only to realize that this cheeky one liner is a copy from more than a generation behind. But then if you re going to write about Turkish casseroles, its only imperative that you would need to travel back in time.Peel off the layers of modernity and sort of sit back to enjoy food cooked slowly and to be savored slowly as well...

A classic Ottoman casserole-- of Okars (of all things) and chicken. Adapted from 'Classic Turkish cooking' by Ghile Bassan

2 lb of chicken. Bone in and some skin is good.
1/2 lb of okra. Or ladies finger if you will :)
2 tbsf vinegar
1 large onion. chopped
2 medium tomatoes. Chopped
4 cloves of garlic. Crushed
half a lemon.
1 tsp of coriander powder.Make a paste with 1 tsp of warm water. Prevents burning of the spice when put in contact with heat.
1/2 tsf of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of paprika. You can use smoked sweet
The mixture of cayenne pepper and paprika is called 'kirmizi biber'. A spice used all the time in Turkish cuisine
1 tsp of dried oregano
3 tbsf of olive oil
1 cup pf warm water. Or you can use chicken stock at room temperature.
salt and pepper for seasoning.

Now I am using steps for this one

  • Cut stalk of the okras. Wash and sprinkle vinegar and 1 tbsf of salt. Mix well. Leave for an hour. Rinse thoroughly to get rid off the vinegar and pat dry. Preserve for use. This is a good method for taking off the sliminess from the okra.
  • Heat oil in a pot. Brown chicken all over. About 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and preserve
  • Add coriander paste and onion to the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the paprika, cayenne pepper and tsp of warm water. Fry for a minute
  • Add the oregano  followed by the tomato. Fry for another minute.
  • Add water and bring the paste to a boil
  • Add the chicken pieces. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile preheat oven to 410F.
  • Transfer the chicken and sauce to an oven friendly casserole.
  • Lay the okras on top and sprinkle the juice of half a lemon on top. Season again, carefully (you have already seasoned your chicken) with salt and pepper
  • Bake for 30 minutes. The okras should be crunchy and green. But cooked through
A perfect mixture of the unmixables-- and yet a classic. From the Ottoman empires no less

    1 comment:

    The Japanese Redneck said...

    I made an okra lasagna out of some of the bumper crop that I had. It turned out pretty good.

    I bet yours was good too!