In Swahili, wali ya mboga translates to “rice and vegetables.” This upscale version incorporated chicken as well. This dish was similar to a biryani with layered rice with greens, caramelized onions, and yogurt-marinaded chicken in tomato curry sauce. To serve, each serving was also topped with pickled onions, called kachumbar, and salted creamy yogurt. Beyond full-flavored.
I must mention that I really browned my tomato paste during the cooking process. Recently, I have read about the importance of letting tomato paste darken for optimal flavor- apparently, I took this advice to heart! The sauce in my finished dish was much deeper in color than in the original recipe.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Zaynab Issa. I modified the proportions and method. I boiled the rice as instructed in the original recipe but struggled with the method- and wasn’t completely thrilled with the resulting texture. Next time, I would cook the rice using a traditional method or use a much larger pot to boil the rice.
Yield: 6 servings
For the Dish:
1 2/3 cups good-quality white basmati rice (such as Shahzada)
1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (not Greek) (I used whole milk cream-top plain yogurt)
one 1″ piece ginger, scrubbed, finely grated (about 1 T)
8 large garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press, divided
2 3/4 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (not Greek) (I used whole milk cream-top plain yogurt)
To Make the Dish:
Place rice in a medium bowl and pour in cold water to cover. Agitate rice with your hands until water is cloudy. Drain and repeat until water is almost clear (about 3 times). Pour in water to cover rice by 2″; soak at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.
Stir yogurt, ginger, half of garlic, 3/4 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp turmeric in a medium bowl to combine. Season with pepper. Add chicken thighs, turning to coat. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron pot.)
Add onion and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is frizzled and deeply browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer onion to a plate and set aside.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in same skillet (still over medium to medium-high).
Working in batches if necessary, remove chicken from marinade and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second side. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving oil behind.
Add tomato paste, coriander, cumin, chile powder, remaining half of garlic, remaining 1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp Morton kosher salt, and remaining 1/4 tsp turmeric to skillet. Cook over medium to medium-high, stirring often, until tomato paste turns a shade darker in color, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, stir in 1 cup water, and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors come together and sauce has thickened, 10–12 minutes.
Return chicken to pan and stir to coat in sauce. Remove from heat; cover and keep warm. (I placed the pan in a warming drawer.)
Drain rice and cook in a very large pot of boiling generously salted water 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. (Alternatively, the rice can be cooked traditionally using a 1:2 ratio with boiling water. Cook, covered, over low heat for 15 minutes.)
Stir the Swiss chard, kale or spinach into the rice.
Continue to cook until rice is tender and greens are wilted and bright green, about 1 to 3 minutes more.
Drain in a colander and let sit 10 minutes to allow moisture to steam off.
To Assemble and To Serve:
While the rice rests, combine onion, lemon juice, chiles, tomatoes, and 1/4 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/8 tsp Morton kosher salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to combine, breaking up the onion slices. Let kachumbar sit 5 minutes.
Stir yogurt and remaining salt in another small bowl.
To serve, fluff rice with a fork, making sure the greens are evenly distributed; transfer to a platter.
Scatter reserved caramelized onions over and arrange chicken on top. (Or for a more casual look, return rice to pot and gently stir in chicken and onion.)
I cannot resist trying a new Speculoos recipe. I am mildly obsessed with these crispy spice cookies! 😉 I love the spiced sugar sprinkle on this delicious version. They may be my new favorite!
This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Erika Bruce. I modified the method and used a combination of molasses and light corn syrup instead of dark corn syrup. Next year I need to make a double batch!
Yield: about 60 2-inch square cookies
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground allspice
2 T granulated sugar
320 g (2 2/3 cups) cake flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp freshly ground cloves
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cool room temperature
218 g (1 cup) packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp table salt
1 1/2 T light corn syrup
1/2 T molasses
Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Line 4 baking sheets with kitchen parchment.
In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, coriander and allspice. Measure 1 teaspoon of the mixture into another small bowl, then whisk the white sugar into it and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, cloves and the remaining spice mixture.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar and salt on low until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase to medium-high and beat until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes.
With the mixer running, gradually add the corn syrup, molasses, and 2 tablespoons water.
Using a silicone spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix for another 30 seconds.
Reduce to low, add the flour mixture and mix until the ingredients just begin to form an evenly moistened dough, about 15 seconds.
Dust the counter liberally with flour and scrape the dough onto it. Gently knead the dough, giving it 2 or 3 turns, until smooth; it should feel moist and supple but should not be sticky.
Divide the dough in half; wrap 1 piece in plastic and set aside. With your hands, pat the second piece into a rough 8-by-6-inch rectangle.
Using a well-floured rolling pin, or between layers of plastic wrap, roll the dough rectangle to an even 1/8-inch thickness. Wrap well and place in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. (I place the dough on a plastic cutting board to keep it flat.)
With a 2-inch rectangular or round cookie cutter (ideally with a fluted edge), cut out cookies as close together as possible. Use an offset spatula to carefully transfer the cutouts to one of the prepared pieces of parchment paper, spacing them about 1/2-inch apart. (I used a square cookie cutter.)
Gently pat the dough scraps together, then re-roll and cut out additional cookies; transfer the cutouts to parchment paper.
If desired, use a slightly smaller cutter of the same shape to imprint a decorative border (do not cut all the way through the dough) and use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the centers. (I put 4 holes in the center of each square.)
Sprinkle the cookies evenly with half of the spiced sugar, then freeze or refrigerate uncovered for 15 minutes. (I place the parchment paper on a plastic cutting board to put it in the freezer.)
Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
Place the first sheet of cookies in the oven. Bake until the cookies are firm and beginning to brown, 14 minutes, on convection, or up to 18 minutes in a standard oven, rotating once halfway through.
Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.
Repeat with the remaining cookies. Cool completely before serving.
Even though I have a tried and true recipe for this family favorite, I couldn’t resist trying another version- especially a Milk Street version. 🙂 It did not disappoint! It was more flavor-packed and spicy than the recipe I’ve used in the past. This shortcut version uses the broiler to cook the chicken and does not require advance preparation or marinating time. Great.
This recipe was adapted from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Rose Hattabaugh. I used the suggested amount of hot paprika but would only use half next time. (It was spicier than I had anticipated!) The delicious yogurt-tahini sauce offset the spiciness nicely. Serving the chicken with rice and warm naan also balanced the meal.
For the Spice Mix:
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
2 tsp hot paprika (or 1 tsp hot paprika with 1 tsp sweet paprika)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Chicken:
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T tahini
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 5 large)
1 medium-large red onion
For the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:
1 tsp Spice Mix (reserved from above)
8 oz (1 cup) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek whole milk yogurt)
1 T olive oil
2 T tahini
grated lemon zest from 1 lemon (about 1 tsp)
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T chopped fresh mint
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped mint, for garnish
warm flatbread such as naan or pita, optional
rice or rice pilaf (I served the chicken over brown Basmati rice)
chopped cucumbers (seeded, if desired)
lemon wedges, optional
To Make the Spice Mix:
In a large bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper.
Measure 1 teaspoon of the mix into a medium bowl; set aside. This will be used in the Tahini-Yogurt Sauce.
To Prepare the Chicken:
Trim the chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels.
Cut each thigh crosswise into thirds (or fourths if large).
Cut the red onion in half. Slice 1/2-inch thick. (I cut the onion into 12 slices.)
Into the remaining spice mix, whisk the olive oil, 1 T tahini, and 2 T lemon juice.
Add the chicken and onion pieces to the spiced olive oil mixture. Mix until coated evenly. Set aside.
Preheat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. (I set my oven to Broil+Max @500 degrees.)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat with cooking oil spray. While the broiler preheats, make the yogurt sauce.
To Make the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:
To the reserved teaspoon of spice mix, add the yogurt, 1 T olive oil, 2 T tahini, lemon zest, 1 T lemon juice, and 2 T fresh mint.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir and set aside.
To Cook the Chicken & To Serve:
Transfer the chicken-onion mixture, along with the marinade, to the prepared baking sheet. Distribute in an even layer.
Broil until the chicken is lightly charred on both sides, 18 to 20 minutes, flipping the pieces once about halfway through. (I also rotated the pan halfway through.)
While the chicken is cooking, cook the rice. (I served the chicken over brown Basmati rice.) Cut the cucumbers and tomatoes.
Remove the chicken from the oven.
Place the rice in an even layer in a shallow serving dish. Top with chicken and onions; drizzle with pan drippings. Sprinkle with chopped mint.
Serve with lemon wedges, warm flatbread, chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, and yogurt-tahini sauce.
My sister introduced me to Ethiopian food many moons ago. Ever since, we have really enjoyed eating at Ethiopian restaurants but I have never prepared any dishes at home. After receiving collard greens and parsley in my CSA share, this seemed like a fitting menu to try. It could be served any time of year. For us, it was a perfect meal to serve on a rainy and cool June evening.
I loved the brightness that the grated ginger, lemon, and chopped fresh chile added to the tender, stewed collard greens after cooking. The chickpea stew recipe utilizes the genius technique of incorporating ground red lentils to thicken the base.
The recipes were adapted from 177milkstreet.com. I changed the proportions and decreased the heat intensity. I served it over rice with dollops of whole milk Greek yogurt to offset the spice. I also omitted the fresh chile garnish in the chickpea stew. In a restaurant, these dishes would be served with injera, Ethiopian flatbread.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Stewed Collard Greens (Gomen Wat):
1 1/2 T ghee
1/2 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T minced fresh ginger, divided
scant 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 pound stemmed collard greens, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons and roughly chopped
3/4 to 1 cup chicken, vegetable or beef stock, divided
1/2 to 1 Fresno or serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Berbere Spice Blend: (you will have a little extra)
1 T smoked sweet paprika
1 1 /2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
scant 1/2 tsp garlic powder
heaping 1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/4 tsp dried basil, ground or crushed into a powder
1/8 tsp ground cumin
For the Chickpea Stew (Shiro Wat):
2 T red lentils
3 T ghee
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups (1 pint) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
8 to 10 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 T minced or grated fresh ginger
2 T Berbere Spice Blend (above)
2 15.5-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 jalapeño or Fresno chile, stemmed and chopped, optional (I omitted it)
cooked rice, for serving, optional (I served both dishes over white Basmati rice)
whole milk Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
injera (flatbread), for serving, optional
To Make the Stewed Collard Greens:
In a large pot over medium, melt the ghee. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, 1 tablespoon of grated ginger, the cardamom and turmeric. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
Add about half of the collards and cook, stirring, until slightly wilted, then add the remaining collards.
Stir the stock and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the collards are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. (I cooked it for 30 minutes.)
Off heat, stir in the chopped chile, lemon juice and remaining 1/2 tablespoon ginger.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish.
To Make the Spice Blend:
In a small bowl or jar, stir or shake together all ingredients until combined. The berbere will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot for up to 2 months. (I used a recycled glass spice jar.)
To Make the Chickpea Stew:
In a spice grinder, pulse the lentils until finely ground, about 10 pulses; set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium, melt the ghee. (I used a low and wide enameled cast iron pot.)
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and berbere. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have given up their liquid and the mixture is beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the chickpeas, ground lentils, 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Boil over medium-high, then reduce to medium and cook at a simmer, uncovered and stirring often, until the sauce clings to the chickpeas and the desired thickness and consistency is achieved, about 15 to 20 minutes. (If serving over rice, cook the rice at this time.)
Off heat, stir in the parsley and chili (if using).
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the stewed collard greens and chickpea stew with injera or over rice topped with a dollop of yogurt, as desired.
I was happy that the weather cooled down a little bit so that I could sneak this dinner into our springtime menu. The sauce was beyond creamy and delicious. Typically, this dish is prepared with charcoal-grilled chicken; I loved that this recipe was adapted to make using the broiler instead- perfect in cooler weather.
This recipe was adapted from Let’s Eat by Zaynab Issa, via Bon Appétit. It is a wonderful version of this popular East African-Indian chicken curry. It gave my son, who is studying World History in high school, a moment to review the impact and influences of the Indian Ocean trade routes prior to 1450 with our family. 😉 In Swahili, the trade language formed across the Indian Ocean, Kuku means chicken and Paka means to smear, to spread, or to apply.
The original recipe recommends using boneless thighs but notes that any cut of chicken, or a mix of breasts, tenders, or drumsticks (with pieces of similar size), could be substituted. A mix of vegetables can also be used in lieu of chicken to create a vegetarian version. I served it over rice with steamed spinach. Fast and fabulous.
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
3 to 6 garlic cloves
2 lemons, divided (one for marinade & one for serving)
1 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more (or 2 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika or Kashmiri chile powder
one pinch or dash of cayenne pepper (omit if using Kashmiri chile powder)
1 medium jalapeño or 1–2 green Thai chiles, seeded and ribbed
1/4 cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1 can (13.5 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
4 T (1/4 cup) heavy cream (can substitute nondairy milk or additional coconut milk)
Basmati rice and/or crusty bread, for serving
Finely grate the garlic cloves into a large bowl with a Microplane; alternatively, a garlic press can be used.
Cut 1 lemon in half and squeeze juice into the bowl; discard seeds.
Mix in 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt (or 1 tsp Diamond Crystal) and the smoked paprika and cayenne pepper (or Kashmiri Chile powder).
Add the skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I used 10) and toss to evenly coat.
Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the curry base.
Coarsely chop the onion, tomato, chile(s) (depending on how spicy your chiles are and your heat tolerance), and cilantro. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend or process until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
Place an oven rack in the highest position. Heat the broiler. (I set my oven to Broiler+Max at 500 degrees.)
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a high-sided skillet or large pot over medium. (I used a large, low, and wide enameled cast iron pan.)
Add ground coriander, ground cumin, and ground turmeric. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Pour in purée and add 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal). Stir to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, until raw onion smell subsides and curry is paste-like in consistency, 15–20 minutes.
Arrange chicken on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and broil until cooked through, charred in spots, and a thermometer inserted into the thickest parts registers 165°, 14 to 20 minutes. (I placed the chicken “skin side down” for 7 minutes, flipped each piece over and cooked an additional 7 minutes.)
While the chicken is cooking, shake the can unsweetened coconut milk to ensure coconut cream is incorporated, then add coconut milk to curry and stir well to combine. Curry should be pale yellow. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until warm and slightly thickened, 5–10 minutes.
Once chicken is finished, add chicken and all of the pan juices to the curry and reduce heat to low; mix well to combine. Stirring constantly to prevent curry from breaking, dribble in the heavy cream.
Taste and season with more salt, if needed.
Serve the chicken and sauce over Basmati rice garnished with additional cilantro.
Cut remaining 1 lemon into wedges. Serve kuku paka with crusty bread and lemon wedges for squeezing over at the table, as desired.
This is another quick and easy weeknight dinner. I love sheet pan meals! The yogurt sauce was absolutely essential- we all gobbled it up dolloped over both the cauliflower and the chicken. The spice blend, especially the smoked paprika, gave the chicken a great depth of flavor. Nice.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yossy Arefi. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and modified the proportions as well as the marinating and cooking times. I served it with roasted potatoes (made simultaneously in the same oven) and crusty sourdough bread.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more for serving (I used Meyer lemon juice)
1 garlic clove, finely grated (I used a garlic press)
In a large bowl, whisk together the coriander, paprika, Aleppo pepper, and red pepper flakes with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
Pat the chicken dry and trim excess fat.
Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat in the oil and spices. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. (I marinated the chicken for 2 hours.)
Heat oven to 425 degrees and set a rack in the center. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Arrange the chicken, “skin-side up”, on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Add the cauliflower, shallots, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the bowl with the residual marinade. Toss to coat, then arrange the vegetables in a single layer surrounding the chicken.
Bake until the chicken is deep golden brown and cooked through and the cauliflower is browned, tossing the vegetables once or twice, about 20 to 25 minutes for boneless and up to 40 minutes for bone-in. The internal temperature should read 165 degrees on instant read thermometer. (If the chicken is done before the cauliflower, transfer the thighs to a plate, cover, and continue cooking the cauliflower until golden brown.)
While the chicken bakes, prepare the yogurt sauce: Whisk the yogurt, parsley or mint, cilantro, lemon juice and grated garlic with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving. (I made the sauce after making the chicken marinade and let it sit in the refrigerator during the marinating time as well.)
Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter and top with any juices left on the sheet pan and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve with yogurt sauce on the side, sprinkled with fresh cilantro, if desired.
Tacos are always a welcome dinner in my house. New varieties are even more welcome. 🙂
These chicken tacos were a mildly sweet from the fresh orange juice. Because the seeds are removed from the chilies, the finished dish was not spicy at all. They were really delicious with all of the assorted toppings.
This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com. We ate the tacos with refried beans, brown Basmati rice, and street corn on the side. Fresh and fabulous.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 ounce guajillo chilies (5 medium), stemmed, seeded and torn or cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (I used 4 large oranges)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 T white vinegar
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano or Mexican oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed (I used 9 thighs, about 2 1/2 pounds)
warm tortillas, for serving (I used Trader Joe’s corn-wheat tortillas)
diced white onion, for serving
sliced radishes, for serving
cilantro leaves, for serving
crumbled queso fresco, feta, or shredded Mexican cheese blend, for serving
sour cream, for serving
rice and refried beans, for serving, optional
Squeeze the orange juice into a liquid measuring cup.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, toast the chile pieces, pressing with a wide metal spatula and flipping halfway through, until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes total. (I used a 12-inch stainless steel all-in-one pan.)
Transfer to a small bowl and pour in the juice; press on the chilies to submerge. Let stand until the chilies have softened, about 10 minutes. Set the skillet aside. (I placed the chilies in the liquid measuring cup with the freshly squeezed orange juice.)
In a blender, combine the chilies and juice, garlic, vinegar, coriander, honey, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt. Puree until smooth, about 30 seconds. (I used a Vitamix.)
Pour the puree into the reserved skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high.
Trim the chicken thighs of any excess fat to prevent the finished dish from becoming greasy.
Nestle the chicken into the sauce, cover and cook over medium-low, stirring and flipping the chicken halfway through, until tender and opaque when cut into with a paring knife, about 20 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large plate and set aside until cool enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred into bite-size pieces.
While the chicken cools, bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring, until thickened and reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes.
Stir the shredded chicken into the sauce, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Warm the tortillas. (I microwave them in a tortilla warmer with a damp towel for about 1 minute.)
Serve the shredded chicken with warm tortillas and assorted toppings, as desired.