This is a first for my blog, I am often very inspired by different types of food and spices from all over the world. I am particularly fond of Central Asian and Moroccan style dishes. I’ve never tried my hand at food photography, it is especially difficult to make the food look appetising as getting in close can often make things look a little sloppy. I got out my speedlight and 50mm at F/1.4 and gave a try at photographing the process behind this recipe.
The recipe came from my ex girlfriends neighbour who is coincidentally called Ian. It’s a fairly simple and easy to make dish actually, takes only 30-40 mins with preparation.
I will list the ingredients here then work through the steps to making the dish after with photos.
For the main dish
- 2-4 chicken breasts diced into small chunks
- 1 tsp of ground ginger
- 1 white onion chopped finely
- 2-3 garlic cloves crushed
- A knob of butter and 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp of tomato purée
- 1-3 tbsp of hot chilli power (depending on your spice preference)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 cardamom pods
- 4 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick and 1 bay leaf
- 1 green chilli partially sliced open
- 200 grams of natural yoghurt
- 2-3 tbsp of apricot jam
For the rice
- 500 grams of bastami rice
- 1 chicken stock pot
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 1 ltr of water
- Half a lemon juice
- A small pinch of saffron strands
Preparation for the rice
- In a medium pan add the chicken stock pot, cardamom pods, half a juice of lemon and saffron strands.
- Add in the boiling water and let the stock and saffron strands soak with the lid on firmly.
- Just before you start cooking the main dish, add the rice to the pan and turn up the heat to low/medium and simmer slowly until the water has evaporated for about 15-20 minutes.
Steps for the chicken
- In a large frying pan heat the oil and butter until melted.
- Add the chopped onion, crushed garlic and ground ginger
- Add the green chilli
- Once the onions are translucent and soft add the turmeric and hot chilli powder, cloves, cinnamon stick and the bay leaf
- To make it a little more saucy, add 2 tbsp of water
- Now quickly add 2 tbsp tomato purée
- Once it starts to look like a nice paste add the chicken meat
- Then just as the chicken is cooked through add the apricot jam and natural yoghurt
Fork the rice through in the pan to ensure all the moisture and been evaporated and soaked up. Spoon the rice onto a warm plate then leave a small circle in the centre to place the chicken and sauce in to, I do this for presentation purposes only.
There you have it, enjoy with a naan bread or chapatis, whichever you prefer, oh and an ice cold Cobra beer goes perfectly.