Friday recipe: cilantro chicken

I believe good cooks are like artists, and I consider Lynn Rosetto Kasper among them. She’s the host of the American Public Media program “The Splendid Table,” which I try to catch every weekend for great recipes, cooking tips and fun conversations with avid foodies. If nothing else, check out last weekend’s recipe for fluorescent Jell-O gin and tonics.

Speaking of art, a couple of local events offer a plethora of visual entertainment. Today and tomorrow is the Metro Arts Expo, hosted by the Metro Arts Allianceof Greater Des Moines, at Capital Square at 5th and Walnut, downtown Des Moines. Admission is free to the event, which

Add art to your life and put poultry on your plate this weekend.

features fine art by juried artists from Iowa and across the United States.

The Wild Rose Independent Film Festival also is under way, starting yesterday through Nov. 10 at Fleur Cinema and Cafe, 4545 Fleur Drive. According to its website, the festival is “a celebration of the vast, diverse, bizarre, hilarious, beautiful, cinema art created by independent movie makers outside the mainstream.” Sounds like fantastic food for thought!

And, finally, here’s some fantastic food for your palate from “The Splendid Table.”

Cilantro chicken

  • One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 5 good-sized garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 chicken legs, skinned and separated into drumsticks and thighs
  • 1 medium tomato (about 5 ounces), chopped
  • 3 lightly packed cups cilantro leaves and small stems
  • 2 to 3 fresh hot green chilies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons olive or corn oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, lightly beaten with a fork

Put the ginger, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the lemon juice into a blender. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and blend, pushing down with a rubber spatula as necessary, until smooth. Place the chicken pieces in a stainless steel or non-metallic bowl. Pour the ginger mixture over the top and rub it in. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or for up to 24 hours.

Without cleaning out the blender, put into it the tomato, cilantro, chilies, tomato paste, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth.

Pour the oil into a large, nonstick, lidded pan and set over high heat. When very hot, put in the chicken pieces and marinade. Fry, stirring, until the chicken pieces are light brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomato mixture from the blender. Continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick and clings to the chicken and the oil separates from it, another 10 minutes.

Add the yogurt. Stir and cook until the yogurt disappears and leaves a thick sauce edged with oil, 4 to 5 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat as low as possible, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. If you think that the pan is drying out too much, stir in a tablespoon or two of water.

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