It is the different ways simple and wholesome ingredients are used that really deserve praise for creativity.
If anyone, it is the Iraqi cuisine that does just that.
This spectacular tasting dish is comprised of nothing more than a chicken, some rice, onion and tomato paste, and a couple of spices. But oh my, does the method really ump its value!
The chicken is first seared to a golden brown, then boiled in a tomato stock of sorts, in which the rice is eventually cooked in. Nawal Nasrallah in her amazing cookbook-encyclopedia Delights from the Garden of Eden, removes the cooked chicken from the stock, cooks the rice, then arranges the re-heated chicken over the rice. Me, for presentation purposes, I removed the cooked chicken and cooked the rice in the stock (just like she did), then I broiled the chicken to crisp up the skin before serving on the bed of rice. But you know, I think if you cooked the chicken and did not remove it, and just directly added the rice in the pot of stock and chicken, it would still be fantastic. Remember to remove seeds from the noomi to avoid a bitter taste.
1 chicken (1.5kg), cut into 8 pieces
2 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 heaping Tbsp tomato paste
1 crushed noomi basra, seeds removed
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
2 tsp salt (total)
1/2 tsp pepper
5 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
2 cups rice
Dilute the tomato paste in 1.5 litres of hot water, set aside.
Sear chicken over medium-high heat to a golden brown on both sides, but still uncooked inside.
Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
Cook the onions until transparent in the same pot, then add the noomi, coriander seeds, 1 tsp salt, pepper, cardamom, and bay leaf.
Return the chicken to the pot, and cover with the diluted tomato paste.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover for one hour.
Strain the chicken from the cooking liquid and place in a baking dish.
Pour the cooking liquid in a beaker.
In the same pot the chicken was cooked in, add the rice, a teaspoon of salt, and enough of the cooking liquid to just cover the rice by a finger's width.
Bring the rice to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cooked covered for 20 to 30 minutes.
Just before serving, re-heat the chicken in the oven and broil it to crisp up the skin.
Serve the rice in a platter topped with the chicken pieces.
صحة و عافية