Sunday, May 27, 2007

Qabili Palau

Sameem has AWESOME food... at least that's what I've heard. I can tell you that they have AWESOME Qabili Palau, because that's the only thing I ever get there. I've never moved past it. It's too good. So that I can get my fill of it, and move on to other dishes at Sameem's, I've decided to bring the dish into my own repertoire.

For starters, Sameem makes theirs with a leg of lamb. It's totally amazing, but in order to make it a more affordable dish, as well as one that can be cooked in a large skillet, since I don't own a casserole, I'm going with 2 defrosted, boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

This recipe requires parallel processing. Be prepared. To minimize pipeline stalls, go ahead and prepare your carrots in advance, because that is the most time consuming part of it. Julienne two carrots into 2" strips, and set aside.

Start by browning the two chicken breasts in about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil with about 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Grind some fresh pepper over them, and a bit of kosher salt. It should take about 3-5 minutes per side.

Oh, by the way, I just came across this website is like Youtube for cooking. There are some SERIOUSLY good looking recipes to be had here...

Anyway, while the chicken is browning, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in another pot, and add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Then cut up 1 large sweet onion, or two small ones. The water should come to a boil about the same time the second side of the breasts are done browning.

Put the breasts in the boiling water, and reduce to a simmer. Put the chopped onion in the oil the chicken just came from, and cook until the onions are golden brown.

Once the chicken has simmered in the water enough to make a fine broth, remove the chicken, and set aside. Add 1 tsp of saffron to the water, and let simmer or lightly boil.

To the oil and onions, add about 1-2 tsp of cumin, 1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 tsp of ground cloves, or a few whole cloves, a few cardamom pods, if you have them (I actually did not), a bit of nutmeg, 1 tsp of sugar (I used turbinado), 1 tsp of kosher salt, 1 tsp of ground coriander. You can jack up these values if you think there's not enough spice in there.

Now add two handfuls of raisins to the onions and spices. I used the Sun-maid Jumbo Mixed Raisins, as always.... they're sooo good! Cook that until the raisins are plump, then add the carrots, and let it all cook until it looks and smells too good to be true.

Meanwhile, you'll need to rinse off about 1 1/2 cups of basmati rice, and bring the broth to a boil, if it's not already. Once the onion, raisin, and carrot mix is ready, drop the rice in here, and turn it in until well coated. Then pour the boiling broth in there, and cover it up, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the chicken breasts into cubes. I guess you could've put them in with the rice, or not. I didn't.

That's all there is to it! Serve with a tall glass of lightly sweetened Darjeeling iced tea. Dishes like this prove that God does love us, and wants us to be happy. Sorry for the out-of-focus pictures. I'll try to put better ones up there next time I make it.

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