A Chicken or Two

We launched high quality chicken and mutton (goat meat) just over 2 weeks ago. And just last Sunday our first few Heat & Eat chicken and mutton dishes were rolled out. A few more will be added over the span of this week.
It’s taken us a while to introduce these products, I mean we started with just fish and all kinds of seafood a fair amount of time ago right? We just wanted to be sure that the quality of chicken and mutton we offered met the same high standards of quality we had set ourselves for fish and seafood.
As has been our wont we took our time identifying the right suppliers. We had spent about 6 months researching and talking to domain experts on what constitutes “high quality meat”. In a word – exhilarating!

But as the saying goes “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” so more than a few tests were done by yours truly using various cuts of our chicken. I have photos of 2 of these attempts so am posting about those here. The others were as good, probably better, since they barely made it out of the kitchen hence the lack of photos!

The plan was to make a lemon and thyme roast chicken (thank you, again, Heston Blumenthal). I started with a whole chicken with skin which was promptly brined. This brining of chicken before roasting pro-tip comes courtesy the same mad genius that is Heston. I have used this technique before and it works like a charm.

The next day however, I changed my mind and decide to make my version of a tandoori roast chicken in the oven. I felt this method and masala called for a no-skin chicken so had to skin the bird –  no mean task if you don’t have the right knife at home. I managed easily enough though.

The marinade was fairly standard – yogurt, coriander powder, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, salt, garam masala, turmeric powder and some tandoori masala. Nope, no red colour. A few choice gashes on the legs and back of the chicken and then just massaged the marinade into the chicken – inside and out. Back in the fridge for 6 hours (yeah just did not have the patience for a 24-hour marinate).
I did do something that needed to be done a long time ago. I weighed the bird before it went into the brine and it was a healthy 1.15 Kgs with skin – after brining and removing the skin it was still a healthy 1.02 Kgs. With the marinade on it, it went up to 1.12 Kgs. And wonder of wonders, just before it was wolfed down it was a magnificently juicy 932 gms! It really is fantastic quality chicken – stayed juicy and didn’t release oodles and oodles of water. 
I sprayed it with some oil and it went into a pre-heated oven at 120°C and sat there for 2 hours! Yeah nice and slow. The last 6-7 minutes, I cranked up the heat all the way up to 300°C just to crisp it up a little and get that char on the little skin I had left on the wings and neck.

Sadly the only photo I have is this one:

Tandoori Masala Roast Chicken

As you can see I used my fingers to pick at it – just a quick nibble. The photo does not do justice to this absolutely awesome tandoori roast as I like to call it. 
A momentary lapse of reason had me sending this picture to a friend – he was incensed at not being called so I had to promise to this again – which is where the next escapade comes in.
So, last Sunday, I got 900 gms (2 packs) of our chicken drumsticks without skin and decided to go another way instead of repeating the tandoori roast. 
The prep was really simple – as always, Pooja did all the grunt work – cut the onions (quartered), tomatoes (thick slices) and green bell peppers (thick slices). These were layered on the bottom of an oven proof dish. Dusted with garlic and ginger powder and lightly drizzled with sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar. A dash of salt, pepper, chilli flakes and dried basil and oregano. The drumsticks were laid on top of this gorgeous bed and a quick drizzle of sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar and just a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Before going into the oven

This went into a preheated 150°C oven for 1 hour. I cranked it to 250°C for the last couple minutes and this is what it looked when it came out.

When it came out of the oven
Absolutely yummy. The onions and tomatoes added the sweetness and the peppers gave it the body it required. It was very juicy on the inside and this was chicken that had NOT been brined. Man that’s good chicken! It looked brilliant and to quote Jamie Oliver – “was absolutely delish”.
I have now used every cut of chicken we have for various dishes at home and even our kitchen help commented once that it cooks faster and looks better than any chicken she has seen. That for me was the only endorsement I needed. She knows her meats whether chicken, seafood and mutton and this was big coming from her.

Bijal Patel
Co-Founder Fishvish
Hardcore food junkie, 
loves to cook for his wife.

Leave a Comment