Firecracker Chicken with Rice and Lentils
Food blogger Adam Heard of Kook Channel blog knows that sometimes dinner can be a bit boring. If at the end of a long day your family wants something with pizzazz, his recipe delivers some sweet, a touch of hot, and a slap of tang. Imagine tender chicken bites in a delicious batter with a special secret ingredient that adds lots of delicious crispiness: red lentil puree. Serve over a classic bowl of khichari (rice and more lentils) and you’ll have a hit on you hands! Visit the Kook Channel blog for more!
For the Firecracker Chicken:
1/2 cup (125 mL) of split red lentils
1 cup (250 mL) of water
3/4 cup (175 mL) of all purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) of whatever beer you’re drinking or plain water
3 tablespoons (45 mL) of Firecracker Sauce (below)
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons (10 mL) of salt
1 pound of bite-sized chicken breast chunks
For the Firecracker Sauce:
4 habanero peppers or, if you prefer less spicy, 2 jalapeno peppers
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup (250 mL) of white vinegar
1/2 cup (125 mL) of ketchup
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of your favourite local honey
1/4 cup (60 mL) of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) of salt
For the Rice and Lentils:
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of butter
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of mustard seeds
1 cup (250 mL) of basmati rice
1 cup (250 mL) of split red or green lentils
4 cups (1L) of water
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of salt
1 handful of fresh cilantro
Start the red lentils for the batter. Measure the lentils and water into a small saucepot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking until soft and tender, about 15 minutes. Reserve.
Meanwhile make the rice and lentils. Toss the butter into a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add the whole spice seeds and stir until the butter melts and the seeds begin to sizzle and pop, about three minutes. Add the rice, lentils, water, and salt. Bring the works to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking until tender and delicious, about 20 minutes.
While the rice and lentils cook, make the Firecracker sauce. Simply toss all the ingredients into your blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Reserve.
Make the batter and fry the chicken. Prepare and preheat your countertop deep fat fryer, or pour two inches of vegetable oil into a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat until the oil is 360°F (182°C). Toss the cooked red lentils, flour, beer, firecracker sauce, cilantro, and salt into a mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Add the chicken chunks and stir until they’re thoroughly coated. Carefully place the chunks one at a time into the hot oil, repeating until the pot is full but not crowded. Fry, gently stirring and flipping until evenly golden brown, tender and delicious, 5 to 7 minutes.
Spoon the rice and lentils into a serving dish and top with the Firecracker Chicken. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with Firecracker Sauce.
Pureed lentils are an excellent ingredient for fritter batter. They’re easy to cook, nutritious, and add unmistakable crispness to the works.
© Adam Heard, 2016 – lentils.ca