Okay, so these aren’t really nachos. They’re more like vegetable chips plus chili-sake-tomato-avocado guacamole plus roast chicken plus a generous drizzle of hoisin. I can’t tell you if the leftovers keep well because we ate the whole thing in one sitting.
The first time I made these, I used roast duck, but leftover roast chicken is easier to come by and works just as brilliantly.
2 ripe but firm avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tomato, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
3 teaspoons sake
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced roast chicken
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 bags Terra chips or similar vegetable chips
1. Mix the avocados, onion, tomato, half of the green onions, ginger, cilantro, sake, lime juice, vegetable oil, chili garlic sauce, and salt in a medium bowl, without mashing the avocado. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly to the surface and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Arrange the vegetable chips on a large platter. Dot spoonfuls of the avocado mixture across the chips evenly. Evenly scatter the roast chicken onto the chips next. Drizzle with hoisin sauce and garnish with the remaining green onion slices. Serve immediately.
My chicken tikka masala isn’t traditional. You see, growing up with all manner of khoreshs, one of my favorite things to do was to pour the khoresh on top of tahdig, the golden crispy bottom-of-the-pot part of Iranian-style rice.
As an adult, I do the same thing not only with khoresh, but with curries too. So what’s better than tikka masala? Tikka masala on top of tahdig, of course! And with a side of torshi and fresh sabzi, even. Iran and India share so much in common that these dishes pair together perfectly.
For the marinade:
1 cup plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and pepper
For the chicken:
2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed
Salt and pepper pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup almonds
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
One 30-ounce can chopped tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1. For the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Using a knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade; scrape the marinade. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and transfer to a cutting board and cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces.
4. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium-low. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.
5. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 8 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken; simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with basmati rice, tahdig, torshi, and fresh sabzi khordan.
This is comfort food for every diaspora Iranian kid growing up. Fragrant rice and tart barberries become more the sum of its parts. The best part? Spooning the lime and caramelized onion-inflected chicken sauce over the rice and letting all of the sweet-sour-salty flavors meld.
Dried barberries can be hard to find, but they’re worth seeking out as any Iranian grocer will carry them. Try to use aged basmati rice here, which will produce a fluffier, more aromatic dish.
For the saffron chicken:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup lime juice
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
For the rice:
3 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons yogurt
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup slivered pistachios
For the barberry mixture:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups dried barberries, picked over, washed, and drained
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
1. To cook the chicken: In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken cook, turning, once, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, give the pan a stir, and cover. Cook over low heat for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
2. To cook the rice: Wash the rice in a large container and cover it with water. Agitate gently and pour off water, repeating 3 or 4 times until the water is clear. Bring 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the rice and boil briskly for about 6 to 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times to loosen any grains that may have stuck together or to the bottom of the pot. When the rice feels just al dente, it is ready to be drained. Drain the rice in a fine-mesh colander and rinse with cold water.
3. In a large bowl, whisk 1/4 cup oil 1/4 water, yogurt, a few drops of saffron water, and 3 spatulas of rice. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pot.
4. Arrange the remaining rice in a pyramid shape in the pot, adding one spatula of rice at a time. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat.
5. Mix the remaining oil with 1/2 cup water and pour over the rice. Pour the remaining saffron water over the rice. Add the pistachios and almonds on top. Wrap the lid of the pot with a thin, clean dish towel and cover firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook for 60 to 70 minutes longer over low heat.
6. To cook the barberries: In a skillet, combine the oil, barberries, sugar, water, and saffron water. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes, watching carefully to make sure the barberries don’t burn. Set aside.
7. Remove the rice from the heat and carefully pour run the outside of the bottom of the pot under cold water. This helps to release the tahdig, or crust, from the bottom of the pot. Allow pot to cool, covered, for 5 minutes.
8. To assemble the rice, take 1 spatula full of rice and place it on a serving platter in alternating layers with the barberry mixture. Arrange the chicken around or next to the platter. Detach the tahdig and serve on the side.
I love this chicken piccata recipe because it combines the best of both worlds: crunchy fried chicken and tangy, briny vegetables. This dish is easier to make than it looks and it’s perfect for springtime, showcasing tender artichokes — but without all of the prep.
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Eight 6-ounce chicken cutlets, about 1/8 inch thick
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
16 pitted kalamata olives, drained and coarsely chopped
1 jar marinated artichokes (about 1 1/2 cups), drained and quartered
2/3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken cutlets in the seasoned bread crumbs.
2. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the oil over moderately high heat. When the foam subsides, add the chicken to the skillets (working in batches if needed) and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden brown outside and white throughout, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to a platter.
3. Wipe out the skillet and add the olives and artichoke hearts. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until heated through. Add the chicken stock, lemon juice and capers and boil for 1 minute, stirring. Spoon the artichoke and olive sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the parsley and immediately.
Cashew chicken occupies the same place in my heart as Mongolian beef and chow mein: rarely authentic and yet typically delicious. These are the heavy hitters of Chinese American food, comforting and nostalgic. I’ve adapted this cashew chicken recipe so that it’s pretty healthy: low on oil and high in flavor. Serve this along rice for an easy weeknight meal.
5 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ginger juice (squeezed from finely grated peeled ginger)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
Vegetable oil, for frying
2/3 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup thinly sliced white onion
3 green onions, sliced into 2-inch pieces
Roasted Thai chili powder to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine 4 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar, and the ginger juice. Add the chicken and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain off any excess sauce that hasn’t been absorbed.
2. Heat a empty wok over high heat, then swirl about 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the cashews and stir-fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain the cashews on a paper towel. Add the chicken and white onion to the wok and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining soy sauce, sugar, and the cashews and cook for another two minutes. Add a dash of roasted chili powder and the green onions, cook for another minute, then remove from heat. Serve warm with rice.