Sunday, 22 June 2014

Arroz Con Pollo : Argentine-Spanish Chicken and Rice

 Ah! so we've come to the third chapter of our World Cup special series. Group F. And my pick from group F is well Argentina. I adore Lionel Messi, and I would like to see another Brazil-Argentina Finals, their football rivalry is legendary, and witness an epic Battle of the South Americans. The last time the two faced each other in a world cup match was in 1990 and Argentina had won!

My family is divided between the two countries and support their respective teams with such gusto, it is almost preposterous. Bengalis especially have a soft spot for football, and it seems to me their divided loyalty between Argentina and Brazil has something to do with their identifying the rivalry with the more local East Bengal-Mohunbagan divide. I was all of four back in 1990 , but I still remember my elder cousins, one a die hard Brazil supporter and the other a crazy about Argentina had a fist fight during the match. I had jumped in to participate cause it seemed like fun to me, and came out with a bruise and wouldn't stop wailing. Their mother, my aunt, had them by the ear and out of the room. They didn't see the match end! I think they still hold it against me.

Anyway, more than the football team, Argentina as a country really appeals to me. It is on the top of my "to see before I die" list. I have always wanted to see the Iguazu falls or roams the streets of La Boca in Buenos Aires. One day perhaps. And about their food. So Argentine cuisine showcases a mix of indigenous as also Mediterranean, (Italian and Spanish) influence. The dish I cooked this afternoon is one which can be found in every Spanish-speaking country but this version is one of the ways in which it is done in Argentina. And though Argentina's love for red meat is legendary, I picked a dish with chicken, because I have had my fill of red meat yesterday at a grand lunch with none other than legendary chef Imtiaz Qureshi sampling the grand chef's stunning dishes. Will post about it soon.

About this recipe, I found it in a book call Argentina Cook!:Treasured Recipes from the Nine Regions of Argentina  by Shirley  Lomax Brooks. It is a fairly simple recipe, a one-pot meal that has chicken, rice, herbs and vegetables. Healthy too, I would say. I have used only a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. I loved the flavurs, simple and fresh and you will like it too! 


Chicken - 1.5 kg
Long grain rice - 2 cups + 2 tbsp
Warm water - 4.5 cups
Green Bell peppers - 2 (cut in 1 inch cubes)
Minced garlic - 1 tsp
Minced parsley - 4 tbsp
Tomatoes - 4
Onion - 2 small (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper
Saffron - A large pinch
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Olive oil
Chili flakes (optional)


Heat olive oil in a pan and toss in the chicken. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and fry the chicken for about 8-10 minutes.

Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic and parsley and saute for another 10 minutes or so.

Roughly chop the tomatoes and toss them in at this point. Saute for another 5 minutes.

Add the warm water ad bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until chicken is almost done.

Now stir in the long grain rice, which you have rinsed well in advance, as also the saffron. Adjust seasoning and add chili flakes if you like.

Cover and cook until rice soften and the water almost dries up but not quite. We want the dish to be a little wet rather than completely dry.

World Cup Special Series
Qeijadas de Sintra 
Stoemp Aux Carottess 

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