Does your cookbook and magazine shelf look like this?
Our Cookbook and Magazine Shelf with Tabs for Saved Recipes
Even though my friends say I never seem to cook the same thing, I do have some familiar and go-to dishes that I prepare more often than others. And yet my cookbook and magazine collection has all these tabs marking recipes that I want to cook “someday”. Today, as I was thinking of making one of my regular chicken dishes for dinner, I thought, why not try something different?
So I went looking through my Malaysian cookbooks to get ideas for something different to cook. One recipe in particular that I had bookmarked a while back caught my eye. This recipe for Ayam Goreng Berjintan (Stir-Fried Cumin Chicken) is not one I’ve tasted before. But I had all the ingredients and the recipe looked easy enough. Good enough for me!
Ayam Goreng Berjintan (Stir-fried Cumin Chicken)
adapted from Homestyle Malay Cooking
2-3 lb whole chicken, cut into 12 pieces
1 tsp salt
Sprinkling of ground white pepper
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
3/4 inch fresh ginger, peeled
5 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water (or a little less)
1. Sprinkle salt and pepper over all the chicken parts and set aside.
2. Dry-roast the cumin, fennel and black peppercorns (today, I ran out of black peppercorns so I added some whole white peppercorns) over low heat until fragrant and crisp, about 2 minutes, taking care not to burn. Cool the spices and then grind them fine in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle.
Fennel, Cumin, Black and White Peppercorns
3. Grind the ginger and garlic to a smooth paste in a food processor. Set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a wok (or large frying pan), and stir-fry the ginger and garlic paste over medium heat, for about 30 seconds.
Stir-Frying Ginger and Garlic Paste
5. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry to coat with garlic for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
Chicken coated with Garlic-Ginger Paste
6. Add the ground spices and make sure chicken is coated with spices. Stir-fry for another 10 minutes over medium heat.
Chicken coated with ground spices
7. Add water and bring to boil. Scrape bottom of wok to release any spices that may have stuck on. Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until chicken pieces are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
8. Plate up and enjoy!
Ayam Goreng Berjintan (Stir-Fried Cumin Chicken)
What I liked about this recipe is that the spices were fragrant and warming but not so spicy that my kids couldn’t eat it. As a matter of fact, they gobbled up the chicken quite easily so that fact alone makes this recipe a do-over.