I wanted to make chicken parmigiana (a chicken and pasta dish with Parmesan cheese) but couldn’t find some decent Parmesan cheese in the supermarket. What I found was Edam cheese (queso de bola to Filipinos). I’m not a fan of Edam cheese but, when melted, it tastes good. I used the gluten-free pasta from the previous entry to make this dish.
Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper then dredge in flour. Fry in the hot oil until lightly browned on all sides. With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. In the remaining oil, add the garlic and onion. Cook, stirring often, until they start to soften. Add the diced tomatoes and all the juice. Add the oregano, salt, pepper, and some sugar. Don’t worry about the balance of flavors at this point because you will adjust all of that later.
Return the chicken to the pot and stir lightly. Boil over medium heat, uncovered, until the sauce is thick and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. When the sauce is done, taste and adjust the seasonings. Then, scoop out the chicken and transfer it to a plate. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss well. Divide the pasta among individual pasta bowls. Top each with a chicken thigh. Smother with grated cheese.
Melt and lightly scorch the cheese either by 1) putting the dish under a very hot broiler (make sure you’re using heat-proof bowls) or 2) using a kitchen torch. Trust me, browning the cheese makes a lot of difference both in texture and taste.
Lemongrass and Turmeric Chicken
Regular readers will probably remember the grilled chicken clipped in split bamboo that we enjoyed at Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand. I’ve always meant to replicate it at home so I’ve been busy trying to deconstruct the ingredients. I think I’ve hit the right combination for the marinade. After marinating the chicken, you can grill it, broil it, or even deep fry it.
Pour the tamarind juice and fish sauce into the blender. Add the lemongrass, onion, garlic, turmeric, and galangal plus 6 pieces of bird’s eye chili (siling labuyo). Pulse the blender a couple of times then set the speed to high to finely process all the ingredients.
Place the chicken in a container. Pour in the marinade. Keep the chicken pieces in a single layer so that each one gets submerged in the marinade. Work the marinade into the chicken meat, moving each piece to make sure that every inch of the surface is covered. Seal the container and marinate the chicken in the fridge overnight. To serve, sprinkle with onion leaves and chili flakes. The chicken may also be accompanied by sweet chili sauce on the side for dipping.