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Friday, March 09, 2012

Nesting Taklia Chicken

nesting taklia chicken in a bed of noodles

Couldn't resist throwing in the "nesting" part for the title, what with Spring in the air, birds tweeting everywhere, nests abound around this time of the year... plus the chicken :)

Taklia is one of the wet spice pastes I like to make on and off, thanks to Greg & Lucy Malouf's cookbook, Moorish, a birthday present way back in 2008. I do take epicurean licences and end up with something tailored to my taste in-the-spirit-of the original recipe, so, this Taklia I share here might not be authentic. But, since I am all about Fusion Cuisine, it works out all right.

taklia syrian lebanese moroccan spice paste

A plateful of delicious vegetables flavored with Taklia was a satisfactry meal for me, whereas D got the Nesting Taklia Chicken: cooked chicken pieces drenched and smothered with Taklia, resting on a bed of pan-fried noodles and sauteed onions forming the nest.

I was a bit liberal with olive oil and so the Taklia spice paste felt a little greasy when tossed with the lightly steamed vegetables, but, the aroma of coriander and garlic blooming in the oil is absolutely irresistible.

Typically, taklia is added at the end to give a burst of flavor and aroma to the dish, but, can be used as a flavor layer while building sauces and stews.

For Taklia:
4 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp coriander powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp brown sugar (optional)
4 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro/coriander leaves

1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil (as needed)

Sautéed onions - as much as preferred (optional)

Chicken: breast or thigh pieces chopped into chunks, marinated for 10 mins in lemon juice and oil

Vegetables: Red and green cabbage, Italian green beans, Lima beans, carrots, cauliflower florets

Nest: Chuka Soba noodles, cooked, drained and pan-fried till lightly crunchy

Garnish: Scallions and Cilantro, plus extra Taklia if preferred

  1. Taklia: Heat oil in a shallow pan, add the garlic and coriander powder and sauté till aromatic; stir in the chopped cilantro leaves and the rest of the ingredients if using; allow to cool if storing for later use; can refrigerate for up to 2 months; use as a condiment or the base flavoring for curries and tagines
  2. Cook the chicken till done, stir in as much Taklia as preferred
  3. Cook the vegetables with a pinch of salt if preferred, stir in Taklia for flavoring
  4. Nesting Taklia Chicken Assembly: Spread a layer of noodles at the bottom, add a layer of sauteed onions, chicken pieces on top, a dollop of Taklia for extra flavoring, garnish and serve warm or at room temperature
taklia vegetables moroccan syrian flavoring spice

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