Tag Archives: Spicy

Nando’s Peri-Peri Chicken

Nando's Peri-Peri Chicken

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Nando’s Peri-Peri Chicken

I was in London the other week and spent the week around the Financial District on Canary Wharf. I flew all night and arrived mid-day. By the time I made it to my hotel it was late afternoon and I wanted to grab a quick bite before putting in a little work and getting an early night sleep to adjust to the time zone. So while wandering around, I happened into an area near the tube stop that had several places to eat. I looked for the place with the longest lines and ended up at Nando’s. It’s apparently a European chain which serves peri-peri chicken which is a spicy African chicken that is coated in peppers and spices. It’s in the wheelhouse of Jamaica’s jerk chicken. You know that heat that makes your eyes sweat a bit but you can’t stop eating it?

I made a mental note to try to replicate it at home so poke around for some recipes and came across one from SkinnyMS blog. I used her recipe as a starting point and adjusted it to my taste. I used bone-in chicken breast and thighs. Looking back, I will opt to go with a thinner breast without the bone so that the flavor is more intense. The breasts I picked up were roided up or unnatural. So while juicy, much of the flavor never penetrated all the way through the bird despite the 24hrs marinade.

I also put my chicken on a rack with potatoes and chicken skin below to allow the potatoes to cook in the chicken fat along with the chicken drippings from above. I also cooked up some rice to go along with the chicken and potatoes.

Adapted from SkinnyMS
Ingredients:
4 bone-in Chicken Thighs
2 bone-in Chicken breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons white vinegar
4 bird’s eye chilis or red Thai chilis
1 jalapeno diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Directions
Prep: Add the ingredients into a food processor or blender and create a paste. Add about 3/4 of the paste to the chicken and rub it in until fully coated. Place the coated chicken in a large ziplock bag or covered bowl and marinate overnight.

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and place your chicken on a rack with foil underneath to collect the drippings. Bake for 40 minutes total or until chicken is done turning it over midway through the cook.

Thai Noodle and Beef Salad

Thai Noodle and Beef Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Thai Noodle and Beef Salad
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We often frequent our local Houston’s on Sunday evenings and enjoy sitting at the bar enjoying a drink and dinner. They have this Thai Noodle Salad that is really good. It has a lot of veggies with a pop of mango. What really pushes this salad over the top is the beef. It’s high quality, super lean and tender. The other night she encouraged me to try her beef and it was so good that it encouraged me to try to make it on my own. I poked around looking for Thai Noodle Salads and found one I like that served as my base and then made adjustments.

It turned out really delicious. The zing from the dressing along with the sweet mango and savory meat makes for a really harmonious meal. I used udon noodles so this would satisfy as gluten free as long as your soy sauce is also GF. If you are looking to try something fresh, colorful, healthy and delicious give it a try.

adapted from Savorybites
Ingredients:

Ingredients:

Dressing
3 tbs fresh lime juice
3 tbs of soy sauce
3 tbs Sriracha
1 tbs fish sauce
Dash of sesame oil
1 tbs of grapeseed oil
1 large clove minced garlic
1 tbs light brown sugar

Marinade for the Beef
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs Sriracha
Dash of sesame oil
1 tbs of grapeseed oil
1 large clove minced garlic
3 tbs of minced ginger
1 tbs light brown sugar

Salad Ingredients:
10 oz of beef filet Mignon
Udon egg noodles for two (30%-40% of package)
1 large handful of spinach
Handful of sliced cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup of finely diced red onion
1 large handful shredded red cabbage
1 large handful of cilantro
1 small julienned carrot
1 diced mango
A handful of pistachos

Directions:
1. Mix your dressing and marinade ingredients separately. Dice your beef into large bite sized pieces and add your marinade to a zip lock baggy and let it rest for 6-12hours. Place your dressing in the refrigerator.

2. Cut all you salad ingredients accordingly and set them aside. (don’t dress it yet)

3. Cook your noodles according to the package. These cook quickly (4mins) and you don’t want soggy noodles. Pull them immediately and rinse with cold water until the noodles are cool. Set them aside.

4. Lastly the steak. In a Medium-Medium High heated cast iron skillet you want to take your beef from the marinade and shake it and remove any of the ginger and garlic. This is a nice piece of meat so don’t over cook it. The goal is to sear it for a nice crust. I had to remove some of the liquid once in the process because if the pan is wet it wont get that sear you will want.

5. Assembly. So now you have your cooked noodles, cut veggies and seared steak. In a large bowl slowly spoon your dressing into the veggie mix. Stir or toss your dressed veggies and then add your noodles. Stir/Toss until coated. Taste and add dressing until you get it right(not over dressed or soggy). Plate your dressed veggies/mango and noodles. Place the steak on top of the salad and garnish with pistachios or peanuts.
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Knock off Chuys Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sauce

Chuy's Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chuy’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Enchiladas
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We take our TexMex or Texican food pretty seriously. When I first started going to the funky little joint, they had a Wednesday special they called “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” which is a pulled chicken burrito covered in a spicy queso sauce served with rice and beans. I used to make sure that when I traveled to Austin, TX I did so around Wednesday’s because I loved it so much.

Chuy’s has expanded and also put the popular dish permanently on their menu so you can always get it. It is spicy and some have commented on some of my recipes that they were too spicy. This is a recipe you will need to alter if you are heat sensitive.

Ingredients
10 corn or flour tortillas
1 1/4 lbs cooked chicken (poached in stock)
Chicken Stock

Boom Boom Sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup beer
1/2 oz lime juice
3/4 lb roasted poblano’s
4-6 roasted tomatillos
1 1/2 ounces cilantro
4 bunches of green onion
3/4 oz serrano pepper
1 1/4 lbs American cheese

Directions
Prep: Cut and clean your tomatillos, poblano’s, onion, serano pepper.

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place your onion, peppers and tomatillos on a sheet pan and blister them.
2. You can either buy a roasted chicken or take your chicken and poach it in a pot on medium heat in chicken stock. Almost covering it completely. When done, shred chicken.
3. Add all your peppers (seeds removed), tomatillos and onions into a blender with the liquids. Give it a spin until smooth.
4. Now pour that mixture into a pot and heat it up on medium low heat until simmering slowly. Remove from heat and slowly add your cheese while continuing to stir to blend it. Don’t let it seize up on you. IMG_0974
5. I took my tortilla and stuffed it with chicken and then rolled it and hit it on the stove to mark it. Then I covered in the boom boom sauce. IMG_0976
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Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp Slurp

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp Slurp

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp Slurp
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Jill caught a cold the other week and was all stuffed up with a sore throat etc… She likes shrimp so I decided to whip up a really spicy warm bowl of soup to sooth her throat and open her up. So I decided on a ramen based Thai soup where I could kick up the curry and Sriracha to do the trick.

I found a soup on Damn Delicious and decided to use that as my base recipe. Chungha’s blog is great with simple ingredients and great photography. She is worth a click to check out.

This soup really turned out perfectly. The balance of heat with the subtle smoothness of the coconut milk made for the perfect base. If you don’t enjoy curry or even shrimp you could still make this and sub in some tomato paste and another protein.

Get your slurp on.

Ingredients
1 lb of fresh shrimp (shelled and cleaned)
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 red bell pepper (cored, seeded, diced)
1 small yellow onion (diced)
1 tbs of diced ginger
1 lime juiced
Cilantro
1 package of Ramen Noodles (don’t use their seasoning)
1 can of shaken Coconut Milk
2-3 cups of Chicken Stock
2-3 tbs of Red Curry Paste (jarred)
A few dashes of fish sauce
A few squirts of Sriracha
2 tbs of butter

Directions:
1. In a pot on medium heat add your butter, onion and red pepper and saute until tender. Add your garlic and ginger, stir for one minute. Add your coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, red curry paste, sriracha. Bring to a simmer and taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly.

2. Right before you are ready to serve it add your shrimp and ramen. This will cook really quickly, like 3 minutes quick. Remove from heat and serve with cilantro.
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Atomic Pineapple Express Chicken Stir Fry

Atomic Pineapple Express Chicken Stir Fry

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Atomic Pineapple Express Chicken Stir Fry
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I am more of a Korean and Thai food guy than Chinese but I do like General Tso Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Cashew Chicken, and various noodle dishes. I spun by Whole Foods to pick up some salmon the other day and spotted a stir fry veggie package that contained celery, mushrooms, carrots, snow peas and broccoli. So I decided to take the base of the General Tso sauce and kick it up a couple of levels.

The typical General Tso is fried with cornstarch as the coating. I departed from that to save a few calories at the sacrifice of texture. That said, I did dry my chicken and cooked it in a medium heated non-stick pan to get some char or color on the chicken to make up for the lack of crunchiness. I might have over did the sauce because it was a heater. After one bite we both had a little sweat going so if you don’t like spicy stuff don’t use the Sambal and dried arbol chilies.

Ingredients:
3 air chilled organic chicken breasts or thighs
1 package of stir fry packaged veggies (Whole Foods)
1 package of Jasmine Rice cooked

Marinade
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of GF Soy Sauce
2 tbs of Sriracha
1 small can of pineapple juice
2 tbs of Kosher salt

Sauce
1/2 cup of Chicken Stock
1/4 of Soy sauce
3 tbs of tomato paste
1 small can of pineapple juice
3 tbs of Pineapple “topping”
2 tbs of Sambal or Sriracha
1 tsp of Sesame oil
2 tsp of Fish sauce
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tbs of grated ginger
3 dried arbol chilies
3 tbs of brown sugar
1 tbs of cornstarch (diluted in 3 tbs of water)

Directions
1. Marinate your chicken by dicing it up to the size you prefer in your dish. Dice and put in a Zip-lock bag and add all your ingredients and let it marinate in your fridge for 3hrs-24 hrs.

2. When ready to cook I started with the sauce in a medium high heated sauce pot I added all my ingredients and let it reduce. From a timing perspective if you like your sauce thick you will want to simmer and stir for about 15 minutes before working on the chicken and veggies. You will continue to cook your sauce while you cook the chicken and veggies.

3. Get your wok or non-stick pan to about medium high heat with a tablespoon of high heat oil. Remove your chicken from the marinade and pat it dry with a paper towel. The reason for this is that if wet it will cook but steam your chicken so you wont have any texture or color on it. I cooked my chicken for about 10 minutes and drained the pain dry about three times to keep the pan as dry as possible. Remove your chicken and set it aside. Your plan will be be black from the soy sauce at that high of a heat in a dry pan. Give it a wipe clean.

4. If your sauce is to your liking then you are about 5 minutes from plating. Back to the wok or large non stick pan, I added my hard veggies and keeping broccoli out until the very end. I cooked these for about 5 minutes and then added my chicken back to warm it through (see below) IMG_0266

5. Right before serving, add your sauce to the pan and turn off the heat. Microwave your rice for 90 seconds and plate it. Stir and cover everything with your sauce until coated. Serve and enjoy the sweat.

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BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Potato Salad

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Potato Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Despite being from Texas and biased towards beef BBQ, I enjoy pulled pork with tangy sauce equally as much. I actually tend to eat it more often than beef. Given it’s just the two of us I used a cut of of tenderloin over the Pork Butt which has much more fat and flavor. After about 6 or 7 hours in the crock pot this beauty is falling apart at the slightest attempt to turn it or remove it.

So before sandwich assembly I took the pulled pork and flashed in a pan on medium heat to put a little crust on it and to further marinate it in my Woody’s Smokehouse BBQ sauce. I also added a smidgen of vinegar and mustard to it for extra tang. Lastly, I topped it with some cabbage based slaw and also made a tasty potato salad. Good eating.

Ingredients
Pork Butt or untrimmed tenderloin
buns with butter
1 cup of Apple Juice
1 cup of BBQ Sauce
4 tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 beer
Chicken Broth to top

Spice Rub
1/4 cup of Kosher Salt
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 tbs of sugar
2 tbs garlic powder
2 tbs onion powder
2 tbs paprika
2 tbs ancho chili powder
1 tbs of celery seeds
1 tbs of black pepper
2 tsp of dried thyme
1 tsp of cayenne pepper

Slaw
1 cup of packaged cabbage slaw
2 green onions diced
1 tbs of white vinegar
1 tbs of sugar
1 tbs of Dukes Mayo
Pinch of celery seeds
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Potato Salad
3-6 Red Potatoes (quartered and par-boiled)
3 parts Duke’s Mayo and 1 part French’s Yellow Mustard
1 tbs of Sour Cream
4 green onions diced
1 tsp of celery seeds
2 tbs of minced pickled jalapenos
dash of Tabasco

Directions
1. Ideally you could put an hour of smoke on this pork but I took the lazy way out and used the crock pot. I rubbed my pork loin in the spice rub. That sounded odd. I then put it in the crock pot for 1 hour dry to bloom the the spices. Flipped halfway. I then added the wet ingredients and let it cook for 6 hours on high. IMG_0202

2. Potato Salad – I quartered my potatoes into equal sized pieces and put the into a salted pot of medium high heated water. I pulled them just before totally done because I knew they would continue to cook. I didn’t want them to soften up and turn into mashed potatoes. I let them cool and then added them into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Tasted and adjusted until satisfied and then put them back into the fridge to chill. IMG_0214

3. Put the cabbage slaw, minced jalapenos and green onions into a bowl and mixed in the wet ingredients with the sugar until I got the flavor profile. I wanted sweet but tangy to balance the meat which was savory but tangy.

4. To finish it off, I pulled the pork for two sandwiches and put it on the medium heated pan and topped it with some BBQ sauce, a punch of apple cider vinegar and mustard to bump up the tang. Served it on a butter toasted bun. This is important for structure but also I like that little crunch on the inside when eating it.
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Huli Huli Hawaiian Chicken

Huli Huli Hawaiian Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Huli Huli Hawaiian Chicken
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When I can’t sleep I can always count on the Foodnetwork playing Triple D. I eat that show up because most of those places are the kind of places I like to eat. So I saw an episode where he was in Hawaii and some guy named Mike sells chicken and pork on the side of the road. He has a truck bed with rotating rods and loads them up with bird or snout and cooks them over hot coals.

Huli Huli technique is a three step process that includes a brine, a rub and a baste. This extra care of the chicken creates a interesting depth of flavor, not to mention tenderness. I planned on cooking my chicken on kebabs in my homemade tandoor oven but the weather wasn’t cooperating so I used my skillet instead. Skin on, bone in would likely be best but Jill is funny about chicken (no white bits can be showing or she will pick at it).

The dry rub is spicy and earthy but the Huli Huli sauce is sweet and tangy. I served it with brown rice and a broccoli salad. For the broccoli salad I wanted it cold and also wanted to use some pineapple that I had on hand. It was a great balance to the chicken. Really nice meal. Next time, I want to grill it for an extra layer of depth.

Ingredients:
2 free range air chilled chicken breasts
Brown rice

Brine
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1/4 cup of Sugar
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves smashed
1 lemon juiced with halves used

Dry Rub
2 tbs of garlic powder
2 tbs of Kosher salt
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs of onion powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of black pepper

Huli Huli Sauce
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/2 cup of soy sauce
2 tbs of Sherry wine vinegar
2 tbs of Sriracha
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger

Directions:
1. Cube your chicken into kebab sized pieces and place them in a bag. Place a saucepan on low heat and add your brine ingredients. Remove and add ice until “cool”. Add the brine to the chicken.
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2. When time to cook, remove the chicken and pat it dry. Season with the dry rub you created. Skewer your chicken and cook until done.

3. While the chicken is cooking, make your huli huli sauce by adding the ingredients in a sauce pan and cooking to combine and reduce. Use some of this sauce to baste your chicken while cooking to caramelize for another level of flavor.

4. Serve over brown rice and top with the Huli Huli sauce.

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