Tag Archives: 2023 Goals

Oven Roasted Peruvian Chicken (Pollo a la Brasa) and Green Sauce (Aji Verde) Recipes

This is a relatively simple recipe for some nearly authentic tasting Peruvian-style roasted chicken, and a slightly spicy green dipping sauce that goes really well with it. While authentic Pollo a la Brasa would be cooked on a rotisserie grill, this recipe is for oven baking. I based my recipe on this recipe, which includes some extra tips and a video, with some of the spice quantities nerfed slightly to placate picky eaters. This was my second set of international dishes I’ve been experimenting with as part of one of my 2023 annual goals of cooking new dishes from each of the inhabited continents.

Peruvian Chicken (Pollo a la Brasa) Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6-8lb whole chicken
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (~2 limes)
  • 8-12 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 4 tsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano

Directions:

  1. Start by making sure the chicken is properly thawed in the fridge, if it was previously frozen. This should take ~24hrs per 5lb of chicken. Once thawed make sure to remove any giblets or other innards, make sure the chicken is patted dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat the oven to 475F.
  3. Use your fingers to carefully separate the skin from the meat around each end of the opening, and place the chicken on a roasting pan rack.
  4. Mince the garlic, and in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, kosher salt, paprika, white sugar, black pepper, and oregano.
  5. Spoon some of the spice mixture under the loosened chicken skin so it can be in direct contact with the meat. Also coat the outside of the chicken with the mixture, using a cooking brush. If you have chicken string, you can use it to tie the legs together, if desired. I would suggest orienting the bird with the breast facing upward.
  6. Once the oven is up to temperature, place the chicken in the oven and roast it at 475F for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, use a baster to base the chicken with juices, while lowering the oven’s cooking temperature to 350F.
  8. Roast the chicken in the oven at 350F until it is at a safe temperature of at least 165F. For this sized bird, this should take approximately 1hr 15min. Baste the chicken every 20-30min during this time.
  9. Once the chicken is up to temperature, remove it from the oven, and let it rest for 10-15min before cutting/serving. It is best eaten hot with a side of the hot dipping sauce, and either roasted potatoes or homemade french fries.

If you have an air fryer large enough to roast a whole chicken, you can also cook it in the air fryer. In that case, I would put it in, with the breast side down initially, and roast it at 360F for 30min, basting it every 15min, flip it over to breast-side-up after 30min, and then roast it for another 20min at 360F, basting every 10min, and checking the final temperature to make sure it’s at least 165F. When cooked, the skin should be fairly dark in many spots, but not burned.

[Update 1/28/2024: At my brother, Jeremy’s recommendation, I tried making this using bone-in/skin-on chicken thigh pieces instead of a whole chicken, and it worked really well. It still tasted just as good, and cooked a lot faster. I used the same ~8lb of chicken, but didn’t try separating the skin to coat it with the marinade — I just dipped the pieces in the bowl to make sure they were thoroughly coated, then put on the baking sheet. I cooked the pieces at the same 475F for 20min, basted them with drippings, then put them back in for another 20min at 350F, and all but one of the pieces was clearly above the 165F threshold by that point. I think if I had spaced them out a bit more evenly, all of them would’ve been done by that point. So, it’s a little more Americanized than doing the whole bird, but has the same great taste, and a lot less time or work.]

Peruvian Green Dipping Sauce (Aji Verde)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (loosely packed) of fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 whole jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbsp aji amarillo paste
  • 2 Tbsp grated cojita cheese
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Puree all of the ingredients in a blender, and refrigerate until time to serve.

That’s literally it. Just toss it all in a blender, puree it, and then let it chill while the chicken cooks.

Notes:

  1. If you don’t live near a Latin American grocery store that carries the paste, you can buy Aji Amarillo paste on Amazon. Theoretically you could substitute a habañero pepper, but I haven’t tried that.
  2. If you can’t find cojita cheese, grated parmesan cheese can be used as a substitute.
  3. If you want a less spicy sauce, you can remove the seeds from the jalapeños before adding them in, and use the lower range of the amount of recommended peppers and aji amarillo paste.

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Naan Bread Recipe

This Naan Bread Recipe, based on this recipe by Becky Krystal is the perfect complement to my previous Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe.

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • ~3/4 cup of warm water
  • Cooking spray oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  1. Before you start, set the buttermilk out to allow it to warm up to room temperature.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and kosher salt together in a large bowl.
  3. Pour the buttermilk over the top of the flour mixture, and quickly stir it in using a large spoon. The flour will still be fairly dry with some wet clumps.
  4. Stir in water, a few tablespoons at a time, stirring in with a spatula or wooden spoon. Continue stirring in water until the flour comes together to form a soft ball (should take ~3/4 cup). It should be soft and slightly sticky.
  5. Knead the dough by hand for 1-2 minutes, using the ball to pick up any dry flour in the bottom of the bowl. If it’s too sticky to handle, you can use some flour to dust your hands.
  6. Spray a baking sheet with the spray oil, then divide the dough into six equal portions. Roll each portion into a round ball, and place on baking sheet.
  7. Melt the butter, and then coat each of the round dough balls with butter.
  8. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. The dough needs to rest, but won’t rise much.
  9. About 10 min before that 30 minutes is up, preheat a large cast-iron pan or skillet, a little below medium heat.
  10. Dust a work surface with some flour, and then take out one dough ball (leaving the others covered with plastic wrap), touch both sides of the dough ball to the floured surface to get flour on both sides of the ball. Then roll it out with a lightly-floured rolling pin, until it is approximately 8-9 inch diameter and roughly circular. You can rotate the dough by 90 degrees with each rolling motion, to make it roughly even. But the shape doesn’t need to be perfectly round.
  11. Once the skillet is hot, add the first portion of flattened dough. Cook for 1-3 minutes, uncovered, until lots of bubbles have appeared and the bottom surface is dry and has lots of brown spots.
  12. Flip the dough over with tongs, and then cook it covered for another two minutes until there are plenty of dark, almost charred spots on the top and bottom of the naan bread. You may need to lower temperatures to reduce charring.
  13. While the first naan bread piece is cooking, roll out the next piece, and then repeat steps 10-13 until all six are cooked.
  14. You can brush the cooked naan with more of the melted butter if you have leftovers from brushing the dough balls in step 7. If you’re really fancy, you could mix in some minced garlic with the butter to brush the cooked Naan with to make a garlic naan.

Serve this with the previously mentioned Instant Pot butter chicken and cooked Basmati Rice for a nice Indian-style dinner that is relatively easy to cook, and really tasty. I don’t do a lot of breads or baking, and this recipe is pretty forgiving.

This is the second of my international recipes that I’ve been trying out as part of one of my annual goals for 2023, to try out recipes from each of the inhabited continents.

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Instant Pot Butter Chicken with Potatoes and Peas

As part of my goal this year to cook new international dishes, I wanted to share this is a great and fairly simple Indian butter chicken recipe. It is based on a recipe recommended by someone I follow on Twitter, but with a minor tweak to the amount of Cayenne Pepper, and added potatoes and peas.

Servings: 8-12

Ingredients:

  • 28oz can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 10-12 cloves Minced Garlic
  • 3-4 tsp Minced Ginger
  • 2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 4 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 3-5 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 8oz Butter
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro
  • 1-2 lb potatoes
  • 1-2 cups Green Peas

Directions:

  1. Add the Tomatoes, Minced Garlic, Minced Ginger, Turmeric, Cayanne Pepper, Smoked Paprika, Kosher Salt, half of the Garam Masala (2 tsp), and Ground Cumin to the Instant Pot, stir thoroughly.
  2. Rinse and cut the Potatoes into large chunks — 1 inch cubes or bigger, and add them to the mixed tomatoes and spices. Add the chicken pieces over the top of the tomatoes, spices, and potatoes.
  3. Turn the Instant Pot on to it’s Pressure Cook setting, with a timer set for 10 minutes on High.
  4. If you want to serve this on rice, you can start the rice at about this point. I’d recommend 2-3 cups of either Jasmine or Basmati rice to go with this much butter chicken.
  5. Once the Instant Pot pressure cooking cycle is complete, let the Instant Pot naturally vent for 10 minutes, and then manually release the rest of the pressure.
  6. Remove the chicken pieces using a pair of tongs. If desired, cut the chicken into chunks of similar size to the potatoes. Set the cut chicken aside.
  7. Remove the potatoes from the Instant Pot using tongs, and put them with the cut chicken pieces.
  8. Take the sauce from the Instant Pot and puree it in a blender or using an immersion blender. Return the pureed sauce to the Instant Pot, and add in the Butter, sliced into thin slices to melt easier. Once the butter has melted in, add the Heavy Cream, the other half of the Garam Masala (2 tsp), the Chopped Cilantro, and the Peas.
  9. Mix together thoroughly, and add the chicken and potatoes back in. If necessary reheat for 3-5 min using the Instant Pot sauté function.

The amount of chicken, potatoes, and peas to add is up to you. The original recipe would have only called for 2lb of chicken, and separating half of the sauce, but by adding in potatoes, peas, and extra chicken, the amount of sauce seems about right. I used frozen peas and thawed chicken, though apparently you can use frozen chicken too. Depending on how much chicken you put in, you may want to add in a little extra salt. And finally, if you’re dairy free, you can substitute coconut oil and full-fat coconut milk in place of Butter and Heavy Cream.

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Filed under Goal: International Recipes, Recipes