This version has all of the ingredients to make a fantastic dish, but the cooking method makes it all bland. Try my version of the recipe. Frying the spices in oil helps magnify their aroma significantly intensifying the flavor. This was a favorite comfort food for me while away at college, warm, hearty, and cost effective. I included a slow cooker method, too.
1 1/2 c dried split, yellow beans (aka yellow split pea, yellow lentils, chana dal)
3 t cumin seeds
1 c shallots, thinly sliced
1 knob fresh turmeric (about 2 inches), peeled and julienned
2 t sweet paprika
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1 t sea salt
1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken, sliced on the diagonal into bite-sized pieces
3 c chicken broth/stock or water (2 c for slow cooker)
3 bay leaves
sunflower or coconut oil
Rinse the beans well and soak overnight at room temperature. A teaspoon of baking soda can be added to the water prior to adding the beans to speed up soaking, if necessary. Rinse the beans before cooking.
Slow Cooking Method:
Place the beans, broth/water, and bay leaves in the slow cooker and turn on high and set for 6 hours. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds to the hot oil and toss until fragrant, not too long. They will pop and sizzle. Add shallots, and sauté until translucent. Add fresh turmeric, and sauté until tender. Add in the paprika, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir. Then, add the salt, and give it a stir. Add maybe a 1/4 c of the bean cooking liquid or a couple of tablespoons of unseasoned rice vinegar (you won't taste it in the final product) to help loosen the lovely flavor from the bottom of the pan. Add chicken, and cook until no pink is visible, but the chicken doesn’t have to be cooked all the way. Scrape everything into the slow cooker, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low to continue cooking. Remove bay leaves. Enjoy over a lovely brown jasmine or basmati rice.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds to the hot oil and toss until fragrant, not too long. Add shallots, and sauté until translucent. Add fresh turmeric, and sauté until tender. Add in the paprika, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir. Then, add the salt, and give it a stir. Add chicken, and cook until no pink is visible, but the chicken doesn’t have to be cooked all the way. Stir in liquids, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add lentils and bay leaves; cover and simmer 45 minutes. Uncover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Enjoy over a lovely brown jasmine or basmati rice.Read More
For those that think this is bland, try it again with a few easy modifications and you won't be disappointed. First, prior to tossing the chicken in the dry spices, marinate the chicken in 1/8c fish sauce for 5-10 minutes. Once tossed in the spices, let it marinate an additional 15 minutes or so. Second, instead of chopping the onion, purée it with the garlic and some fresh ginger and then fry that paste in the oil before adding the chicken. Third, use good Hungarian sweet, or smoked, or hot paprika instead of the generic "paprika" in the stores. I used a combo of all three. Smoked paprika always adds a depth of flavor. Finally, chop up two tomatoes and fry those in with a little salt after browning the chicken. If you've got a bell pepper on hand, slice it up and toss that baby in while you are frying the tomato, too. These changes were the result of melding two similar recipes together and I found the result very flavorful and a neat balance of Indian and SE Asian flavors.Read More
Divisive recipe, eh? Like a lot of folks, I was really underwhelmed. There is a great Burmese place a few minutes away from where I've eaten for years. Some of the dishes are great and some do tend to be a tad bland. This is one Burmese recipe that is bland. Actually, earthy and mild might be the more complimentary way of phrasing it. At any rate, I used fresh rated nutmeg, cumin that I'd ground myself a few days earlier, and fresh turmeric. Yeah, the cloves may have been a bit old but they are frequently overwhelming anyway. So, recipe cooked properly, with noodles, using frsh spices, and at leats to my tatses, this was quite bland and one-dimensiional. Basically a semi-exotic chicken noodle soup. On the plus side, it's fairly cheap, easy, and makes a filling four servings.Read More