Five weeks after our wedding, finally my visa came through to travel to Abu Dhabi – which just happens to be my birthplace and my home for the first 20 odd years of my life!. Needless to say I was excited to be going back to my childhood home. Two days before I had to travel Mr. Mazhar gave us all a surprise and came to Karachi to accompany me to our new life in UAE. Contrary to anything I had ever seen or heard about falling head over heels in love with your spouse, my immediate reaction was “Oh joy, I can now pack more stuff to take with me on his baggage allowance!!”. Those who know the weight of having more weight to check-in while travelling can truly understand my pain when Mr. Mazhar informed me that he had purchased a “nil baggage” ticket. Trust me I was not feeling much love for him then! Anyways, I got here and guess what I found… One double bed and large screen TV in the bedroom, a huge L-shaped sofa, dining table, console and TV cabinet in the living room and a refrigerator, electric kettle and an electric hot plate in the kitchen, not to mention paper plates and plastic cutlery!!! I wasn’t really sure of what to do. As a typical, honest to god, Pakistani bachelor, Mr. Mazhar had been mostly eating out for the past four months and felt that a TV was a much more practical purchase than a stove!! So I got started with what I had, which wasn’t much… Our first home cooked meal consisted of Sesame chicken bites, potatoes in gravy and boiled Basmati rice.
The electric plate is on the right and on the left is a camping stove I borrowed from my sister. It was like I was competing in Masterchef Australia’s Pressure Test, where you have limited time and resources to prepare a meal. I sure was limited! But the meal turned out well enough and Mr. Mazhar was impressed that all that came out of his sparsely clad kitchen. I have to admit that writing about it now makes me think that it was fun but I was a bit stressed at the time. The sesame chicken is a recipe I picked up from a kids TV cooking show I just happened upon while flipping channels. The flavours made sense to me so i decided to give it a try. and i have to say that it is a sure fire thing. The ingredients are easy to find, the recipe is simple to follow and the response from everyone who tries it is a euphoric “can we have some more please!” So I would not think twice about taking this one for a test drive 🙂 You will find the recipe below. The potatoes in gravy have been a household staple in my home since forever and it happens to be my father’s specialty. A delicate balance of potatoes, tomatoes and cumin. It is one of my all-time, absolute, favourite dishes. Yummmm. The rice I use is Tilda Basmati Rice and I just followed the instructions on the pack. If you follow the instructions to a T, there is no way you can go wrong. My rice is always cooked to perfection and with the least amount of effort. Which is a big thing if only you knew just how much Pakistani women worry about getting the rice right!! I never got what the fuss was about and Tilda doesn’t want me to bother with the worrying either so rice is stress-free for me, thank you very much! You can find the recipe below. Well what are you waiting for, put on your apron, get your pots and pans out and whip up dinner in style! Enjoy!
Sesame Chicken with Honey Mustard Dip
For Sesame Chicken
- 4 fillets of chicken breasts, cut into 2-3 strips lengthwise and then halved
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp worschester sauce
- 1 tsp salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- 2 cups corn flour
- 2 cups eggs, lightly beatern
- 2 cups bread crumbs mixed with sesame seeds
- Oil and 1 tbsp butter, for frying
For Honey Mustard Dip
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- In a large bowl place the chicken strips and mix in the soy sauce, worschester sauce, salt, pepper and mustard. Cover and marinate the chicken in the mixture for at least 30 minutes. In my experience the longer you let the chicken marinate the better!
- In a separate plate each, lay out the corn flour, eggs and bread crumbs. About the sesame seeds, you can add as much or as little as you want. I just love the taste of toasted sesame seeds so I do tend to go over-board, but that”s just me 🙂
- Roll the chicken pieces in the corn flour, then dip in the egg-wash, then roll them in the bread crumbs. You can start cooking them immediately but I find that letting them rest in the fridge for as little as 15 minutes makes the bread crumbs hold their form better whilst frying.
- Heat some oil in a pan at a medium flame, enough to shallow fry the chicken pieces. Place the chicken pieces in the frying pan, be careful not to over crowd the pan, cover and let the chicken cook for at least 4-5 minutes or till golden brown. Remove the cover from the pan, turn over the chicken pieces and fry till the other side is golden brown as well.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and place onto a clean kitchen towel to soak off excess oil and serve with dip.
- For the dip, place all three ingredients in a bowl and blend together with a fork or whisk till you get a smooth consistency. Feel free to play with flavor by adding to or reducing from the amount of honey and mustard mentioned. You may like the dip sweeter or with a strong tang of mustard. In either case, suit your fancy and enjoy the meal!
Do let me know how you liked the recipe when you try it. I would love to hear your experiences. Thanks!