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Yucantan Chicken with herb rice


Mexican chicken recipes are very appealing to the Indian pallet (at least to mine), they are flavorful, rich in spice and delicious. After going time and again to my favorite restaurant in London Wahaca and ordering the same dish time and again, i decided to try it at home and the results were pretty impressive!

Ingredients:

Chicken thighs – 3 (large)

For the marinade:
Oranges – 2
Lime – 2
Lemons – 2
Garlic – 5 cloves
Jalapeños – 2
Ground cumin – 1 tsp
Cayenne – 1/2 tsp
Dried Oregano – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste

For coriander rice:
Coriander/Cilantro – 1 bunch
Mint – 1/2 bunch
Lime – 1
Salt – to taste
Rice (dry) – 1 cup

To prepare the marinade, juice the oranges, lemons and lime also getting some orange and lemon zest. Add the dry spices and minced garlic and jalapeño. Marinate the chicken in this and let it stand for 2-3 hours. Preheat the oven to 450degs and then cook the chicken at 400 for about 35mins.  I had gone for chicken thigh pieces so I did not run too much chance of drying out the chicken. If you decide to go with some other part of the chicken you will need to adjust the cook time and temperature accordingly.

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After marinating for 3 hours

 

For the herb rice, clean and grind the herbs together with salt and lime juice. Then add it to the cooked rice & plate up.

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My achievement for this one was that I also tried to butcher the chicken and clean the bones (look at the clean sockets on top). I have to admit that it took me awfully long to get there but it was a fun learning experience. I decided to use freshly juice the oranges, lemons and limes. I even went to the extent of roasting and grinding fresh cumin. Because of all this it was quite labor intensive but at the end it was well worth it. I am quite certain if I had used ready made juices, it wouldn’t have tasted half as delicious as it did – all in all a Sunday well spent!

 

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Wahaca


Founder of the Mexican food chain is chef Thomasina Miers who is the winner of the Masterchef show. I visited this restaurant on the recommendation of a friend and was I glad he recommended it to me or what!?!

This restaurant is the place to visit for the Mexican street food and its cocktails though I need to confess that I fell head over heels in love with another dish altogether! For those of you who haven’t visited Wahaca, the way the ordering works around there is either you go for 2-3 small street food dishes or for one main. I think the sustainable element to it is very in-fashion as well – helps connect with the socially aware green folks. One of the negatives though for me is their site, it is just overly messy. Not sure if people find it cool but it is too crass for me.

The first time I visited Wahaca I tried a couple of their small eats – tacos, quesadillas and cocktails because that is what they are supposed to be known for. I found it quite okay but wasn’t blown away. Though the starters din’t knock my socks off, the sour cream was amazingly fresh and definitely deserves a mention!

The next time I decided to try the stuff I hadn’t up until now like their non alcoholic drinks, their main course, sides, deserts – what a decision that turned out to be. I ordered a non-alcoholic hibiscus drink, the freshness of that was just surprising, you could be sitting in London but one sip of that takes you right to a tropical destination right away. If someone said I was in Hawaii, I would very well believe it after that drink!

It was in this trip that I discovered the yummy succulent grilled chicken and instantly fell in love with it! It is perfectly seasoned, marinated for a good number of hours, cooked to perfection! Everything about that dish is just heavenly. It is served with coriander rice, hot pickled onions and some salad. I had asked for some extra pickled onions thats why there is a mountain of it in the pic below – I love the heat in them! Along with this I also ordered a fiery sweet potato side, gobbled it the instant it came so you can’t really see a picture of it here.

After all three of these, I was stuffed but decided to give dessert a shot and ordered a Mango sorbet. I don’t know if it was just me (don’t have much of a sweet tooth) or if I was too full to enjoy the desert, I thought the sorbet was a let down.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Price per person: £15 -£40

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