Chicken is really fresh, cheap and easily available here. And I love that the chicken folks here can do almost anything for you – you can pick which parts you want, whether you want it skinned, whether to cut it up into big chunks, small pieces or as a whole piece. Naturally, I cook A LOT of chicken dishes.
This is a really, really easy recipe adapted from Good Food India (which reprinted it from Hamlyn All Colour 200 Twenty-Minute Meals). It’s soeasy because there’s barely any cooking. You will just need to season your chicken well, heat the pan right, and the chicken will sit there and cook on its own, so long as you flip it around after 4-5 minutes.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins
Serves 2 hungry people
- 4 chicken breast fillets (about 150g each), boneless, skinless
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Fresh ground pepper (as much or as little as you want) and salt (around 1 level tsp would be nice) to season
- Dash of paprika to season
for the salsa
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 small cucumbers, diced
- A handful of fresh basil, finely shredded
- 1/2 tsp of fresh thyme
- Juice of 1 lime
- Coat the fillets with oil and season generously with pepper, salt and paprika.
- Heat a frying pan until very hot (to the point where the chicken will sizzle when it hits the pan), add the chicken and cook for about 4-5 minutes (I find 4 minutes just nice) on each side. In order not to overcrowd the pan (which will result in a sudden drop of temperature in the pan, you can either pan fry each fillet individually, or stagger the time you place each fillet in e.g., 2nd fillet enters the pan when you flip the 1st fillet at the 5th minute, 3rd fillet enters when you flip the 2nd fillet, so on and so forth.
- Meanwhile, to make the salsa, mix together the salsa ingredients. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Serve the chicken hot with the salsa spooned over and around.
a. The original recipe calls for 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped) and a handful of fresh coriander leaves (chopped). As I did not have these on hand, I chose to replace them with fresh basil and thyme, which worked beautifully to enhance the flavours of the tomatoes and cucumbers.
b. Also, it’s very tempting to “disturb” the chicken (flip it around, peek at the bottom) whilst it’s frying in the pan. Resist it! Have faith that they will cook beautifully and not burn if you let them sit in the pan, ~4 minutes on each side.
c. Since chicken breast meat is generally tougher and the fillet is not of even thickness throughout, I like to pound my chicken (with the back of my knife) to kind of even out the thickness and break down the tissue. Try it!