New cookbook: Arabesque by Greg and Lucy Malouf

My self-imposed rule of no more cookbooks until the new kitchen was broken this week. Damn the Lamb’s Conduit bookshop for always having interesting cookbooks, always half price. I did at least make sure I bought something that would bring a new set of recipes to the bookshelf, as I have no Middle Eastern cookbooks. And it’s lovely: chapters arranged by ingredients that are important to Middle Eastern cooking like apricots, artichokes, almonds and beans (okay, so I’m not that far in, and it’s arranged alphabetically…)

I skipped forward to “C” for a dinner recipe on Saturday night, and made Southern-fried chicken with Eastern spices (p74). The list of ingredients is long, but like with any highly spiced dish, it’s just a matter of making sure you have them all, and measuring them out. No more complicated than that. In fact, this was really, really easy.

I coated 4 bone-in chicken thighs (that’s how I buy them – if you use boneless chicken, reduce the final cooking time by about 5 minutes) in an aromatic flour mix of cardamom, pepper, fennel seeds, salt, sugar, sweet paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cornflour and polenta (in place of semolina or maize flour that the recipe calls for). The chicken was coated in the flour, then dipped in an egg bath, then back in the flour again.

It was then fried in a small amount of sunflower oil to brown before being transferred to the oven for 40 minutes.

I had about one-and-a-bit portions of leftover oniony-mashed potatoes, which by the power of some cooked frozen peas broken up and beaten in became enough for two and lo! mushy potatoes was born!

The chicken was just delicious. The crispy coating kept everything juicy within, and was warming and spiced and just fantastic. A brilliant recipe from what looks to be a great addition to my now heaving, seriously-no-more-room bookshelf.

(That space on the top left? That’s for the cookbooks that are, er, by my bed….)

One thought on “New cookbook: Arabesque by Greg and Lucy Malouf

  1. ooo yum! I'm so going to give this a go this weekend…that or the jerk chicken maybe, just so i can pretend I'm at glasto! Although may pass on the mud.


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