Spicy Pan Seared Lemongrass Chicken Thighs

​For most of us Ugandans, lemongrass is associated with tea (hot beverages) because we love our Chai! I was unaware that this backyard leafy plant is versatile until I tasted lemongrass chicken about 6-7 years ago. I was mind blown,  to put it lightly. This is  me recreating this epic chicken.  The result is fragrant  spicy flavored chicken that will become addictive. I am using Yo Kuku chicken thighs which are great for this recipe because they cook very fast so you do not have to worry about half cooked chicken. 

What you will need:

3 Yo Kuku chicken thighs (500gm)

A bunch of fresh lemongrass

1 Tsp.  Lemongrass root, grated

3 garlic cloves, grated

1/2 tsp.  Black pepper

   1/2 tsp. Chili, ground  

1/2 tsp. Paprika

 1/2 tsp.   chili oil

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

Juice of 1 orange 

Orange zest

Salt 


Observations:

  1. Lemongrass is a common backyard plant but if you cannot access it,  you can buy it from local food markets 
  2. The lemongrass root was obtained by uprooting the plant. 
  3. It is important to use minimal oil since the chicken releases oil while cooking.

    Method:

    In a bowl,  combine the grated lemongrass root, garlic, black pepper, ground chili, paprika, chili oil, orange juice,  soy sauce and salt.  Mix well. Add the chicken and mix well.  Let the chicken marinate overnight or for at least 2-3 hours if you are in a hurry. 

    Remove the chicken from the  marinade. Place a nonstick pan on high heat. Add half a teaspoon of oil.  Add the chicken and lemongrass. Cover the pan and let the chicken pieces fry while taking in the fragrance of the lemongrass.  Do not discard the marinade. 

    Once the chicken has browned well on both sides, pour in the marinade and reduce the fire. Let the chicken slowly cook in its juices till fully cooked. This will take about 30 minutes. Leave the lemongrass  in the pan till the chicken is fully cooked. Add the orange zest a few minutes before removing the chicken from fire.  

    Serve hot.  


    Make this dish for the holidays and it will be  a crowd pleaser with all the surprising flavors. 
    Follow the link below to visit the Yo Kuku facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/YokukuUganda/

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    ​Mixed Sweet and Salty Chocolate Snack Bars

    One of the best parts of blogging is having to experiment with different kinds of food,  flavors and textures.  For the longest time, I have wondered how combining our favorite snacks and chocolate would taste like.  I finally got to do it before the year ends. So today I introduce you to this crazy fun but absolutely tasty snack bar.  It has all the best snacks and a rich mix of chocolate. How it’s made, you ask? Very simple.

    As simple as getting roasted groundnuts, plantain chips, fried soya,  daddies,  soft hard corns, simsim, a binder  and chocolate. Et voila!

    What you will need

    1 C. Groundnuts, roasted and salted

    1 C.  Soya,  fried and salted 

    1/2 C.  Plantain chips, crushed 

    1/2 C.  Daddies crushed 

    1/2 C.  Hard corns, salted

    1/2 C.  Simsim, roasted and salted

    1/2 C.  Icing sugar

    1/3 C.  Water

    1/4 C.  Water 

    500 grams Chocolate, chopped

    1/2 Tsp.  Orange zest

    Nonstick baking paper 

    Observations:

    1. Make sure you use low fire so that the chocolate doesn’t burn while melting. 
    2. Use really soft hard corns, soya and daddies. 
    3. Make sure the soya, simsim,  hard corns, groundnuts are salted. The salt balances out the sweetness of the chocolate. 

      Method:

      Place a clean pan on low fire. Add 1/3 cup of water and the icing sugar. Stir till all the sugar has desolved. Let it boil till it clears and starts to thicken. Add the chopped chocolate and slowly stir till it fully melts.  Add the 1/4 cup of water to reduce the thickness of the chocolate. Stir well till the melted chocolate is smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients in the melted chocolate and stir well.  Line a mold (any well shaped pan or container) with parchment paper/nonstick baking paper. Pour the hot chocolate mixture in the mold. Gently tap the mold to let the chocolate set well. Cover and place it in the refrigerator.  If you don’t have a refrigerator, place the chocolate in a cool place and let it harden for about 12 hours. Once fully hardened use a serrated knife to cut out bars.  

      Serve. 

      Best part is that you can gift these to loved ones for the holidays. 

      Goat Offal Stew 

      Most people have a love hate relationship with offals (ebyenda). I do too,  well until cravings kick in. I recently learned the history of offals and how they came to be in the Ugandan meat market.  It is  a dish we have all enjoyed from childhood and I had to share it  on the blog before the year ends. 

      If you have cooked offals before, you know they need a lot of cooking time because of the tough muscles in the guts.  It would be devastating to make a dish like this and then run out of fire (in this case I am talking about gas). If you haven’t noticed yet,  Shell has introduced a new and improved gas canister  that let’s you monitor your gas consumption. This is a wonderful innovation because the struggle of having to guess whether you  have enough gas to  cook everytime is greatly reduced. 

      I am sharing this offal stew recipe that you can cook entirely on gas and not have to worry about your gas finishing any minute. 

      What you will need:

      I kilo, assorted offals, cut into bite-sized pieces

      3 large tomatoes, diced 

      1 large green pepper, diced 

      1 large carrot, diced 

      1 large onion, diced 

      1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped 

      Juice of 1 lemon/ white vinegar 

      Black pepper 

      1Tsp. Ground coriander

      1Tsp. Turmeric powder 

      Salt
      Observations:

      Thoroughly wash the offals to remove foreign items and sand.

      Use a heavy cast pan so that your cooking time is reduced. 

      Vinegar helps tenderise the meat. If you don’t have vinegar, use lemon juice.

      Make sure the water covers the meat completely. It will reduce.  Keep adding water till the meat reaches your desired tenderness. 

      I don’t add oil to this stew because usually offals come with a lot of fat which you can discard if you dont like.  The remaining fat will cook the meat and retain flavor

      Method.

      Thoroughly wash your offals to remove all the dirt and sand. 

      Once washed, place the offals in a pan.  Add salt, vinegar, and water. Place the sauce pan on high fire and let the meat boil. This can take from 1-2 hours. 

      Keep checking the water level and add more once it reduces so that the meat doesn’t burn.  

      Once the meat has boiled till tender (you can always taste,  the best part of making this stew by the way!), and all the water has dried,  the offals will start frying in their  fat that remains at the bottom.  Fry the offal till they start getting slightly golden brown 

      Add the crushed garlic, and onions and keep stirring. Next add the rest of the ingredients. Add water and let the stew simmer on low fire for another 30-45 minutes. Keep stirring. 

      When stew is ready, serve hot with either posho,  matooke,  akalo, obundu,  sweet potatoes or anything really! I ate it with chapati. Tasty! 

      Once you get over the sometimes overbearing odor (for a lack of a better word),  you will realize offal stew has some of the best meat flavors and pieces. 
      PS: The new Shell gas canister can be found at Shell stations around Kampala. For more information about Shell gas and the new translucent canister,  leave a comment below and I will answer all your questions.