Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Leftover paradise: Spinach chicken in a creamy garlic sauce

I am moving next week.... so i have to clear out my fridge..... all leftovers must.... as well as all frozen storage..........

So here is what i have

Chicken thighs, frozen spinach , evaporated milk, frozen mozzarella, yogurt

I know is a weird combination.... but remember this is a mission of reviving leftover.... so i have to just work with what i have......

So this is what i smell....... seasoned chicken swimming in a creamy spinach sauce topped with mozzarella cheese.........put under the broiler until cheese turn golden and gooey.......


2 pieces of chicken thighs (de-boned)
1 pkg of frozen spinach
1 can of evaporated milk
A healthy pile of grated mozzarella
2 tbsp of plain yogurt
2 gloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper


Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, let rest for 10 mins

In the mean time, in a sauce pan, heat oil and add minced garlic. Saute until you can smell the aroma of garlic

Pour in the sauce pan evaporated milk and let it simmer. Slow boiling will allow the milk to develop flavour

Pan-sear the chicken with skin side down first until 80% cooked, then cut it into small pieces

Put in the chicken and de-frosted spinach (squeeze dry beforehand) in to the milk mixture

Top the mixture with 2 tbsp of yogurt, put the lid on and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes (the fat in the yogurt will slow separate from the curds and give the sauce a nice finish.... rich with a sweet tang)

Transfer the chicken and spinach concoction into a oven-safe dish. Top the mixture with mozzarella and put the dish under the broiler. Bake until cheese become gooey and golden brown

I had mine with a slice of garlic Naan (store bought)...............garlicky............

Enjoy my silly creation.......

I have to say is mighty yummy!!!

The beginning of a scented adventure

In the mist of home packing..... thesis crunching...... and soul searching.......... i decided to start a blog.....to document my love for food......my appreciation of nature.....my beliefs in life........

a poor student........ dreaming to become a scientist.........still believe that she can help save the world one fish at a time (yeah i study fish and global warming...killer combination).........cooking in a tiny kitchen....... no expensive ingredient, just the bare essentials........food might not be gourmet...but definitely hearty and full of L.O.V.E.

This will be a scented map to remind myself.......imperfect grammar but definitely understandable............. Life is beautiful with food, adventures, friends and family..............

Sweet and Savory: Bastilla Pie

Warm cinnamon, turmeric-spiced eggs, crushed almond and a heaping dose of tender chicken covered by layers of phyllo pastry with a touch of snowy sugar

a sweet and savory concoction......

Getting ready to move out of my place.... and venture into a new domain.... i found a box of phyllo pastry hiding at the corner of my freezer.........a box of delicate feathery sheets..........

My first bite into a Bastilla pie was at a place called Bulter's Pantry on Queen West, Toronto a few years ago.....and the sweet and savory taste never left my mind ever since....

I am sure a lot of you are aware of the delicate nature of phyllo pastry..... and that is why it took me so long to finally attempt to recreate this fond memory of mine

There are a lot of Bastilla or Basteeya pie recipes out there.....from few simple ingredients to spices intensive creations, but a few key ingredients are essential:
chicken, onion, garlic, almonds, cinnamon, turmeric, eggs, ginger, sugar
did not follow one particular recipe but an adaptation of much......my pie fits nicely in my cast iron skillet


For the chicken

· 1 medium size chicken (roasted with salt and pepper)

· 8 tbsp. butter, sliced

· 2 onions, grated

· 1 tsp. ground ginger

· 1/2 tsp. turmeric

· 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon

· a pinch of nutmeg

· 1 bay leaf

· salt and pepper

· 2 tbsp. sugar

For the Almonds

· 1 cup toasted almonds

· 4 tbsp. sugar

· 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

For the Eggs

· 4 eggs, beaten

· 1/2 cup reserved chicken sauce

For the pie

· 1 package phyllo pastry

· melted butter

· 1/2 cup powdered sugar

· 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon


Prepare the chicken

Pull off and shred the meat of roasted chicken (can save rack for stock), and set side.

Saute onions with butter until soft and caramelized.

Add ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper and salt to onion mixture, mix well and sautee together for 5 minutes.

Add the water, chicken, bay leaf and nutmeg to the mixture and bring it to a boil and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from the pot. Add sugar, mix and set aside.

Save the simmering liquid for the eggs.

Prepare the almonds

Put toasted almonds, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and grind.

Prepare the eggs

Warm the simmering liquid over low heat. Bring it to a slow boil and slowly add the eggs, stirring constantly. Cook until they have a scrambled egg consistency. Drain any extra liquid and let cool.

Assemble the pie

Butter cast-iron pan and place 4 or 5 phyllo sheets on it. Brush with melted butter, spread a thin layer of chicken and cover with 2 or 3 phyllo sheets. Brush phyllo sheets with butter, spread a thin layer of almonds, cover with another couple of sheets of phyllo, butter and spread a layer of eggs. Repeat with other layers of chicken/almonds/egg/ until all the fillings are used up. Cover with several sheets of phyllo dough and tug them into the bottom of the pie, encasing the whole thing. Score the top of the pie into diamond shape design and sprinkle the pie with some water (prevent too much puffing of pastry)

Heat the oven to 425F and put the pie inside (no preheating required). Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until golden. Brush with powdered sugar and cinnamon.