The Umami Flavor Bomb!
On cooking show competitions it is always a compliment to hear that your food has Umami. You, know, that bold flavor bomb that comes from strong ingredients like garlic, bacon, onion, cheese, pepper, anchovies or lemon/lime, AKA the 7 wonders of the food world. u·ma·mi /o͞oˈmämē/noun: Umami
- a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavor of glutamates, especially monosodium glutamate.
I love food with Middle Eastern flavors such Sumac, Feta and Greek Yogurt. I used to Belly Dance at the Kabob House. One of my favorite dishes was their Lamb Kabob and Rice, seasoned with Sumac. So here is my take on a baked chicken, marinated with Sumac and Greek Yogurt. Opa!
GREEK CHICKEN INGREDIENTS:
1. Chicken fresh bone-in, such as thighs or breasts, 2-3 ½ lb. (or use Frozen Chicken that you can defrost over 3 days)
2. Stubb’s Chicken Marinade Mix Citrus & Onion, 1 oz
3. Sumac, recommended Zamouri Spices, 2-3 tablespoons
4. Greek Yogurt Traditional Plain, recommended The Greek Gods, 8-16 oz.
5. Anchovies, recommended Crown Prince, 2 oz.
6. Feta cheese chunk, recommended President, 4 oz.
7. Feta cheese crumbles, recommended President, 4 oz. for garnish
8. Olive Medley (Kalamata pitted, whole and sliced, Green Salad sliced, Black Olives sliced) ¾ cup
9. Capers non-pareil, recommended Crosse & Blackwell, ¼ cup
10. Lemons, 2 (slice one and dice the other into 4 chunks)
11. Tomato, dice into 4 chunks
12. Garlic, 5 cloves
13. Vinegar (your favorite, Red Wine, Apple Cider, Balsamic, etc.)
14. Rosemary Leaf, ½ teaspoon, divided
15. Tarragon Leaf, ½ teaspoon, divided
16. Naan Bread, 1 per meal
17. Truffle Oil, 1 teaspoon or less for Naan
GREEK CHICKEN INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Fresh Chicken (add to Ziplock bag and cover with Sumac and Chicken Marinade). I was not baking my chicken that day, so I froze it.
2. For fresh chicken, add the Yogurt and marinade for ½ hour or longer
3. For frozen chicken, add the Yogurt to the bag and thaw in refrigerator for 3 days
4. Preheat oven to 325 when ready to cook
5. Season lemon and tomatoes with ¼ of Rosemary and Tarragon Leaf
6. Add chicken to baking dish and cover with Anchovy oil
7. Put the Anchovies beneath the chicken pieces and top the Anchovies with Garlic
8. Add the Olive Medley with Capers between pieces and cover with Feta Cheese Chunk slices
9. Cover chicken with Lemon slices
10. Pour vinegar over the chicken
11. Cover with ¼ of Rosemary and Tarragon Leaf
12. Cover with foil
13. Bake at 325 for 1 hour
14. Remove foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes
15. Add Truffle Oil to lemon and tomato chunks
16. Grill Lemon and tomato chunks
17. Remove and grill Naan bread for 2 minutes per side to get grill marks
SAFFRON RICE INGREDIENTS:
- Yellow Saffron Rice, recommended Mahatma, 5 oz.
- Turkey Broth and/or water 1 ½ to 2 cups
- Chicken Bouillon Cubes, 2
- Feta cheese crumbles, recommended President, 4 oz. for garnish
- Greek Yogurt Traditional Plain, recommended The Greek Gods, 2 tablespoons
- Saffron, recommended Sun Brand, 5 to 10 strands
- Truffle Oil, 1 teaspoon
- Truffle Zest, ¼ teaspoon
- Butter, 2 pats, separated
- Rosemary Leaf, ½ teaspoon
- Tarragon Leaf, ½ teaspoon
SAFFRON RICE INSTRUCTIONS:
- Add Truffle Oil, Truffle Zest, 1 Butter pat, Rosemary and Tarragon and heat for 2 minutes in your sauce pan
- Prepare according to Rice package directions.
- Add Bouillon Cubes and Broth/Water to pan and bring to a boil
- Add rice, cover pan, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
- Stir in Yogurt, Feta Cheese crumbles and 1 Butter pat
I am out of Tzatziki sauce at the moment. However, you can whip one up using Yogurt, Lemon juice (from the grilled lemons), Garlic and Dill. Perhaps, I will make that tomorrow, using my mini Chop Blender.
The baked Feta Cheese chunk slices mimic Greek Flaming Cheese: Saganaki! Even though it was baked, it did become crisp and benefit from the Olive Tapenade, Balsamic Vinegar and Anchovy Umami. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saganaki
- In Greek cuisine, Saganaki (Greek σαγανάκι) is any one of a variety of dishes prepared in a small frying pan, the best-known being an appetizer of fried cheese.
- The cheese used in cheese saganaki is usually graviera, kefalograviera, halloumi, kasseri, kefalotyri, or sheep’s milk feta cheese. Regional variations include the use of formaela cheese in Arachova, halloumi in Cyprus, and vlahotiri in Metsovo. The cheese is melted in a small frying pan until it is bubbling and generally served with lemon juice and pepper. It is eaten with bread.
- Other dishes cooked in a saganaki pan include shrimp saganaki (Greek: γαρίδες σαγανάκι, garídes saganáki), and mussels saganaki (Greek: μύδια σαγανάκι, mýdia saganáki), which are typically feta-based and include a spicy tomato sauce.
- In many United States and Canadian restaurants, after being fried, the saganaki cheese is flambéed at the table (sometimes with a shout of “opa!“), and the flames then usually extinguished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This is called “flaming saganaki” and apparently originated in 1968 at The Parthenon restaurant in Chicago‘s Greektown, based on the suggestion of a customer to owner Chris Liakouras..
That was the best and most flavorful rice I have ever made in my lifetime. It might be just as good as the Kabob House, but it will be just the Umami I need for dinner! Opa!
Check out the sample and get your copy here: Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook
The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).
PAPERBACK BOOKS BY SHALIMAR ALI:
SHALIMAR ALI BOOKS AT AMAZON
The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 @ Amazon Kindle (June 13, 2016)
The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 3 by Shalimar Ali (Apr 13, 2014)
The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2 by Shalimar Ali (Dec 11, 2012)
The Vampire Dancer Saga by Shalimar Ali, Shalimarali and N/A (Jul 25, 2012)
Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)