Not an Ordinary Cup of Tea!

This is a really easy dish to make. A little strange I grant you, but it works and it tastes even better. The first mouthful is tangy, lemony, herby and garlicy with a faint hint of achar. Everything marries really well.

Achar (pickle) is a staple in most Pakistani households, not necessarily to cook with but to add the added dimension to a meal. Achar comes in a variety of flavours: green mango, lemon, lemon with lemon juice, mixed vegetables the list is endless. For this dish I would suggest using a lemon achar that is more concentrated in flavour than a lemon achar preserved in lemon juice. This is easily found in any Asian food shop.

Often in Ramadan I find that immediately after iftari (the evening meal) I am overcome with sleep and have often begun snoozing before I have even managed to have a cup of tea or coffee to keep me going! With this in mind I thought about incorporating some caffeine into a meal so that it would kick in a little earlier. My next thought concerned whether the tea actually added anything other than caffeine to the meal and I have to say it does, the delicate taste of it in the background tastes familiar but does not over whelm. The combination of lemon, tea, spices and herbs create both a wonderful aroma and taste.

While this recipe does not call for salt, there is generally salt in the olives, salt in the achar and the garlic is pounded with a little salt. So any extra salt should really not be necessary, if however you do feel it is missing some I would only suggest putting some in at the very end, if at all.

One final note, you may wonder why I have decided to cook the chicken breast whole and then slice it, rather than slicing it then cooking it? Chicken breast cooks very quickly which means that often while cooking sliced breast it can cook too quickly and become quite dry and tough. Doing it this way means the chicken breast stays quite juicy.

For Mrs B!

Serves approximately 2-3.

To marinate
2 large chicken breasts sliced in half widthways (so 4 slim slices)
5 garlic cloves pounded with a pinch of coarse salt
1 lemon
10 sage leaves chopped up finely
¼ of the lemon’s lemon zest

To cook
½ onion
1 cup of black tea quickly brewed
1 cup of hot water
Approximately 9 stoned green olives
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon of lime pickle (just the paste)
1 to 2 courgettes (dependent on size) chopped into cubes

Leave the chicken to marinate with5 garlic cloves pounded with a pinch of coarse salt, the juice of 1 lemon, ¼ of the lemon’s lemon zest and 10 sage leaves chopped finely. Rub into the chicken. Set this aside.

In the mean time allow the onion to cook in a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy based pan. The oil which burns quickly will cause the onion to go golden very quickly. Try not to let it burn. The aim is to make the onions go golden and crispy.

Quickly brew a cup of black tea. Drop the black tea (minus the bag/tea leaves) into the pan and deglaze the pan rubbing any area where the onions have stuck to the pan. Add another cup of hot water.

Rinse then chop the olives in half and put into the pan. Add 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper and ½ teaspoon of lime pickle (just the paste) into the pan. Stir and simmer for 5 mins.

Now add the chicken and all the lemon juices to the pan. Allow the chicken to poach in the liquid. When the chicken looks as if it has nearly cooked, (approximately 7 mins) take it out of the liquid and then slice it in to smaller pieces. Put it back into the liquid and then add the cubed courgette. Cook for a further 5-7 mins until the chicken is cooked and the courgette is soft.

Serve with rice (tea cup optional!)

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