Thursday, 25 June 2015

Globe-cooking recipe : Chicken Choyla (Nepal) #readcookeat

I couldn't decide what to call this blogpost because it's a #readcookeat recipe, inspired by a foodie mention in The Last Exile by E.V. Seymour (click through to read my review), but it's also a globe-cooking recipe that ended up being a great way of clearing out my spice rack so I'll add it to #KitchenClearout too. How's that for multitasking ?!

Cooking the books for #readcookeat was how it all started though, so I highlighted a few foodie mentions as I was reading. The first couple weren't very inspiring :

p152 "Most shops were geared to tourists and sold local art, pottery, bric-a-brac with fishing themes, gaudy trinkets, homemade pasties, clotted cream fudge and ices."

Well, I did make some rather nice (and incredibly simple) sausagemeat and stuffing pasties a while ago, but I wasn't overly inspired. Would anything better come up?

p179 "After a beer and a strange dinner of pasta bake with a sausage chucked in, he took a long hot shower, turning in for the night with the newspapers he'd bought in Devon."

Well, it may sound like just the sort of thing I'd make as a quick midweek meal to use up the leftovers, but I didn't think it would warrant a blogpost ! Luckily, there was the perfect foodie reference coming up a few pages on :

p207 "He'd wolfed down chicken choyla, a Nepalese speciality, followed by lamb jalfrazi with a side dish of tarka dal and topped it off with a pudding of coconut and persimmon ice cream."

That's it ! The perfect unknown, exotic-sounding recipe that just needed googling. I looked at several recipes for Chicken Choyla (or Cholia or Chhoyela) and converted it slightly to fit with what I had in the cupboard and my spice rack. Apparently it is usually served as an appetiser but I decided to make mine into a main meal by serving it with rice.

Chicken Choyla

ingredients :

450g chicken breast
2 onions
1 tbsp ginger paste (or powder)
1tbsp garlic paste
2tsp cumin
2tsp garam masala
1/2tsp turmeric
1tsp chilli powder
lime juice
2 large tomatoes
chives or spring onions (to serve)

This was a great chance to pick up my #KitchenClearout challenge - I had a rummage in my spice rack and found a variety of Knorr Flavour Pots, including curry, mixed chillies, garlic and ginger & lemongrass, all of which could be used in this dish, as well as some half-used jars of garam masala, ginger, cumin and chilli & lime. Perfect !

First of all, chop the chicken and onions and fry them in a small amount of oil until the chicken is nicely browned and the onions are soft.

Add the spices - I used a garlic flavour pot, plus 1-2tsp each of the garam masala, ginger, cumin and chilli & lime. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of salt.

Chop the tomatoes and throw them into the mix. Cook for a couple more minutes until the tomatoes are soft and warmed through. Keep tossing the ingredients around in the pan so the flavours are all nicely mingled.

I was very impressed with how this turned out. It's really quick and simple and needs much less preparation than a curry. The tomatoes keep it nice and light (you could eat it without rice for an ever lighter option) and it's slightly spicy (but not at all overpowering) with a lovely zesty topnote. Delicious !

Fancy having a look to see what's lurking in the back of your larder/freezer/fridge/spice rack? Join in with this month's #KitchenClearout linkie !

Fancy cooking the books?! Join in with the #readcookeat linkie at Chez Maximka.


  1. you are doing better than me for foodie refernces, the latest one I found was ham and pease pudding sandwiches! Love the look of the dish

    1. I automatically hone in on them now ! lol

  2. I haven't heard of this Nepalese dish before, but what a foodie find in a book! Did you have it with rice or salad? Lots of tasty flavours.

    1. I served it with rice but from what I can gather, normally it's served as it is as a starter - kind of like tapas I suppose.