Russia

Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Traditional Tandoor  (This is NOT Hans) 🙂

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Modern Tandoor

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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When I was a chef it was essential for me to teach my cooks, then later my students at Le Cordon Bleu, recipes of dishes which were as authentic to their classic origin as possible.
Especially during my many years as a teacher and program chair at Le Cordon Bleu Miami, I taught meticulously what I had learned many decades ago back in the Black Forest of Germany – Classic French Cuisine.

I also taught classic German Cuisine and many other cuisines from around the world which I had enjoyed, studied and learned during my many years as Executive Chef living and working in dozens of countries. (Cuisines of China, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Fillipines, Italy, Spain, India, Brazil, Sweden,  and many more.
While I am only an expert of French, German and Italian cuisine, I do have good knowledge and personal experience of the cuisines of the aforementioned countries and I was therefore able to teach international cuisine with authority.  Unlike many (most ?) “teachers” and “chefs” nowadays, who will read a recipe, practice (maybe) a bit, then “teach” what they just read on sometimes questionable (at best) sources. Mostly, even the folks who write the syllabus for a class have only the “experience” of reading about things, never having cooked it, eaten it or visited the country of origin of a dish.
While this might work for certain professions, it is certainly a disaster for our beloved trade.
No wonder real food becomes more and more the stuff only wealthy people can enjoy in the few excellent restaurants left in most places, while the rest of us is being served mediocre fare for unreal prices.
However, even at that time, while trying to teach original, and classic recipes and methods from specific cuisines, I tried to teach tips and tricks which might not be original, but are more practical, economical and sometimes even result in better food (Not often, but sometimes) 🙂
But one MUST ALWAYS POINT OUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL AND THE VARIATION !
In a restaurant, the Guests should also be informed about the difference, which, in my humble opinion, MUST be made clear in the name of the dish on the menu, for example:

Pesto” – basil, olive oil, garlic, PINE NUTS, pecorino, parmigiano reggiano.
Walnut Pesto” – same ingredients, same method, but replace the PINE NUTS with WALNUTS.
or
Wiener Schnitzel” – thin, breaded, VEAL cutlet
Pork Schnitzel Wiener Art” – same ingredients, same method, but replace the VEAL with PORK.
Turkey Schnitzel Wiener Art” – same ingredients, same method, but replace the VEAL with TURKEY.

Wow, this became a long entry to what I want to clarify here – ChefsOpinion is a blog that celebrates real food that tastes good, looks good and is simple enough that the average beginner of home-cooking, as well as a top professional and everybody in between can find inspiration, tips and other useful information to be able to prepare wonderful food at home, be it a simple soup or salad, an elaborate roast or stew, or whatever I feel like cooking at the moment and share with you, be it classic/original or not.
At this stage of my life, I don´t find it necessary to prove that I can cook, that I was a decent professional or that I have mastered “original and /or classical dishes from around the World in my more than 50 years of being a cook.
My goal at this time is to remind old chefs from around the Globe about the food we once studied, cooked, taught and enjoyed, and to help the “youngens” to be able to enjoy the same food even now, when some of it is not “IN” anymore and one has a hard time to find well-loved, classic dishes in restaurants, where one now finds mostly second-class food, tasteless and pointless, but dressed to the hilt to impress the folks who don´t know better.
To this end, I try to simplify many dishes while keeping the original flavor and texture as close to the real thing as possible, simply to give everybody the chance to prepare certain dishes at home, which they otherwise would find too difficult, expensive, complicated and daunting to try.
A typical example of this philosophy is the dish on this page. Just google the word TANDOORI, or CURRY, or GOULASH and you will know what I mean. Or choose the word of a dish and add the word ORIGINAL or CLASSIC before it.
The result are usually thousands of recipes, seldom the actual CLASSIC recipe (The definition of ORIGINAL or CLASSIC is a whole different chapter) 🙂 , while most others range from slightly off to downright nasty and ridiculous. 😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Curry  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Chicken  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Tandoori  on  ChefsOpinion
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How to make Tandoori chicken without a Tandoor

Tandoori Chicken is one of the most popular dishes from northern India. It is grilled chicken rubbed with a blended spice marinade, identifiable by its red coloring. Tandoori is Indian style of BBQ. The marinade has garlic, salt, coriander, tamarind, cumin, ginger, lentils, and oil.
Tandoor is an Indian style oven, which one cannot buy in an appliance store like you can with a traditional grill or oven. Basically, the tandoor is made entirely of clay and is 3-4 feet tall. Charcoal is placed at the bottom of the tandoor and allowed to burn for several hours. Then the meat is placed on long skewers and cooked inside till roasted. Tandoor is also used to make, among other dishes, naan, kebabs, and tandoori rotis.
It is not practical to build your own tandoor. In fact, most homes in India do not have one. Indian restaurants generally special order tandoors (from restaurant equipment sellers) which can cost upwards of thousands of dollars
So, if you want to enjoy tandoori chicken at home, what do you do?
Here is a very simple tandoori chicken recipe that does not require any special equipment. The chicken retains its juices and is fully cooked while keeping a nice crispy bite on the outside. It has only 2 ingredients, but the cooking technique is very important. Once you follow this recipe, you will realize how simple and delicious this recipe is!

Tandoori Chicken Recipe
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Prep Time: 5 mins (24 hours); Cook Time: 45 mins

(Serves 4 )
4 ea skin less chicken legs,
8 tablespoons tandoori paste   (see picture below for brand example)
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Thoroughly rub the tandoori paste into the chicken.
Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate 24 hours
When ready to cook, preheat broiler on low. Once the temperature is attained, place the chicken pieces on a rack with a drip pan under it. 
Broil on low for 30 minutes, turning the chicken once. Then turn the broiler to high and cook for another 15 minutes, turning once so that the chicken is crisp on both sides. You will see that the marinade will start to dry up and the chicken will start getting a crust.
Remove from oven and transfer to a plate. Serve immediately with naan, sliced onions, quartered lemons, chopped cilantro and mint chutney or condiments of your choice (or follow the suggestion on this page)

Click here for  Indian Tomato Chutney Recipe


Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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steamed rice, tomato chutney, curried chickpeas, spicy cucumber salad – this alone would be a great meal

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures

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Lahmacun

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Lahmacun,  (Armenian: լահմաջու lahmaǰu or լահմաջո lahmaǰo; Turkish: Lahmacun, Arabic: لحم عجين‎, laḥm ʿajīnلحم بعجين‎, laḥm biʿajīn,  “meat with dough”
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Pizza …………
Is there anybody who does not like pizza ? I am sure there are a few people who don’t, but then, you can’t please everybody . 😦
I love pizza a lot, but I love pizza the way I remember having it when I was very young and I ate a slice or two almost daily. You see, when I was working in Munich for the first time, during the 1972 Olympic Games, money was tight, so cheap street food at night was the usual dinner. The new and very “IN” thing at the time and place was the new craze of pizza by the slice, sold for 1.00 DM through reach-through windows at pizzerias in  Schwabing, which was the “It” place in Munich and probably the hippest place in all of Germany during the 70’s. One slice was big enough to satisfy the hunger of a normal person, two slices if you had the munchies, which was a normal thing to have at 2.00 am after a night of dancing, drinking and a few puffs of the good stuff 🙂
Anyway, what was so great about this pizza was its absolute simplicity. Great, thin and crispy crust, a bit of cheese and a bit of tomato sauce, and if you wanted to splurge, a few slices of salami. Heaven, right there !
Not at all like the over-sauced, cheese-laden, multi-topping loaded “pies” you get served in most places nowadays.
To this day, if I order a pizza in a restaurant, I always ask for “easy on the cheese and sauce”.
When I make pizza at home, I usually prepare the “pizza” which hails from middle eastern countries as well as some countries which are situated in the area that used to be the Soviet Union. I was first introduced to these meat pies while travelling in Russia, Turkey and Israel, back in the 70’s when traveling meant an introduction to local, ethnic food on an almost daily basis, because at that time the McDonald’s and the KFC’s and such had not yet permeated every street corner around the globe and if you wanted to have reasonable priced nourishment, you had to eat what the locals ate. Good stuff, good times !
Most of these pies were made with a variation of a simple yeast dough, usually very thin, spread with meat paste, baked until crisp, topped with some kind of salad leaves and raw onions, cut into wedges and drizzled with lemon juice. The meat was usually lamb, but sometimes beef (and some mystery meats we don’t want to get into here). The only major variation I encountered was in Turkey, where sometimes the dough was much thicker and not crispy and the pie was rolled into a döner kebap-like concoction, (Döner kebap / Gyro / Shawarma) when it is served as street food and therefore rolled into a tight roll so it can be eaten without utensils.
When I prepare these “pies”, I usually don’t go to the length of making my own dough. I either buy ready made fresh pizza dough and roll it myself, or I buy pre-baked thin crust pizza. Sometimes I also use lavash, flour tortillas or naan. In my experience, all of these work fine and I love them all. Remember, the main ingredient is the meat paste, not the dough. Below, you can see three different dough’s I used. All of them are great and non of them are inferior to the others, just different.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good ! 
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Lahmacun (sun dried tomato wrap-base)

Lahmacun (sun-dried tomato tortilla-base)

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Lahmacun (naan base)

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Lahmacun (pre-baked thin pizza dough-base)

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For the meat paste, use either ground lamb or ground beef. Add diced peppers, onions, tomatoes with its pulp, and chopped parsley or cilantro.
Then season with garlic paste, oregano, freshly ground black pepper, cumin, kosher salt, paprika powder and a dash of olive oil.
The paste should be fairly moist – if too dry, add more chopped tomatoes. Mix all ingredients without overworking the paste.
Spread meat paste thinly on the dough, bake at 400F until meat is cooked and dough is crisp.

To serve, top with salad and onions, drizzle with lemon juice, cut into wedges or roll into sandwich

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Brush the pie base with a good extra virgin olive oil
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For the salad topping, drizzle fresh leaves and onions with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with chili pepper flakes and kosher salt
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Pre-baked pizza dough – Base
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Naan – Base  (cut into wedges or roll tight after baking for a one-handed sandwich)
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Sun-dried tomato tortilla – Base
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“Eggs And Potato” (Baked Potato And Caviar)

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Ok  friends, here is my opinion about “Caviar with all the trimmings” : It sucks !
In my humble opinion, only folks who don’t love caviar water down the pleasure of eating it by adding a mountain of other “stuff” to stretch it (lots of chopped onions, chopped eggs, sour cream, chopped chives, capers, lots of toast or other bread, mountains of blinis, etc.
I understand that it is not everybody’s kick to pay a few hundred $ for an ounce of caviar. But to stretch it with condiments means to just water down the pure pleasure, so you actually get less bang for your money. (Think of the best cognac you can lay your hands on – then stretching it with ice and water – Brrrrr 😦
All you should add to your caviar (in my own, humble opinion) to enjoy it to the fullest, is a bit of good, buttered bread, a tiny bliny or a bit of potato and top it with a generous amount of caviar. One ounce – two bites maximum WITH the bread or potato. Or, if you want to enjoy the caviar to the max – eat it neat, sit back, enjoy !  Life is good ! (I used one small potato and 4 oz of caviar for this dish – what the heck, I’ll only be 62 once)
As usual, use the best caviar you can afford – quality over quantity !
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I am probably a bit spoiled with my taste for caviar because back in the mid- and late seventies I spend a lot of time in Russia.
During that time we were able to exchange one pair of used jeans on the black market for one kilo of the best caviar. We ate the stuff on buttered bread like other folk eat marmalade on bread – good sourdough bread with unsalted butter, piled high with caviar, probably 6 to 8 ounces per sandwich 🙂
Imagine to be able to do this nowadays, my oh my…………
Some of my friends who were with me during those trips and who read this post –
Yalta, Odessa, Leningrad, Sochi…….Aaahhhhhh, the good old day’s !
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Eggs And Potato (Caviar And Baked Potato)

Eggs And Potato (Caviar And Baked Potato)

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Eggs And Potato (Caviar And Baked Potato)

Eggs And Potato (Caviar And Baked Potato)

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Eggs And Potato (Caviar And Baked Potato)

Eggs And Potato (Caviar And Baked Potato)

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Preparation :
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