December 14, 2005

Five out of Ten

My last post, the You Are What You Eat list, was both easier and more difficult to come up with than I thought it would be. Sure, the items just tumbled out of my head and onto the page, but I agonized about whether they were truly representative.

As I was eating lunch today, I noticed with some bemusement that my little container of leftovers contained five of those top ten items: Rice, lemon, chicken, onions, and chiles. Chicken Yassa, to be precise.

On the weekend, I made a stop at the South China Seas Trading Co. on Granville Island, which is my go-to destination for a number of hard-to-find ingredients including hominy, epazote, dried chiles, and all manner of interesting Asian and Central/South American ingredients. As always, just standing in the store caused me to revise my weekly menu substantially as I stared at piles of fresh poblano peppers, long garlic chives, jarred mole sauces, and fresh young ginger and turmeric roots. A brightly coloured pile of habaneros by the cashier mocked me until I slid a couple into a brown bag and added them to my basket - and my menu. Fresh habaneros don't have a long shelf-life, so I immediately shouldered Yassa into my menu plan. One must take advantage when one can, and Yassa is a little lighter on preparation than Jerk, which is another favourite use for the habanero.

Traditional Yassa recipes start with marinating the chicken and proceed through an on-the-bone grilling stage before the dish is completed. My adaptation is really more of a quick stew, starting off-the-bone and simmering the marinated meat in the lemony, mustardy matrix that makes up the sauce.

Whoa. I can't believe I left mustard off my list. That would have made it six out of ten!


sailu said...

Dawna,your being hard on get more than 5 on that recipe..:)if not 10/10.I'd like to try this recipe but without the olives though.Would it not then be Chicken Yassa?..without the olives,I mean.

Dawna said...

Hi Sailu - I didn't notice how that sounded! The recipe itself is absolutely a solid 10/10. I was still amazed to find a dish that contained so many of my top ten picks.

You can make yassa without the olives - the olives and carrots are the "fancy" version of yassa, and by no means obligatory.

LisaSD said...

Phew! From the title, I thought you were giving the dish a score of "five out of ten,", but now I see it contains five of your faves! I'd say that's a keeper dish!

Dawna said...

Hi Lisa, We love this dish - probably have it at least once per month when habaneros are available (with enough leftovers for some lunches).

Lera said...

Mmmmm ---looks appetising!I agree with lisa,it's akeepers dish.