July 2017 Archives

Chicken Phall

Chicken Phall

Chicken Phall is the hottest dish of the Indian restaurant cuisine. It is by no way authentic and was almost certainly invented in the UK, probably as some kind of revenge on drunken Brits who arrived at the Indian takeaways after the pubs closed. Still, I felt like I had to give this a try.

I took some clues from vague descriptions of a Phall that I found online and improvised this dish. It may need some adjustments, but the first try turned out tasty and very hot. Serves 2, or one very hungry person.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 350g boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a 2.5" (6-7cm) piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 2 fresh habanero chilies
  • ½ bhut jolokia chili
  • 8 very hot dried red chilies
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 can tomatoes and their juice
  • salt
  • ½ tsp extra hot chili powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp chopped green coriander leaves

Squeeze the garlic cloves through a garlic press and grate the ginger finely, then put both into a blender. Put on protective gloves. Chop the chilies and put into the blender. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel and lemon juice. Add a little bit of water. Whizz. The resulting paste should be thick and just barely liquid. Add some more water if necessary. Whizz until very smooth.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken cubes. Stir fry until the meat is white on the outside. Open the windows and/or put the fume hood on full blast. Add the spice paste from the blender, keep stirring on high heat until the liquid has evaporated. Try not to inhale the chili fumes.

Put the can of tomatoes and their juice intio the blender and whizz until smooth. Add the tomatoes into the pan. The meat should be about covered. If not, add some water.

Salt to taste, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. You can now take off the gloves and turn down the fume hood.

Turn off the heat, add the chili powder, garam masala and coriander leaves. Stir, then cover with a lid and let stand for 3-5 minutes. Serve with lots of rice.

This is very hot, but I managed to eat a portion. If you find this insufficiently challenging, use a whole bhut jolokia chili. If you find it too hot, check out one of the milder curry recipes.

Tomato pan

Tomato pan

A while ago, I had to improvise a quick side dish to accompany grilled salmon. The result was this Italian-style dish, which takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and turned out to be extremely tasty and fruity. This recipe is a side dish for 2-4, depending on the size of the main dish and whether you have other side dishes as well.

The taste depends very much on the tomatoes, which is why you should use aromatic cherry tomatoes rather than regular ones.

  • 1 tbsp good olive oil
  • 1 smallish onion, finely chopped
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, deseeded and cut in small (¼") pieces
  • 1-2 dried chilies, crushed
  • 300g (10oz) cherry tomatoes, San Marzano or similar, halved or quartered depending on size
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 8-10 basil leaves, cut in stripes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and fry at moderate heat until slightly yellowish. Add the crushed chilies and chopped bell peppers, stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir carefully so that the tomatoes. The tomatoes don't need to be fried, they just need to be heated up, and they shouldn't fall apart. 1-2 minutes should be enough. The skin should not wrinkle and not come off.

Turn off the heat, add the basil leaves and lemon juice. Stir carefully. Let stand for 1-2 minutes, then serve.



Everybody has their own ratatouille recipe, it seems. Here is mine, which is a French-Greek crossover, as it combines the classic French ingredients with a Greek preparation method. The result is a bit more tomato-heavier and fruitier than the classic ratatouille. It's extremely tasty, though. Serves 3-4.

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 2 medium-sized courgettes
  • 1-2 red bell peppers, depending on the size
  • 2 cans of tomatoes with juice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ cup (125ml) French or Greek olive oil
  • 1 bouquet garni (a few twigs of parsley and thyme, and a bay leaf bound together)
  • salt
  • pepper

Cut the eggplants and courgettes into small (1/4"-½") cubes, remove the seeds from the bell peppers and cut them into similar-sized bits. Put the tomatoes and their juice into a blender and whizz until smooth.

In a large pot, bring the oil to medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until transparent.

Add the eggplant cubes and stir well. They will very likely absorb most of the olive oil. That's okay. Add the courgettes and bell peppers and stir for another minute or so.

Add the tomato sauce from the blender, season with salt and pepper. Stir. Add the bouquet garni and make sure it is well immersed in the sauce. Bring to boil.

Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the bouquet garni, then serve as a main or side dish.