Chicken Jalfrezi Sandwich, Quarantine Style

Ingredients:

for the chicken:

1 15-oz can jalapeño and habanero diced tomatoes
1 1/2-2 lbs chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground roasted cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
salt
freshly ground black pepper

for the flatbreads:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
pinch salt
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2/3 cup very cold water

garnish: chopped scallion or green onion greens

Directions:

THE NIGHT BEFORE you want to make these, place all the ingredients for the chicken in a marinating container or resealable bag and refrigerate it.

THE NEXT DAY:

Saute all of the ingredients of the chicken mixture in a skillet until fully cooked and the liquid has reduced.

Meanwhile, put the flour, baking powder and spices in the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add remaining ingredients and mix with a dough hook until a ball of dough forms. Add flour if the mixture is too wet, if too dry, add more cold water.

Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Divide into 4 equal balls. Dust a clean, flat surface with flour. Roll out each ball to about 5-6 inches and about 1/4 inch thickness. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large skillet.

Pan fry for 1-2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Repeat for remaining dough.

Top with chicken mixture, fold and eat immediately.

Serves about 4.

My thoughts:

A while back we were watching the not very good The Stranger miniseries on Netflix. It was largely forgettable but, at least for me, for one scene. One character picks up another character in his car. The guy gets in, holding some messy looking sandwich. When asked, he announces that it is a chicken jalfrezi sandwich rather triumphantly. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Chicken jalfrezi seems to be a more popular takeout (or, I guess, takeaway) option in the UK and Australian than it is here in the US. I’ve come across mentions of it in many Britsh and Australian tv shows and books but I don’t see it on menus locally very often. I don’t know why not, it’s not terribly spicy and is simply a mix of spices, chiles, tomatoes, and chicken. I had never come across a mention of a chicken jalfrezi sandwich before though! I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t something made up for the show for some bizarre reason.

Now that we are all stuck at home, I have even more time to cook, especially during the day when I am a little more awake and energetic. So today was the day! I didn’t have fresh peppers to use so I subbed in some very spiced canned tomatoes with jalapeño and habanero (but you can use plain tomatoes and fresh peppers if you have them) and to make it more quarantine and weeknight-friendly, instead of making actual naan to wrap it in, I made a yeast-free spiced flatbread. Since you marinate the meat the night before and just cook it through, the whole dish took me about 30 minutes to make, including starting from scratch with the flatbreads. The chicken part is nearly entirely hands-off. I can’t say this is the most authentic food I’ve made but it is delicious and fun way to jazz up boring chicken.

If I had some plain yogurt or raita, I might have drizzled that on but I think it was very flavorful without it. The flatbreads were very tasty and sturdy enough to contain all of the juicy filling.

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