The Charm of a Crispy Chicken Schnitzel with lime zest, Cardamom, Cinnamon with Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce and Wasabi Yogurt Raita
Let’s utter the truth in the first sentence- a chicken schnitzel is intoxicating, exciting, amazing. If you have never tried this before, it can change the way you eat chicken after you eat this, let me assure you that. It will make you fall in love with it from the first bite, it will take control of your mind and make you cook this again n again- well fair enough-especially when it tastes this good n rather easy to cook, just remember the magic sequence- flour-egg-breadcrumbs.
The chicken schnitzel is a chicken cutlet, schnitzel is the German word for cutlet, the term is applied to chicken or meat that is coated in bread n fried until crispy and there lies the magic apart from the flavor- it is the crispy texture of the food that is so appealing to us, the bread coating with the egg beneath it- gets crispy n flavorsome in the process of frying and the chicken inside stays soft n juicy- this is the kind of food which makes my eyes closed when I’m eating them- you know what I mean…bliss.
Now you know me, I love to incorporate flavor in my food n I have not got very straight hands even when cooking a traditional recipe, I will eventually modify it. Thankfully there is no set recipe for chicken schnitzel, I mean there is but it’s flexible and almost in every country we will find food in this structure. Here in this part of India I grew up eating chicken culet n chicken Kobiraji cutlet all the time, so it is kinda in my genes. By the way let me tell you that chicken Kobiraji cutlet is a cutlet covered with crispy egg all around it n it is total fried heaven.
So talking about flavor, I begin by marinating the chicken breast overnight with lime juice, minced ginger n garlic, dry rosemary, sliced red chili, a touch of salt n sugar, if you have skipped overnight marination, give it 2-3 hours. Marination does help in two ways, first it incorporates flavor into the flesh, second it makes the chicken soft because the lime juice is an acid so it starts breaking down the protein molecules slowly, and as the result of marination the chicken breast stays soft n juicy n flavorful when being fried. So I would normally never skip marination but if you have got no time at all… you can skip it.
The second stage of flavors come after I make the chicken breast go thin with a meat hammer, you need a meat hammer to beat the chicken breast until it goes quite thin like 1/2 cm in thickness or a little more, you can also do this with a heavy rolling pin, you have to place the chicken breast inside a zip lock bag or between two plastic sheets or like I do it-directly over my chopping board.
Once the breast have been flattened to uniform thickness I sprinkle the roasted black pepper, green cardamom, cinnamon powder over it and it is ready for getting coated in breadcrumbs.
It is a very good idea to make your own breadcrumbs; the flavors are far more better than if you use store-bought breadcrumbs. I take a day or two old white bread, on a flat thick pan I toast the bread over medium low heat until it gets light brown, then take them off the heat n then blend them in a blender or food processor until it is crumbly n I don’t make it go smooth, neither will you.
I love raita, the tang of the yogurt goes well with the crispy rich schnitzel, in my raita I have introduced the sweet pungency of Japanese Wasabi- it gives raita a new flavor dimension, in the raita you can also add chopped cucumber along with red onion n tomatoes.
Another sauce that is just so good to eat with the schnitzel is the sweet chili garlic sauce, the heat from the red chili, the sweetness, the touch of vinegar- I tell you it’s mouth-watering with the schnitzel n it takes just 7 minutes to make it, that’s all.
But let’s just say you don’t wanna make any sauce, you know what! Tomato ketchup…oh yes, break apart your schnitzel n dip them in the thick tomato sauce n I don’t know what to say again. The schnitzel is just very good on its own, I love it hot n cold equally, and so will you, I love to carry these kinda food to your workplace or on a journey, so now I will take you to the recipe.
For The Recipe: You will need
Wow and its ready! Time to taste, first look at the crispy schnitzel and touch it to feel the texture, smell it n then take your first bite without any sauce, I can hear the sound of crunch as you munch on, crunchy heaven….so good isn’t it? Go on munching…Bon Appétit.