Rao’s famous lemon chicken

Pollo al limone is a classic dish I grew up with.Sadly,my mom’s recipe was lost during a storm that flooded our basement when we had just ,moved into our home.Luckily,years later,I came across this amazing recipe from the famous Rao’s restaurant in east harlen NY,it is a small,whole in the wall restaurant,where you have to wait a life time for a reservation,sadly never had the luck. This recipe is so simple to prepare,yet so delicious.Love it served with a simple spinach and tomato salad,some classic roasted potatoes and,ofcourse,crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Serves 6

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

2  2  1/2 to 3 pound broiling chickens,halved

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Lemon sauce

To attain maxium heat,preheat broiler for at least 15 minutes before using.

Broil chicken halves,turning once,for about 30 minutes or until skin is golden brown and juices run clear when bird is pierced with fork.

remove chicken from broiler,leaving broiler on.Using a very sharp knife,cut each half into about 6 pieces(leg,thigh,wing,3 small breast pieces).

Place chicken on a baking sheet with sides,of a size that can fit into the broiler.Pour Lemon sauce over the chicken and toss to coat well.

Return to broiler and broil for 3 minutes.Turn each piece and broil for an additional minute.

Remove from broiler and portion each chicken onto each of 6 warm serving plates.

Pour sauce into heavy saucepan.Stir in parsley and place over high heat for 1 minute. Pour an equal amount of sauce over each chicken and serve with lots of crusty bread to absorb the sauce.

LEMON SAUCE2 cups lemon juice (Please use freshly squeezed,it really makes a difference)

1 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1  1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp dried oregano ( I use fresh Greek oregano in the summer,about 1 T)

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients together and whisk .Cover and refigerate until ready to use.Whisk vigorously before using.


“Dali Chicken”

My sons are huge fans of the popular chain PF CHANG. We do not have one close enough to visit and eat there with the frequency they would enjoy,especially to eat their favorite Dali Chicken.Today I tried to replicate the dish and,looks like its as close as its going to get!!! there are a few renditions on the internet,but this,by far comes the closest,at least that’s what the family says!!

Dali Chicken Clone

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1  lb chicken breast,thinly sliced

1 yukon gold potato,thinly sliced

2 scallions, sliced

6 to 8 dried chili pods

1 tsp ground, toasted cumin

2 tablespoons chicken stock

2 tablespoons Oyster sauce

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 tsp grated ginger and garlic

2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons chili garlic paste ( Sambal Oelek)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil for stir frying

Black sesame seeds for ganish (optional)

Mix stock,garlic,ginger,oyster sauce, Sherry, vinegar, Soy sauce and chili garlic paste in a bowl and combine.Set aside.

Heat a wok or saute pan and add oil. Add potatoes and stir fry until  almost cooked. Push aside in pan and add dried chilies. Cook until pods darken slightly .

Add chicken and bring potatoes back into center of pan to stir fry with chicken. Continue to fry on medium high heat. Add in cumin and continue to stir fry until chicken turns opaque and cooked.

Stir in the reserved sauce and stir fry until the sauce fully coats the chicken and potato.

Stir in the scallions or leeks. Off heat.

Serve sprinkle with black sesame seeds (optional)

Thai Crying Tiger Chicken

Today was our first really warm rainfree day of the season,so, of course, we had to grill . I had a super busy day and needed something with big impact and little effort,this was perfect. The Thais love their red-hot chilis,so, naturally the milder the sweeter the title. The hotter the sauce you prepare the more the tiger “roars”. So weeping tiger to crying tiger to howling tiger .My family enjoys medium heat ,so this is perfect. I serve this along with a fragrant coconut jasmine rice and some simple green beans  and cucumber…perfect for a summer day !

Serves 4

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

1  1/2 lbs skinless boneless chicken filets

1/4 cup thin soy sauce

1 tablespoon Fish sauce

1/4 tsp white pepper powder

6 Kaffir lime leaves,shredded

Wash and dry the chicken filets. Place in a non reactive container and pour on the rest of the ingredients. Cover and allow to marinade for at least 1 hour . Grill over charcoal till done.

Dipping sauce

4 cloves garlic,grated

2 tablespoons or more of  chili paste or 15 red Thai chilis , pounded to a paste

Juice of 1 lime

1/8 cup fish sauce

1 to 2 tablespoons palm sugar

1/2  teaspoon ground coriander seed

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Combine and serve alongside grilled chicken

Indian Chinese Chilli chicken

As the title indicates this chicken can be spicy or very spicy . it contains both fresh green serrano chillis and chilli sauce , so the heat can be varied . it also contains peppers and onions making it ideal to serve with rice as a simple meal or with soup and noodles for a more substantial dinner . Sometimes I like to embellish the dish with cashews or peanuts , however that is not traditional . This dish can be served “dry ” , more like an appetizer with no rice or with “gravy ” , the only difference in the recipe is the addition of more or less chicken stock . Do try it , it is a family favorite .

Serves 4

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

1 lb boneless chicken breast ,sliced into fingers

1 to 2 tbs cornstarch

a pinch salt

1/2 tsp crushed white pepper

1 Tbs dark soy sauce

1 Tbs sherry

1 egg ,beaten.

Oil for deep frying

Combine all ingredients and allow chicken to marinate while oil heats for deep frying .

When oil is hot deep fry chicken in batches just until golden but not over cooked . Drain and set aside while you prepare the sauce.


1 Tbs oil

8 to 10 cloves garlic , minced

2 to 4 sliced serrano chillis

1 large red onion cubed

1 large red bell pepper , cored and cubed

1 tbs dark soy sauce

1 to 2 tbs red chilli sauce

1/2  to 1  1/2 cups chicken sauce

1 tsp cornstarch blended with 1 tbs water to make a slurry

1 tsp vinegar

Heat oil in skillet . Add garlic and stir for a few seconds . Add in green chillis and stirfry afew seconds . Add in onion and stir , add in bell pepper and stir for 30 seconds .

Add in soy sauce and chilli sauce , stir for 20 seconds .pour in chicken stock . Note use between 1/2 cup to 1  1/2 cups depending on how much sauce you want to end up with . Allow to come to the boil . Stir in the cornstarch slurry , stirring continuously .

Add in the fried chicken and stir to coat the chicken with the sauce . Sprinkle in a pinch of salt . Stir . Off heat and stir in the vinegar .

Serve immediately with a bowl of steamed rice.

Chicken Manchurian

Chicken Manchurian is a fusion Indian Chinese dish . There is a large population of Chinese in the city of calcutta that made Chinese cusine popular in india . however , to adapt to the cusine and ingredients available Indian Chinese cooking was born . The sauce is adaptable to both poultry and seafood .

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 lb boneless , skinless chicken , cut into small dice

1 egg beaten

1/4  cup cornstarch for marinade

2 tbs cornstarch mixed with 1 cup water for sauce

salt and white pepper , to taste

1 large onion , sliced

2 tbs grated garlic

1 tbs grated ginger

1 red bell pepper , seeded and sliced

3 fresh red or green chilis ( Serrano or Jalapeno are good )

3 scallions , finely chopped

2 cups chicken stock

2 tbs vinegar

2 tbs vegetable oil

Oil for deep frying chicken

Combine egg , cornstarch , 1 tbs soy sauce and salt and pepper with the chicken . Allow to marinate for  at least 30 minutes .

Heat oil in deep fryer and deep fry chicken , spooning in 1 tbs chicken in the deepfryer . Fry till golden and all the chicken is cooked.Remove and allow to drain on absorbant paper towel .

Heat fresh oil in a wok or pan , add chopped ginger and garlic , stir fry briefly.

Add onion and green chilis and fry 1 more minute . stir in the soy sauce, stock and salt. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the cornstarch slurry , stirring all the time , until sauce starts to thicken.

Add the fried pieces of chicken and the bell pepper . Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until heated through .

Stir in the vinegar and garnish with scallions . Serve

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce

If there is one Italian chicken dish my family adores , its this one . It is versatile and satisfying in any season . During the summer I serve it with a medly of fresh seasonal vegetables and in the winter , I use different herbs and perhaps add some sun dried tomatoes and rosemary . Also I like to saute the chicken with salt , pepper , a little fresh rosemary and a little balsamic vinegar , I feels it lends a depth to the chicken . Whatever happens , though , we almost always serve this luscious chicken over spinach linguini ( delverde is our family favorite).

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Serves 4 to 6

1  1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast , cut crosswise into 3 pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbs olive oil

5 tbs butter , divided

3/4 cup chopped onion ( I use shallots )

1 lb cremini mushrooms , sliced

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes , sliced ( optional )

2 tbs minced garlic

1 cup dry Marsala wine

1 cup ( 8 oz ) marcarpone chees

2 tbs Dijon Mustard

2 tbs chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary ( optional )

1 tbs balsamic vinegar ( optional )

pinch red pepper flakes ( optional)

12 oz dried fettucini

Sprinkle chicken with salt , pepper , rosemary and balsamic ( if using ). Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat . Add the chicken and cook just until brown , about 4 minutes per side . transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly .

While the chicken cools , melt 2 tbs of butterto the same skillet over medium high heat , then add onion or shallots and saute until tender about 2 minutes . Add mushrooms and garlic and saute until mushrooms are tender and juices evaporate , about 12 minutes . Add wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes . Stir in the Marscarpone and mustard. Add red pepper flakes ( if using ).

Cut the chicken breasts crosswise into 1/3 inch thick slices . Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet . Simmer , uncovered , over medium low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly , about 2 minutes . Stir in the chopped parsley . Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper .

Meanwhile , bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccini and cook until al dente . Toss the fettuccini with 3 tbs of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper . Swirl the pasta onto serving plates . Spoon the chicken mixture over top . Garnish , serve .

Black pepper chicken tikka

No matter the weather my family just loves to grill , with trhat in mind I set out to marinate this black pepper infused chicken , marinated in a variety of spices and yoghurt , skewered and grilled . As the rain would not let up we decided to heat our cast iron grill pan in the oven to 350*F , this takes about 20 minutes to come to temperature . The result? perfectly grilled , succulently moist chicken . A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a little bit of fresh mint chutney finishes off the dish.

Serves 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 lb boneless chicken , cut into 1  1/2 inch cubes

12 -15 black peppercorns , roasted and coarsely powdered

1 inch ginger

6 -8 garlic cloves

2 -3 green chilles

4 tbs vegetable or olive oil to baste

4 medium onions , sliced

1 cup thickened yoghurt ( I use greek lowfat yoghurt)

3 tbs heavy cream

1 tbs cornflour

1 egg white

1/2 tsp garam masala powder


1/4 tsp crushed cardamons

Grind ginger , garlic and green chillis to a fine paste . Heat 4 tbs oil in a wok and saute onions till brown . Cool and grind to a paste .

In a large bowl combine browned onion paste , yoghurt , cream , cornflour , egg white , ginger garlic green chi;;i paste, garam masala powder , crushed black peppercorns , salt and cardamon powder.

Add chicken and refridgerate to marinate at least 1 hour .

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Skewer the chicken on to bamboo skewers . Baste with oil and roast chicken for about 15 minutes .

Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon and green chutney.