Perfecting a Recipe- Mujadara and Corn-Flake Crusted Chicken

Perfecting a Recipe- Mujadara and Corn-Flake Crusted Chicken

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Corn-Flake Crusted Chicken

Mujadara with Burghul


Mint Yogurt

Lentils, Chicken, SaladI’ve been making 2 dishes for as long as I can remember. Mujadara and Corn-Flake Crusted Chicken. If you’re anything like me, a good recipe can really elevate your favorite dishes. I’ve made both of these dozens of times in the past, following recipes that I quickly read online. Both have always come out good but never just right. So last night I decided to finally follow an actual recipe and let me tell you… SCRUMPTIOUS!

Last night’s menu may seem like an odd combination but it works out remarkably well for my family. My husband isn’t a huge fan of Mujadara and prefers some sort of meat dish on the menu. That’s why I added the chicken. It’s a family favorite and tends to go well with anything. Some chicken requires a heavy sauce or gravy to make it palatable but this recipe is perfect on its own.

I love Corn-Flake Crusted Chicken. It gives you that delicious fried chicken flavor without all the calories. For the longest time I’ve made this dish, but I usually just smashed the corn flakes as opposed to processing them in the food processor. It’s always been good, a real crowd pleaser, but this time I followed a better recipe from Ellie Kreiger and the taste was amazing. While I know this dish as Corn-Flake Crusted Chicken, Krieger, calls this dish Honey-Crisp Oven Fried Chicken. Same concept, just a different name. A slight variation in this recipe than the one that I am familiar with is she calls for brushing the chicken with honey before coating it with the corn-flake mixture. GENIUS! I didn’t think a quick swipe or two of honey would make a difference, but it sure did! I only wish I could have marinated the chicken in buttermilk for 2-4 hours as suggested, but I didn’t have the time. Instead I marinated them for about 20 minutes. If you’re in a pinch for time, don’t worry. The flavors were still great.

If you’re in the USA, buttermilk is easy to get your hands on. However, you’re not going to find buttermilk in China, so make it yourself by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar, then add enough milk to make it one cup. Give it a couple of stirs, wait 5 minutes and there you go… a usable substitute in a dish like this.

Corn-Flake Crusted ChickenHoney Crisp-Oven Fried Chicken

  • 4 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 4 cups corn flake cereal
  • ½ teaspoon paprika (I used smoked paprika)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I would say up this to 4 tablespoons to get a really nice flavor )
  1. Place the chicken in a bowl with the buttermilk and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour and up to four hours. (Again, I only marinated for 20 minutes and that was ok too)
  2. Place the corn flakes in a food processor and process until crumbs are formed (You should have about 1 cup of crumbs). Transfer to a shallow dish and mix in the paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne. (I omitted the cayenne pepper and used smoked paprika instead. I also added the spices to the food processor to really mix the flavors together)
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  4. Remove chicken from buttermilk, shaking off excess buttermilk from the chicken. Discard the remaining buttermilk. Brush each piece of chicken with honey, then dip in the corn flake crumbs, pressing hard so crumbs adhere to chicken. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray and place coated chicken on sheet. Spray each piece lightly on top with olive oil spray. Bake until chicken is crisp and meat cooked through, 45-50 minutes.

It came out great! My some gave it a 10 out of 10 and declared it as the best chicken he’s ever tasted. Sometime I think he sees himself as a judge on Chopped and has the right to critique my dishes to a fault.

While the chicken itself was moist and flavorful and really doesn’t need a dipping sauce, I just found Honey Mustard at Metro and served the chicken with that. (Most people would have just bought one, but no surprise I bought 3 bottles of it!)

Mujadara is probably a mystery to you. It’s a vegetarian Lebanese dish made with lentils, rice or burghul, and onions. That’s it. It’s a really simple dish. In fact, our babysitter in Germany would eat a whole pot of this in one sitting. We got home from a night out once and a whole tupperware of lentils was finished. From that point on I always made her an extra pot to take home with her.

I adapted the recipe, Mujaddara with Burghul from Maureen Abood’s newest cookbook, Rose Water and Orange Blossom. I’ve been a long time follower of Maureen Abood’s blog and was giddy when I found out that she published a cookbook. This is the sort of book that I will pass on to my daughters one day. Whenever I ask my mom or mother-in-law how to make one of their tasty dishes the recipe usually ends up like this:

Me: Mom, how do you make Ma’moul (a date stuffed cookie)

Mom: You put a cup of flour and a spoon of rose water….

Me: Wait! Like how much exactly? A cup or more than one cup.

Mom: You know that glass cup I have? Just fill up one like that.

Me: Mom, I don’t have that exact glass cup. So is it 8 oz? How much?

Mom: It’s a cup! Just put in a cup!

(Raise your hand if you can relate!)

rwob_cookbookIt usually ends with me putting in the wrong amount and the recipe being off. I’ve bought Lebanese cookbooks in the past that were terrible (steer clear of anything by Lebanese Chef Ramsay) for this exact reason. The ingredient amounts were always off. Well Maureen Abood has done an excellent job quantifying classic Lebanese dishes which are still familiar in the homes of second, third, even fourth-generation Lebanese Americans. This dish goes perfect with a simple salad (lemon juice, olive oil, salt dressing) and a side of mint yogurt. I personally love the taste of mint! So I stirred in a tablespoon of mint and sprinkled a bit more on top)

Mujadara with Rice or Burghul (from Rose Water and Orange Blossom)

  • 1 cup small brown or green large lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 4 cups diced yellow onion (½-inch)
  • 1 cup long grain rice OR coarse cracked wheat (#3 grade) (I usually use rice, but I decided to make a change and I used burghul- aka cracked wheat)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of cumin (that’s my addition. Cumin reduces flatulence, an embarrassing side effect of lentils)

For fried onion garnish (optional):

  • 1 large onion cut in very thin rings
  • Canola oil for frying
  1. Place lentils in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are par-cooked, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Be careful not to overcook here; the idea is to par-cook the lentils. (I was too busy dealing with 4th grade drama and I slightly overcooked the lentils at this point, causing the dish to be a tad mushy at the end.)
  2. In a large, heavy sauté or sauce pan (with a lid), heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt as the onions cook.
  3. IMG_7900Take the onions off the heat and add 2 cups of water. Place back on the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. 
  4. Add the rice or burghul and par-cooked lentils (and their liquid) to the onion mixture. (This is new to me. I used to saute the onions and put them on the side for garnish. Perhaps this explains why my Mujadara was never this awesome) Cover and bring to a boil. Sprinkle with a pinch of cumin, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice and lentils are cooked through. The texture of the rice and lentils is somewhat al dente. Take care not to overcook or the mixture will become mushy. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature drizzled with olive oil.
  5. For fried onion garnish, heat canola oil over high heat in a small saucepan (the small saucepan reduces the amount of oil needed for depth). When a small piece of onion dropped into the oil floats to the top and bubbles vigorously, the oil is ready. Fry the onion rings in batches until golden brown, reducing heat as needed to prevent burning. Remove and drain on paper towel. Place the onions on top of the mujadara on a serving platter or individual plates.

I love recipes that I can get the ingredients for regardless of where I live. That’s the beauty of most Lebanese dishes. They rely on simple, fresh ingredients. You’ll see a lot more recipes on blog featuring Lebanese dishes for this reason.


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