This is a recipe very close to my heart. At the age of 15, this was the first ‘Béchamel sauce’ recipe I attempted. While my mum can barely boil an egg *rolls eyes*, my mums’ sister from another mother, my masi (Jeroo), is an excellent cook. It was under her guidance that I learnt to make the basic Béchamel sauce. For this dish, the basic Béchamel sauce is elevated into a Béchamel Cream Sauce. An important point I need to stress on is, every element of this dish is to be cooked in butter. Please do not bastardize this gem by using alternate mediums.
1 kilo chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4-5 celery leaves (optional)
125 grams all purpose flour / maida
125 grams butter
1½ tablespoons butter (to sauté capsicums and mushrooms)
2 green bell peppers / capsicum, deseeded and diced
1 packet button mushrooms (200 grams), quartered
4½ cups chicken stock (240 ml = 1 cup)
200 grams cream (I used Amul)
Ingredients for Butter Egg-drop Rice:
1¼ cups long grain basmati rice, washed (do not soak)
6 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon butter
Salt to taste
- Boil the chicken pieces in 6 cups
of water with celery leaves and salt.
- When chicken is cooked, remove from stock and shred it.
- Discard celery leaves from the
stock. Strain the stock and reserve.
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a
non-stick pan. Sauté the diced green bell pepper, cook till just about done.
Do not overcook the bell peppers. Remove the bell peppers from the pan and
- Add an extra ½ tablespoon butter to
the butter remaining in the pan. Add mushrooms, sauté on high heat. Allow
the moisture released by the mushrooms to evaporate completely. Sauté for
half a minute more. Remove mushrooms into a plate and keep aside.
- Remove the cream from the carton, gently smoothen it with a fork or a small whisk. Keep aside.
- In a large, heavy bottomed vessel,
melt 125 grams butter.
- When the butter melts, lower the heat, add all-purpose
flour (maida) and sauté continuously till you get a nice toasty aroma (do not
burn or brown the flour).
- Shut off the flame and take the vessel off the stove.
- Gradually add 4½ cups hot chicken
broth to the flour, stirring all the time, with a whisk or a wooden spoon,
to ensure there are no lumps.
- Put the vessel back on the stove,
on very low heat; keep stirring, all the while until it thickens. Keep
stirring till it heats through and the desired consistency (thickness) is
- Add the smoothened cream and continue
stirring on low fire until the cream is well blended into the sauce.
- Check seasoning; add salt if needed.
- Add the shredded chicken, sautéed
mushrooms and green bell peppers; simmer for a minute, or two, and remove
- Serve with buttered egg-drop rice.
Method for Butter Egg-drop Rice:
- In a small wok melt 1 tablespoon
butter. Add eggs, salt to taste and scramble the eggs to a tight,
overcooked consistency. You will know the eggs have reached the desired
overcooked consistency when you see them go crumbly, like ‘egg-drops’.
- In a large thick bottomed vessel melt
6 tablespoons butter.
- Add the washed rice.
- Add 2½ cups water and cook on high flame until the level of the water reaches the level of the rice. At this point, lower heat, check for seasoning and add salt, if required.
- Close the vessel with a lid and continue cooking the rice, on very low flame, until done.
- After shutting off the stove, gently,
but quickly, fluff up the rice with a fork. Once again, cover with a lid
and keep the cooked rice aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Uncover the vessel after 15-20
minutes and spread out the rice in a large platter. Allow it to cool. Sprinkle
the scrambled eggs over the rice and gently, with a fork, mix the rice
with the egg-drops. Mix well but carefully so as to ensure the grains of
rice do not break (and that is why we allow the rice to cool a bit).
- Depending on how you plan to reheat the rice, empty the rice in a vessel (stove top heating) or into a microwave bowl.
- Serve with the Chicken a la King sauce.
- If you have flavourful chicken stock and shredded chicken (from that stock) in the fridge/freezer, feel free to use it for this recipe. You need not make the stock and shredded chicken from scratch. The main thing to remember is that both, the stock and the chicken, should be devoid of any spicy, peppery flavour.
- The Béchamel sauce should be thick (spoon-coating-consistency); not blobby and lumpy. If it’s too thick, feel free to add some extra stock to adjust the consistency.
- Do not stir the Béchamel sauce on high heat, unless you are an absolute pro at it because it is sure to turn lumpy. Always, patiently, cook it on very low heat.
- In case the Béchamel sauce goes lumpy, use an electric hand blender to smoothen it.
- Do not add extra salt until you blend in the cream because the stock used contains salt and the butter used will also contribute to the salt factor. Check seasoning after adding cream and add salt only if needed.
- While I hate overcooked scrambled eggs, this recipe demands it hence go all out and overcook them. 😉 If you aren’t a fan of eggs, please go with plain Butter Rice. That, too, works just as beautifully.
- Check the rice for salt only when the water in the rice reduces. Butter is salty which is why we do not add salt right at the start.
- This is a French dish, hence, always made in butter. According to the ‘Bawi’ in me, cooking it in any medium other than butter is sacrilege.
- In no Universe am I a professional photographer and food that is white is one of the most difficult to photographs (with regard to lighting). The exposure has to be adjusted or the light messes up the pics big time. I have edited the pics to the best of my ability to show you exactly what the dish looks like in terms of it’s white colour and silken texture. No filters have been used. I will not lie; I struggled a great deal to capture this delicious dish and I do feel I was unable to do it full justice.
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Some more photographs and videos...
|Butter, Salt and Eggs|