My friend Rachael and I were invited to take part in a cooking class by Chef Ken Maina which we gladly accepted.
Ken Maina is a trained chef with over ten years experience. He has worked both locally and abroad. He has worked for The Tribe Hotel, The British Army, the airport at Andy Forwarders as a corporate chef among others.
Currently he is in full time consulting and he also instructs cooking classes. Lemon grass cooking class is his initiative. He also has an app and sms portal for recipes.
For our lesson, we made chicken fricasse with sweet soy concasse and parsley potatoes. I know right! All fancy I tell you.
We started with the potatoes.
Once peeled, we cut the potatoes, into small cubes. Then we washed them.
Next, cooking the potatoes. In a sufuria with cold water, season with salt and add your potatoes. Let them cook for about fifteen minutes.
Next, we prepped the chicken.
We used the condiments below for the seasoning.
At about the same time the potatoes were done. We drained the water and shocked it with some cold water.
For the concasse, sounds foreign, well it’s derived from a French word, concasser which means to grind or crush. Since we made a tomato concasse it’s safe to say the tomatoes were crushed.
We started by prepping the onions and some garlic. Ken showed us those fancy knife handling techniques, needless to say we’ll need more practice to be as proficient as he is.
For the chicken fricasee, another foreign term. Again borrowed from a French word, is a method of cooking where the piece of meat is sauteed, then braised and serve with its sauce – Wikipedia.
In a pan with oil, we sauteed the chicken. Point to note, the oil had to be smoky before putting in the chicken.
Saute on both sides. We later put them in the oven for the chicken to cook through.
Is this where I mention that Rachael tasted a small piece of chicken? I guess not 🙂
Making the concasse was pretty easy and quick.
Heat some olive oil in a sauce pan and cook the onion and garlic.
Once cooked, in goes the tomato paste. As taught, always let the tomato paste cook.
Season with salt and dried oregano.
This sauce can also work as a base for pizza toppings when making pizza.
Add the crushed tomatoes.
Let the sauce cook down.
Due to our eagerness, Rachael and I hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast so you can imagine how hungry we were. To make matters even worse, another student was learning how to make lasagna, the sight of stringy cheese and all the meaty goodness was killing us.
Anyway, our meal was almost ready,as the chicken was baking and the sauce was simmering, we finalised on the potatoes.
Finely chop some parsley, we used the flat leafed parsley.
Melt butter in a pan.
The potatoes and the chopped parsley.
Now the tossing in the butter, that also required some skilled which again we are yet to acquire, 😀 Ken said it was all in the wrist. As you can see from the photo my wrist technique is a bit wanting.
The pans also went in the oven.
Back to the sauce, all thick and saucy. We tasted for seasoning and adjusted accordingly.
Clearly the art of plating is something I am yet to learn, I can blame my lack of it to the fact that I’m always anxious to eat so I never care much for it. However, these days I try to make an effort.
Dip the chicken in the concasse and serve.
Plating done by Ken.
Doesn’t that look pretty?
After the photo ops, we sat down and cleared the plates. A perfect reward for our hard work.
To learn to make this and many other exciting dishes you can reach Ken on 0724 374 629.