Virtually Yours

My last virtual cooking class was so much fun!

The company that hired me was kind enough to forward the link to the YouTube video, so I thought I’d share the recipes and the class with you. OK, I agree that the food isn’t my usual colorful fare, but it’s a really delicious meal with very carefully developed recipes that concentrate on delivering BIG FLAVOR!

Also, I know these recipes look long and complicated, but they’re really not. If you read the recipes, you’ll see that there are similar ingredients, which means they can be measured out simultaneously.

Try the recipe and let me know what you think. I’ve been told by many of the class participants that the recipe is a keeper, which is such a gigantic compliment! Some folks are going to make this for their next gathering, and the advice I gave them was to add a little color by garnishing the dish with thinly sliced Fresno peppers or red bell peppers if they didn’t want added heat.

Watch me in action here:

And here are the recipes:

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Yogurt and Indian Spices, Chaat Onions, & Palak Paneer

A Virtual Cooking Class

This is my take on easy to prepare, Indian-style chicken thighs. The recipe packs a punch of spicy, deep, intense flavors. Serve with Chaat Onions and Palak Paneer (recipes follow), and fragrant Basmati rice, if desired.  

Suggested wine pairing: A medium-dry Riesling, Pinot Grigio, A fruity Rosé, or a Pinot Noir. Beer is another great option.

Serves 2 to 4

  • 2 to 2-1/4 lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 4)
  • 1 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. Chinese five-spice
  • 1 tsp. Madras curry
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, more to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. yogurt
  • 5 Tbs. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. ghee or unsalted butter
  • ½ large sweet onion, sliced into very thin rings (reserve the remaining for the Palak Paneer)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. chaat masala, more to taste
  • Thinly sliced mini red bell pepper rings for garnish, (optional)

For the chicken thighs

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400°F.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. With your fingers, loosen the skin of the chicken on all sides without removing it. Put the chicken in a large foil-lined oven-proof baking dish (13 x 9 x 2 Pyrex or similar) and set aside.

Add the peanut oil to a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garam masala, cumin, Chinese five-spice, curry, and cayenne to the skillet, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl with a silicone spatula (set the skillet aside and do not wash, we’ll use it again for the Palak Paneer) and let the mixture cool. Add 2 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbs. of the cilantro to the bowl and mix until combined into a paste. With your fingers, rub half of the paste under the chicken skin and on the bottom of the chicken (bone side).

In the bowl with the remaining spice paste, add the yogurt, 2 Tbs. of the lime juice, and ginger, and mix until combined. Evenly spread half the yogurt-lime mixture under the skin of each thigh. Evenly spread the remaining mixture on top of the skin and on the bottom of each thigh. Break 1 tsp. of the ghee into 4 pieces and put one piece under the skin of each thigh. Flip the thighs, divide the remaining 1 tsp. ghee into 4 pieces and put one piece on top of each thigh.

Roast (skin side down) in the baking dish for 20 minutes. Flip the chicken (so that it’s skin side up) and continue to roast until the skin is dark golden brown and beginning to crisp, an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken registers 165°F on a digital thermometer. Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest uncovered while you prepare the Chaat Onions and Palak Paneer.

For the chaat onions

Put the onion rings into a medium bowl. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. lime juice and chaat masala. Mix with your fingers until well combined. Serve over the chicken, spinach, and rice. Garnish with the remaining 1 Tbs. cilantro and the red pepper rings, if desired, and serve.

Palak Paneer (Spinach with Indian Cheese)

A delicious side, this flavorful Indian-inspired spinach-cheese dish is my take on the traditional pureed version. If you like, you can serve this over Basmati rice. If you have leftovers, serve with a sunny-side-up egg on top for another memorable meal.

Serves 2 to 4

  • 1-10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained in a mesh strainer
  • 2 Tbs. ghee or unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup diced paneer (about 3-1/2 oz., cut into ½-inch dice)
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. garam masala
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ large sweet onion, finely chopped (use remaining onion from chicken thigh recipe)
  • 1 Tbs. grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Tbs. heavy cream, more to taste
  • 1 cup cooked Basmati rice (optional)

Put the spinach on a work surface and coarsely chop. Set aside.

Put 1 Tbs. of the ghee in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until it melts and shimmers. Add the paneer and cook, stirring frequently until light golden on 2 sides, about 3 minutes (lower heat if ghee begins to splatter too much). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, salt generously, and set aside. Remove and discard any paneer crumbs from the skillet, leaving the ghee behind.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. ghee to the skillet on medium heat until it melts and shimmers. Add the cumin, garam masala, and coriander, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring until the ingredients in the skillet are well combined and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the paneer back to the skillet with the spinach, ½ tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring frequently until warmed through and well combined, about 2 minutes.

Lower the heat to low, add the heavy cream, stirring often, until warmed through and combined with the ingredients in the skillet. Add more cream to reach desired consistency. Remove from the heat, adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the rice, if desired.

Remember, I’m always here to answer any questions, especially about ingredients that you might be unfamiliar with.

-Chef Diana

One thought on “Virtually Yours

  1. How inspiring! I love it – watching so many food and cooking videos on YouTube!


    Best of luck,  


    Sent: Monday, March 08, 2021 at 6:04 PM

    Liked by 1 person

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