Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Snitel din piept de pui

"Chicken breast schnitzel"

Much of the north-west of Romania, Transylvania in particular, came under the influence of the Austro-Hungarian empire before its unification with the rest of Romania and as a result there are many Central-European culinary influences in Romanian cuisine. One of the most evident of these is the schnitzel, which can be found on the menu of almost any local restaurant. On the whole it's done very well and only ocassionally have I been faced with a slightly soggy and floppy reheated schnitzel. At its best it is crispy on the outside, succulent in the middle, and accompanied by roast potatoes, shredded cabbage and a squeeze of lemon. It's simple to cook but there are a few things to be aware of. Here are the basic instructions:

Time: About half an hour
Servings: For two people
Chicken breasts, without skin
Flour (one cup)
Egg, beaten (one for each pair of breasts)
Pesmet/breadcrumbs (one cup for two schnitzel)
Oil for frying (sunflower or olive oil)

1. Place the chicken breast between two sheets of clingfilm, or alternatively (as I hate faffing around with clingfilm, which seems to constantly wrap itself up into an inextricable ball the moment I try to use it) put the breast into a large freezer beg. Beat it with a meat mallet, rolling pin, empty wine bottle, or your head until it is about 5mm thin all over, being careful not to bash holes in it.
2. Pass the breast through a dish of flour and shake off the excess. The flour helps the egg in the next step to adhere.
3. Pass the floured breast through the beaten egg (to which you can also add a few splashes of milk, if you like).
4. Then pass it through the breadcrumbs making sure it's well coated and put it into the frying pan, which has about a centimetre of oil in it pre-heated to a medium-hot temperature.
5. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, flip, cook the other side and serve with potatoes of your choosing, a salad, and a wedge of lemon.

The breadcrumbs can be homemade, but if you're reading this in Romania and can't be bothered to make your own breadcrumbs then look out for 'pesmet' (very fine breadcrumbs) in your local store. It's usually kept near the flour.

The temperature of the oil is of the utmost importance. If it's too hot, then you outside will be burnt before the chicken is cooked through. If it is too cool, then the breadcrumbs will absorb too much oil and you'll end up with a horrible greasy schnitzel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have tried the chicken diah - delicious! Will try Peasant Potatoes next.