You can't talk about dessert in Turkey without mentioning a pudding called 'chicken breast,' or 'tavuk göğüsü' (tah-VOOK' go-OOZ-oo'). "Chicken breast" is a fascinating dessert because it actually contains fine shreds of white meat chicken!
Believe it or not, you can't detect even the slightest trace of chicken flavor. All you taste is a sweet, milky, full-bodied pudding with a touch of cinnamon.
The consistency of authentic 'chicken breast' is much stiffer than pudding. A rectangular strip of the pudding is scraped from the bottom of a shallow pan and placed on the plate in a rolled shape.
It's usually cut rather than spooned. 'Chicken breast' is served not only as a dessert but for afternoon teatime along with coffee or tea.
There are several chain restaurants that specialize in 'chicken breast' and other milk desserts where loyal patrons flock every day at teatime enjoy a delicious, nutritious plate of 'chicken breast' with their Turkish coffee or tea.
This dessert is also a favorite of moms with small children. Can you think of a better way to get your child to eat their meat?
'Chicken breast' is very high in protein. You can also prepare it with skim milk and artificial sweetener to give you an ideal low-calorie, low-fat dessert.
It's said that the key to making perfect 'chicken breast' pudding is to use breast meat that's very fresh. If you can get freshly cut chicken from a butcher shop, it's much better than packaged chicken that's been on the shelf for a few days.
The second important step is to wash the meat over and over again in cold water until all traces of chicken odor are gone. It may seem like a lot of effort, but the result is worth it.
Go ahead. Step out of your comfort zone and try this unique and authentic Turkish dessert. You'll be happy you did.
- ½ fresh chicken breast
- 38 ounces (1 liter) whole milk
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup white rice flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups water
- Start the day before you want to eat the pudding. First, place the chicken in a saucepan with enough water to cover it. Bring it to a boil and cook the chicken well.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and put it in a bowl. Pull the meat apart with your fingers into fine strips. Continue to shred the chicken as finely as you can. You can use the tines of a fork to help. This should be easy if the chicken is cooked well.
- Put the shredded chicken into a fine wire strainer and run it under cold water for several minutes. Rub the chicken shreds against the strainer while you rinse it using your hand or a wooden spoon.
- Next, prepare a bowl of cold water. Place the strainer over it and soak the shredded chicken for about 20 minutes. Drain it in the strainer and repeat this process four or five times.
- For the sixth time, place the strainer in the bowl of cold water and put the whole thing in the refrigerator and leave it overnight. The next morning, drain it, rinse it a few more times under running cold water, then drain the shredded chicken completely, squeeze out the extra water and set it aside.
- Put the milk in a large saucepan and boil it for several minutes. Add the shredded chicken to the milk and blend it with a hand blender two or three times until very smooth. Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook it for about 20 minutes more, stirring it constantly.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, rice flour and about two cups of water until smooth. Remove the milk from the heat. Using your whisk, drizzle the starch in a very fine stream into the milk as you whisk it.
- Once all the starch is whisked in, return the pan again to the heat and bring it to scalding temperature while stirring constantly. Cook it in this manner for about five minutes more until it begins to thicken.
- Lastly, stir in the sugar and vanilla and cook it 15 minutes more. The pudding should become so thick that you can no longer stir it. Use the back of your wooden spoon to "slap" the surface to keep it moving as it cooks.
- Wet the bottom and sides of a shallow glass tray. A rectangular oven casserole pan works well. Pour the pudding into the wet tray and let it cool down to room temperature. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about six hours.
- You can cut your pudding or scoop it out with a large spoon. Sprinkle some cinnamon on each portion before serving.