To all my lovely readers, thanks for being patient and I acknowledge that I have been missing in action for two weeks. So this week we brought you our family special chicken curry, the regular one, without any frills attached, very simple, basic and yet heart warming chicken curry.
Of late I was busy with the interior of my new home. It is more of renovating and redesigning and accompanying the new things in our house. Most of the home interior designer I have come acrossed showcases a picture perfect, clutter free interiors that looks more like a high-end design studio rather than home. It lacks the warmth, coziness of a home and I don’t mind an organized clutter in a corner of the house. Thankfully, everything is taking its shape slowly but in the midst of all these stress and interior works, I had some health difficulties that made it hard for me to get into the creative groove or try some new dishes in my cluttered kitchen. Hope to finish this soon by the end of this year.
It is two months since we have been moved to India, and life is still not yet settled. Everyday I crib about the poorly stocked local grocery stores, sometimes had to travel an hour to get a packet of quality cheese or fresh cream which is quiet discouraging and lost my appetite for making something new dish. Planning ahead is not so easy every time. Good news is that we get some quality fresh meat here, without any preservatives or any other additives and last Sunday we bought a whole chicken, dressed and tailor-made for the recipe.
I grew up on country chicken or fowl, not the white poultry one. Black, brown, red or spotted, beautiful country fowl, fed on rice or corn and every weekend we used to bought one for a family of three for the entire week from the farmers market. These country fowl were usually sold by the local tribal people of the district in weekend haat or bazaar along with some wild dates, corn and other fruits. We were accustomed to dress the chicken at home, so only good pieces makes their way to the curry (sans any gizzards).
Since the country fowl or chicken was always a fresh-cut, so very few spices goes into the curry to retain the flavor of meat. Few whole spices such as cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, one or two bay leaves, freshly pounded red chillies and few pinch of turmeric and a cumin is just right to heighten the flavour along with onions, garlic and ginger. In those days, LPG or cooking gas was not readily available, and these country fowl usually takes long hours of cooking, so my mom used to mix all the spices, condiments and chicken in a big dekchi and then it was left to cook on charcoal for couple of hours. Slow cooking makes the meat tender, helps to release the juices, and spices get to mingle with each other more freely. No water was added, trick was to retain the moisture by putting a heavy lid on the dekchi so as to trap the steam in the dekchi itself. Similar to dum style cooking, and this ensure a very tender pieces of chicken, soaked in full flavor of spices.
- Chicken : 1 kg (cut into medium size pieces)
- Potatoes : 2 big cut into quarters
- Onion : 1 big grated or coarse paste
- Garlic : 1 pod grated, minced or paste
- Ginger paste : 1 tbsp (freshly pounded)
- Turmeric : 1 tsp
- Cumin powder: 1 tbsp
- Red chill paste : 1 tbsp use kashmiri chillies
- Cinnamon : 1 stick
- Cloves : 7-8
- Cardamom : 10 green
- Bay leaves : 1 or 2
- Water (hot) : 1 cup +
- Mustard oil : 2- 3 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
- Wash and clean the chicken.
- Pound half stick of cinnamon, 5 cloves and 7 cardamom to make fresh garam masala powder.
- Wash and cut the potatoes in big quarters, rub turmeric and salt over it.
- Rub the chicken with mustard oil, salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder, red chilli paste, garam masala powder and keep it for 15 minutes.
- In a dekchi or kadhai, heat the mustard oil to its smoking point and fry the potatoes till golden, take off from the heat and keep aside.
- Add some more oil if requires or in the same oil, add the remaining cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and bay leaves.
- Once the spices starts spluttering, add the onion paste and fry it.
- Add ginger and garlic paste too, with a pinch of salt and sugar.
- Next add the spice rubbed chicken into it. Turn it once till the rawness disappear.
- Add the potatoes back into the pan.
- Now lower the heat, put a heavy lid over the dekchi or pan and let it cook for 10 minutes.
- Turn once to check whether it is sticking to the bottom or not.
- If the meat releases enough juices, then add half cup of water.
- Else add one cup hot water, stir it again and finish the cooking on low heat till done.
- Serve it hot with plain rice.
Serve it with just plain rice and it makes a hearty meal for the family.
Enjoy this, will be back soon