In my head weekends are all about eating Non-vegetarian food, especially on Sundays. I don’t know why but Sunday is the day when I am not too keen on vegetarian food; the day feels oddly incomplete without some meaty fare added to the mix.
It was my dad’s job to cook a non-vegetarian dish on Sundays. My mother was banished from the kitchen, and we would take over the tiny space, hovering around my father like small minions ready to do whatever to please him. The morning ritual included Papa and me going to the local butcher to buy meat for the shenanigans that we had to indulge in the afternoon. My brother clearly thought it was very uncool to go to the butchers and my mother felt it was an unladylike behavior and constantly admonished me for being such an unruly girl.
Now we all know that watching a Butcher do his job is not for the faint-hearted. But I had to show my father that his girl was very brave. So I would stand there in the midst of all the carnage and the smell, squirming in my shoes pretending to be unyielding and courageous. It made me feel very self-important being a part of this ritual with my dad, something we did together. We would come home and pretend that we were on TV, my father the chef and me and my brother the little helpers. We would arrange everything in small saucers and my brother pretended to be the camera operator, and I would be the host interviewing my father who indulged us much to my mother’s chagrin because of all the washing up she would have to do later.
Over the years I moved away from my home and can go to a butcher and buy any kind of meat without squirming, my father stopped cooking, and my brother lost all interest in becoming a cameraman, but the memories of that small kitchen have stayed etched in the recesses of my brain forever. And even now on a Sunday, when I feel the need to cook something from my childhood, something that brings back memories of weekends spent in the comforting home of my parents, I make this Chicken curry. Usually, when I make the curry, I make extra gravy which I freeze in zip-lock bags which always comes handy every time I want to revisit the past.
Recipe (Cooking time 60 minutes, serves 4)
For the Chicken
500 gms Chicken cut into pieces
One cup plain Yogurt
One tsp Turmeric powder
One tsp Garam masala powder
One tsp Red chili powder
Wash the chicken and pat dry, Marinate, the Chicken in the Yogurt and the spices and leave for at least 15 minutes. You can keep the marinated Chicken in a ziplock bag in the fridge for up to two days. Before cooking it ensure that the Chicken is at room temperature of the Yogurt will split.
For the Gravy (As mentioned earlier you can make this gravy and freeze it for up to two months, just increase the quantities of the ingredients mentioned below)
One large onion roughly chopped
Two medium sized Tomatoes blanched in hot water and roughly chopped
One tsp fresh Ginger paste
Two cloves of Garlic
Two Green chilies roughly chopped
Two green Cardamoms
1 Cinnamon stick
2 Bay leaves
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
One tsp Cumin seeds
Freshly chopped Coriander
One tsp Turmeric powder
One tsp red Chilli powder
One tsp Coriander powder
Two Potatoes cut into medium pieces
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a pan and add the Cumin seeds, Cinnamon stick, Bay leaves, Cardamons and Green chilies.
Add the Ginger and Garlic, chopped Onions and cover the pan cooking the onions over a medium flame. The Onions will cook in the steam and caramelize.
After 10 minutes add the Tomatoes and cook till they have turned mushy. Turn off the heat and let them cool.
Grind the Onion & Tomato gravy to a smooth paste. You can at this stage freeze the paste if you want to use later.
For the Curry
In the same pan add the Onion & Tomato paste, cover and cook on a low flame for 5 – 10 minutes. It is important to cover the pan as the gravy would splutter everywhere.
Add the Turmeric powder, Salt, Coriander Powder and Red Chili powder and mix well.
Add the marinated Chicken and Potatoes and mix well, cook on a slow flame, stirring at regular intervals. Add a cup of warm water if you want the gravy to be not too thick.
Cook till the Potatoes and Chicken are done, serve hot with freshly chopped Coriander.
This is one Chicken dish that you will be very proud of