Namaskaaram from God’s own Country this time. Just as we saw that Winter was about to show her nastiest face in Wien, we caught the next flight and made the quickest escape to the land of the (atrocious amounts of) sun, sand and sea; Trivandrum.
As much as I love my life in Vienna, there are certain cockles of my heart which refuse to be warmed by anything but the sights, sounds and smells of my hometown. And as much as we try to deny it, I am positive that this holds true for all of us. In spite of my incessant complaints of the sun all set to burn every inch of skin he sees, or the mutant mosquitos, or about having to reexamine my outfits each time I step out of my home, lest the ‘aunties’ in the neighbourhood be scandalized, or even about the wondrously slow internet in this city, I have always known from the time I left home at 17, that I need my timely dosage of mallu-land to keep me rejuvenated.
This city somehow makes me realize that even the simplest of things can make me happy; and by that I do not in anyway mean that life is problem free. We all have our share of woes, be it in terms of work or finance or staying away from the ones we love the most or even the bad skin and hair days for that matter. Haha.
What I do mean to say is, on the days I spend with my goofball sister, at my doorstep at home, watching the day draw to a close, the silhouettes of the birds flying back to their nests, the twinkle of the lights on the verandahs of all the homes nearby, the daily wage earners walking back home in their thin, airy cotton shirts with the lungis folded up to their knees, carrying bags of what I always assume is rice and some fresh catch of fish for the night, makes me happy. As the twilight sets in, the breeze brings with it the music from the temple down the lane or sometimes the sound of the church bells or even the prayer call from the mosque in the distance. As the sun goes down, the smell of agarbati in the air reminds me that it is prayer time in every home in the vicinity irrespective of the names of the gods at the receiving end. And one cannot help but wonder, as to when we grew old and our days complex.
Today, I will share with you a recipe that reminds me of home. As always, this recipe is wonderfully easy and uses nothing more that the ingredients most of our homes would already have in store. It is a chicken dish in some a thick, spicy semi gravy and trust me, the wok has been wiped clean every single time. So here goes.
Things you will need:
- Chicken- 500 gms (cut into very small pieces)
- Onions- 2 large or 3 medium (long thin slices)
- Whole peppercorns- 2 tablespoons (ground until smooth)
- Garam Masala Powder- 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric- 1 teaspoon
- Vinegar or lime juice
- Soya sauce- 2 tablespoons
- Mustard seeds, Cooking oil, dried red chillies and curry leaves for tempering
How to go about it
- Marinate the chicken in ½ a tablespoon ground pepper, vinegar, salt and the turmeric powder.
- In a wok, heat some cooking oil and temper some mustard seeds and dried red chillies. Keep the curry leaves for later.
- In the oil sauté the onions till they turn deep brown. Add salt to the onions to make sure they get browned fast. It is important to sauté the onions very well for this recipe since that is the fulcrum for the entire dish.
- Next, add the garam masala and the remaining ground pepper to the onions. Mix well.
- Add the soya sauce to the onions along with a teaspoon of vinegar or lime juice.
- Next, add half a glass of water and mix the gravy well.
- Add to the gravy the marinated chicken and mix well.
- Keep the wok closed until the chicken is cooked well.
- Open the wok, add the curry leaves and get the water content to evaporate fully while stirring occasionally. Check the salt and add more if required.
- Add a bit more oil to the wok after the water content has reduced well and mix until the chicken pieces are nicely coated with the thick gravy.
- Tuck in well! 🙂