BACK TO BLOG PAGE Tagged In

Chicken

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Anjali Venugopal April 23, 2020 1 COMMENTS

Since the residents of this home have been exposed to delicious North Indian grub in our lives, there are days when we feel a craving for something that is quintessentially Northern Indian. This is one of those recipes that comes to our rescue in such times. This curry is loosely based on a recipe I learnt from my roommate’s mum during my law school days in Pune. This curry is not sophisticated. Instead it’s a glorious mix of brazen flavours that will whisk you away to one of those highway Dhabas that serve food straight from the heart. Serve it with some hot Jeera Rice and vegetable raita and you’ll know what I mean.

Things you will need:

  • 1 kg chicken on the bone (Skinless, cleaned and cut into medium sized pieces)
  • 3 Onions (medium sized , sliced finely)
  • Ginger Garlic paste made of a 1.5 inch stick of ginger and about 10-12 pods of garlic. You can be lavish with the garlic. Use about 5 pods if your pods are large like the ones we get in Europe.
  • Greek yoghurt or regular yoghurt- 2 full tablespoons
  • 5-6 Green Chilies, slit (Adjust the spice as required)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 – 5 Cardamoms
  • 8 – 10 Peppercorns
  • 4 – 5 Cloves
  • 3 Tomatoes (medium sized, chopped)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 heaped tablespoons coriander powder
  • Salt to taste

For tempering: (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 green chilies slit
  • Fresh coriander (to garnish)

How to go about it:

  1. First, marinate the chicken with the yoghurt, half a teaspoon of salt and half of the ginger garlic paste. Keep that aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Add all the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves) to the oil. Once they start to splutter and the flavours release into the oil, add the onions. Saute the onion on a low to medium flame, until it is nice and brown. Sauteing your onion well is always the base of a good curry. Next, add the remaining ginger garlic paste and the slit green chilies and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomatoes, salt to taste, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Saute for a minute and then keep the wok closed to allow the tomatoes to soften up. Cook till the tomatoes start melting, and almost form a paste and the spices and fully cooked and the oil starts to release from the sides. This is the base for the curry and should be more or less homogeneous.
  4. Add the marinated chicken and toss the pieces around till the chicken is sealed with the spices. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Next, add 1 cup of water, mix it all well, bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer on low to medium heat for 20-25 minutes (stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom the pan) or until the meat begins to fall off the bone and the gravy begins to thicken. (If you are using a pressure cooker instead, add only a little more than half a cup of water and pressure cook the curry for 2 whistles on medium heat and wait until the pressure is completely released. When you open the cooker, if you feel the gravy is watery, you can give it a quick boil again without the lid and wait till the gravy thickens up.)
  5. Once the chicken is well cooked and the gravy thickens (this step is optional), in a separate pan, heat two tablespoons of ghee, add the green chilies and saute until the chilies are lightly charred. Empty the contents into the chicken curry, give a quick mix and remove from heat. Additionally, you can garnish the curry with fresh coriander leaves.
Kerala Chicken Stew

Kerala Chicken Stew

Anjali Venugopal January 11, 2018 1 COMMENTS

img_3352

A bleak Thursday in January. Since my duties as an attorney demand my presence in office only for the first three days of the week, here I am sitting within the confines of my cozy apartment in Vienna, nursing what probably is a holiday hangover from the fleeting three weeks I spent in my hometown, Trivandrum. As exciting as sitting at home on a weekday sounds, the grey undertones that seem to have overpowered this magical city during the day, make me somewhat uneasy and inexplicably nostalgic. Maybe it is the silence? With just the little ticking clock that I bought cheaply off the internet to keep me company at home, I feel strangely forlorn. Maybe I just miss the sun?

Our customary yearly visit to the hometown this time sure saw a great deal of sun, sand and sea. However, the older I get, the more I realize that the visits you make to your home are not to unwind or to relax or to put your feet up. They are for you to wear the many other hats you are obliged to wear in life. The many hats that have been sitting in the back corner of your closet, gathering dust for the rest of the year. The hats bearing labels such as daughter, sister, grand daughter, daughter in law, grand daughter in law, best friend, the list does not seem to end.

The yearly visit is the one time I get to be there, physically, for the family; to do seemingly silly bank work for my grandma, to run to the optician to get my granddad’s glasses fixed; to take my sister shopping, to get driven up the wall and back with her treading (foolishly, I believe) on treacherous adolescent territory and to give her boundless advice on everything under the sun; to spend hours on the couch with Amma listening to tales from her school, her daily battles, the local gossip. I refuse to take for granted the way my Amma’s eyes light up when she drives back home from work to see me at the door waiting to scan her purse for goodies. I refuse to take for granted how the menu for the day gets fixed depending on what I want to eat, how my mum and I talk into the wee hours of the dawn reminiscing of the good old days when dad was around and duly taken for granted; when life just seemed too perfect to be true.

I admit life did turn out to be very different from what we had all predicted or planned for. But in all honesty, in spite of all the bouncers life continues to throw at us even today on a daily basis, somehow there always seems to be so much around us at all times that warrants a heartfelt thank you to the Universe. As we stand at  (pretty much) the dawn of 2018, all I want to be this year is grateful. I don’t believe we focus on the good half as much as we focus on the bad and how we just refuse to see the beauty of our blessings, until the moment they are taken away. A few years ago, who would have thought I would be living in such a beautiful city in Europe, married to the love of my life, doing what I truly love. Not me for sure. I would have expected my life to be confined with fortresses built of fat, black folders piled up on my desk while I burned the midnight oil in some law firm in Mumbai. I just realize I would be an insolent fool to turn a blind eye to everything I have; how important I am in many lives; how fortunate I am to be missed when I am away; how absolutely special I must be because I mean the world to a few but twinkling specks on the globe.

On that note, since my heart is till partly living in Kerala, under the coconut trees by the water, swaying in the cool breeze, here is a recipe that is probably a strong contender for the flag bearer status of Kerala cuisine. The Chicken Stew or the Kozhi Ishtu as we affectionately call it. This dish is exactly what I believe comfort to look like in a bowl.

Things you will need:

  • Chicken- 500gms (on the bone, cut into medium sized pieces)
  • Potatoes- 2 medium, cubed
  • Carrots- 2 medium, diced
  • Onions- 1 large thinly sliced
  • Ginger- 1 inch stick chopped finely
  • Green chilies- 2 slit
  • Thick Coconut milk- 2 cups
  • Cashew- 5-6 soaked in two tbsp. water and ground to a smooth paste.
  • Cardamom- 6 pods
  • Cloves- 5
  • Whole Pepper- – ½ tbsp.
  • Cinnamon- 1 small stick
  • Curry leaves
  • Water
  • Cooking oil (I used coconut oil)

How to go about it:

  1. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a wok. Add the whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon, whole pepper, cloves) to the oil and sauté for a minute or until fragrant. Add three quarters of the sliced onions and sauté until soft and translucent. You do not need to get the onions to brown for this recipe (Hallelujah, right?!)
  2. Add the ginger and green chilies and sauté for another minute or two. Add one cup of the coconut milk and half cup of water to the wok. Add the chicken pieces and sufficient salt. Stir well once and keep the wok closed (on low heat) until the chicken is half done.
  3. Once the chicken is half done, add the potatoes and the carrots. Stir well and let the chicken and veggies cook well.
  4. Once this is done, add the remaining one cup of thick coconut milk and cashew paste to the gravy. Let the gravy boil on medium-high heat for about five minutes or until the gravy achieves a beautiful, thick consistency.
  5. Caramelize the rest of the onions in ghee or oil. Garnish the stew with curry leaves and the caramelized onions.
  6. Serve hot with appams, idiyappams or bread 🙂

img_3370

Butter Chicken Pasta

Butter Chicken Pasta

Anjali Venugopal June 10, 2017 NO COMMENTS

IMG_5113

Walking up and down a couple of unfamiliar streets in Vienna with the sun on my nose and the wind in my hair, in search of that perfect corner in that perfect café, I realized that I still have so much left to see in this city. Every nook beholds something new, something fascinating, something that has a story to tell. Be it that old record store run by that old bloke with white, wispy shoulder length hair, wearing a pair of ragged, old jeans (which seemed to have stories and dirt from the 1960s buried in its back pockets) and a black vest with arm holes so huge that the piece of cloth was barely serving its purpose; or that run down, forlorn looking piano repair outfit; or that swanky café by the sidewalk which had a few good looking blonde women sitting at wooden tables, sipping on wine, staining the rims of their glasses with pretty shades of expensive lipstick.

I doubt if I have ever felt at home as much I do here, in Vienna. Of course, there is no disputing the fact that I miss my home and everything it stands for; the people I call my own; all the memories I have gathered whilst I spent my life in Trivandrum. But there is something in this city that makes me comfortable; at ease, at peace with my own being. The quaintness of this city somehow gives me the confidence from within to live life on my own terms; without as much as giving a fleeting thought about the expectations or the results I am obliged to fulfil; no one keeping track of the number of beers I can chug and ones I cannot; doing what I love the most, not worrying (too much) about daunting terms such as finance, security, legal career etc. I cannot help but admit that this feels new as much as it feels good. Until maybe last year, I always felt that my personal space was something so permeable which means I felt that I was constantly being monitored, being judged, my wins and falls being counted uncompromisingly. But now, a lot seems to have changed. For the first time, I have come to learn where my real passion stands with a stone foundation, ready to weather all the typhoons and the rain that may.

I finally seem to have found that perfect nook for myself in this city. Something tells me that you are going to be hearing a lot of my musings; sitting by this window next to a huge indoor plant with uncannily dark, succulent leaves, in the back end of the café (that is supposedly rather famous for its brunches, a quick scan of the place on the internet tells me) that is so tastefully done in shades of pale green accompanied by light wooden furniture. This could also mean that you are going to be bombarded with blog posts in the coming days. Just kidding, remember I have not quit law altogether. Yet.

Anyway, today I share with you the recipe to something I came up with on one (not so) fine day, buried under hundreds of exhibits for a hearing scheduled for the coming week. Butter Chicken Pasta. This is my first shot at fusion cuisine and I must say that I was pretty kicked about the results. This is penne in the thick, creamy gravy of the eternal favourite and second in line for the flag bearer status for Indian food (after Biryani, duh!), Butter Chicken. As always, this recipe of mine does not need anything more than a few ingredients within your arms reach and then, believe me, the end result is going to be totally worth it. So, here goes.

Things you will need: (Serves 2-3)

For the Butter Chicken

  • Chicken- 250 grams (boneless)
  • Tomatoes- 2 large or 3 medium pureed
  • Garam masala powder- 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder- 1 tsp (as per heat tolerance, but not more than 1 tsp)
  • Ginger garlic paste
  • Cashews- 10-12
  • Yoghurt
  • Lime juice- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric- 1 tsp
  • Cooking oil
  • Freshly chopped coriander- to garnish (optional)

For the Pasta

  • Penne- 1 cup

 

How to go about it:

Pasta:

  1. Boil water in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Once boiling, add the penne to the water and let it cook for 11-12 minutes. After that, drain the water thoroughly using a colander preferably and keep aside.

 

Butter Chicken

  1. Cut the boneless chicken into small pieces and keep aside. Next, marinate the chicken in two table spoons of yoghurt, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, lime juice or vinegar, quarter teaspoon of garam masala, salt and a bit of turmeric. Let it sit for half an hour.
  2. In the meanwhile, soak the cashews in 2 tbsps of water for about 15 minutes and then proceed to make a paste out of them.
  3. Next, grill the chicken till it is nice and tender and maybe a little charred. If you do not have the option of grilling, you may shallow fry the chicken instead. Once the chicken is cooked, shred it and keep it aside while you prepare the gravy for the butter chicken.
  4. Place a wok on the stove and heat some cooking oil in it. Add 1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste to the oil and fry it till the oil is fragrant. Next, add the pureed tomatoes with the salt and sauté for about five minutes. Add the chilli powder, 1 teaspoon and a half of garam masala powder and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and keep sautéing till the oil starts to leave the sides and the water content in the tomatoes has minimized.
  5. At this point, add the cashew paste to the wok and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add one glass of water to the wok and using a whisk, mix the gravy to make it homogeneous. Keep the wok closed for three minutes to help cook the cashews.
  7. Next add the shredded pieces of chicken to the gravy, mix thoroughly. Your butter chicken is ready!

After both the pasta as well as the gravy is done, add the cooked penne to the hot gravy, mix thoroughly but carefully so as to not mash it all up. Garnish with some freshly chopped coriander leaves and your spectacular Indo Italian fusion dish is now ready to be devoured. 🙂