Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Homemade Chicken Curry & Steaming Vegetable Soup

Chicken curry has always been my comfort food. Though my favorite cuisines are Chinese followed by Italian, homemade chicken curry is what I crave when I need nurturing. It’s the kind of food I want when I need a hug from mom but mom is in a land far away.

Chicken curry also reminds me of Sundays while I was growing up. Sundays used to be chicken/mutton/fish curry days! My family called itself non-vegetarian but our idea of non-vegetarianism was having chicken/mutton/fish one day of the week. That was the world I grew up in. It wasn’t a money issue; it was the fact that non-vegetarian food was essentially considered unhealthy thanks to the more-than-you-can-count-on-the-fingers-of-your-hands number of doctors in my family!

My mom’s chicken curry used to be lavish. She used to take as much onion as chicken - almost a kg of onion for 1 kg chicken - and she would cook them together till the onions melted and their flavor inflused into the chicken. She used to finish the dish off with a generous helping of ghee. Do I need to mention how divine it tasted?

The chicken curry I make isn’t my mom’s recipe. It’s a recipe I’ve picked up along the way. The best part is that it’s light as it doesn’t need too much oil, so you won't have any ghee stubbornly applying for permanent residency on your hips/butt/tummy. And it’s a happy bright yellow color!

I would like to dedicate this recipe to The Knife. He has inspired a person like me who hated cooking to start experimenting with it. I cook often on weekends now. So it’s only fair I dedicate my favorite recipe to him!

The ingredients for this Chicken Curry are:

Chicken - 800 gms
Olive oil - 4-5 tbsp (you can use regular vegetable oil too)
Cloves - 2-3
Cardamoms (whole) - 2
Cinnamon stick - 1
Bayleaf - 2
Onions, sliced - 100 gms
Ginger garlic paste - 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder - ½ tsp
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - ¼ tsp
Yogurt - 4-5 tbsp
2 large tomatoes, chopped
Green coriander for garnishing

Heat oil in a pan. Add the whole masala and once it starts cracking, add the chopped onions. Fry till the onions are golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste along with all the powder masala. Sauté for sometime, then add the chicken pieces & salt. Sauté for sometime. Add yogurt & tomato and sauté. Add water and cook till done. Serve with rice or chapattis.

There’s also a vegetable soup that I made yesterday for the first time. Completely original recipe. I won’t tie you down with proportions since I’m not an expert cook. Most of you who know cooking will have a much better idea of proportions, but for people who’re as culinary challenged as me, the quantity of each ingredient I used is as follows (Serves 2):

Peas - 100 gms
1 medium sized carrot, thinly sliced
5-6 florets of cauliflower
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 green chilly, chopped
Salt to taste
A pinch of turmeric
Crushed black pepper
Maggi soup masala cube (This is just to spice up the soup a little bit. You can use any other soup seasoning as well or skip this completely if you’d rather have a blander tasting soup).

Dump the peas, carrots & cauliflower in a pressure cooker & cover with water (enough only to submerge the vegetables). Add a pinch of salt & turmeric powder. Fix the lid & pressure cook till done (they should be done in 3-4 whistles). Dump the contents of the pressure cooker in a blender along with the water you boiled it in. This is because they say that if you boil vegetables, most of their nutrients seep out into the water. This is simply a way of retaining the goodness of vegetables and you won’t need to add additional water into the blender.

(You can alternatively steam the vegetables but in this case you’d need to add some water into the blender while blending the vegetables.)

Add the chopped tomato, onion, ginger, garlic & green chilly into the blender & blend. Caution : do remember to fix the lid of the blender properly or you’ll soon have green colored walls!

Once the vegetables are blended, pour the liquid back into a vessel. Add some more salt (to taste), crushed black pepper (as desired), Maggi soup masala cube and bring to a boil. Simmer for 4-5 mins. Serve hot.

I’m not going to dedicate this recipe to The Knife. I do want to live to write another post, afterall. So…I’ll dedicate it to my mother!
See mommy, I’m eating my vegetables!


Moonshine said...

All of you are becoming such creative cooks!!!! I am still trying to battle the normal indian stuff..

Scarlett said...

@Moonshine - I don't bother with normal Indian cooking for the most part. It's really cumbersome (the process, the ingredients etc.) & the chopping takes forever!!

The knife said...

What can I say Scarlett? Except that this is what we plan to have for dinner tonight. Gosh you make me feel like M J on Grammy night

I could so empathise with what you wrote about once a week meat. We had fish on other days. Which is probably why I am not too fond of the flippers.

Equal onion and chicken sounds very interesting. Must try it.

You can boil the veggies with chicken in a pressure cooker. That's my mom's stew. Dedications there would be accepted :)

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - You're making my chicken curry for dinner? I'm so honored! Really.

My cook already makes the chicken stew you mentioned. It's a pet Bengali dish I believe. So it wouldn't be an original dedication. If I come up with something original again, I'll give you a shout out :)

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - Also, using equal amount of onions & chicken/mutton is a good idea only if you have a large reservoir of patience b/c you really need to let the onions cook till they practically melt. And that takes forever. But then moms generally suspend all reason when it comes to cooking for their kids & family!

Moonshine said...

A makes mutton curry like that.. about 1.5 kg onions easily go into it.. and its fried till perfection... there are bare min masalas... If he is making dinner i tell him to start at 6pm so that we can at around 10 at least!!!!!

The knife said...

folks...my secret for lots of onion...paste the buggers into a pulp. Consistency of the gravy is nicer and cooks like a 100 m dash