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Country Style Chicken Curry

Chicken curry and rice

What do you have for dinner, when you eat healthy for brunch? Something hearty and filling of course. In our house, when we want something hearty and filling, we turn to chicken and rice. In any form there is nothing else that beats the comforting goodness of chicken. Be it arroz con pollo made with latin influences, rich chicken Biryani or rustic country-style chicken. Every cuisine has a comforting chicken and rice dish. The basic ingredients are typically garlic, chicken and onions but in France and America, carrots and celery join the party, in Spain, tomatoes serenade the chicken while in India it can nuts and garam masala in the north or curry leaves and chillies in the South.

The marinated chicken cooks in the onion – tomato gravy, after it is seared in the hot pan to lock in the juices. Thighs and drumsticks are best for these dishes due to their natural higher fat content making a juicier, tender off the bone chicken that is perfect with rice. Don’t attempt this with chicken breasts as it will result in a dry over cooked meat.

Chicken Curry

Although you can have this curry with pita, roti, bread or nice, the gravy teams best with fluffy Basmati rice. Cook more than usual so you have leftovers for next day. The flavors will blend overnight resulting in a finger licking curry that you wish you had saved more of. Guaranteed.

This is a not too spicy basic country chicken recipe. It comes together in under an hour. And will not fail to impress your guests or spouse for that matter.

Chicken curry 2

I apologize I don’t have a pictorial for this. Varun didn’t want me to cook and Vipul was hungry so I just took pictures before we were about to eat. Hope you still try this out. It’s a keeper and comes together on a short notice.

Country Style Chicken Curry Recipe

For the marinade

  • 5 Chicken Drumsticks or Thighs
  • Pepper – 1 tsp
  • Paprika – 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1 lemon
  • Ginger grated – 1/4 inch
  • Salt – to taste

For the Curry

  • Oil – 3 Tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • whole black peppercorns – 7 – 10
  • Cloves – 3
  • Cardamom pods – 2 – 3
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
  • Star anise -1
  • Bay leaves – 3 – (small) or 1- 2(large)
  • Garlic cloves – 8,  finely minced
  • Onions – 3 , finely diced
  • Tomatoes – 5 , finely diced
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Garam masala  – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water   – 1/2 cup
  • Kasuri methi (optional) – 1/4 cup

1. Take the chicken drumsticks and marinade them with all the ingredients listed for at least 15 – 20 mins if not more. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large pan. Add cumin seeds once the oil is hot and once they sizzle add rest of the raw masala ( pepper corns, cloves, star anise, cardamom and bay leaves). Let them heat in the oil for about 10 – 15 secs. Move them to low heat side of the pan so that they wont burn.

3. Add garlic to the oil and let it brown on its edges. Once done, add onions and fry it with the raw masala till they are translucent.

4. Add the chicken to the pan and let it sera on each side for couple of minutes. Browning the chicken locks in the juices and adds flavor to the meat.Once browned, move the chicken to one side of the pan

5. Add the tomatoes, turmeric , garam masala and mix it with the onion mixture in the pan. Add Salt and mix well. Move the chicken back into the pan and mix with the tomato-chicken gravy.

6. Add water, cover with a lid and let this cook for 5-7 minutes. Adjust seasonings, add kasuri methi at this point as well as more water is necessary and let it cook for another 5 – 7 minutes.

8. Check for done-ness – by now chicken should be falling off the bone. If not, cook for a few more minutes. It really depends on how large the drumsticks are. I have smaller lamb chop sized ones so the cook time could vary. Serve warm with rice.

Mom’s Til Kut Ladoos ( Ground Seasame seeds ladoos)

Til ke ladooIts Makar Sankranti on Monday. It marks the beginning of harvest season, longer days and transitioning out of cold winter days.  In Maharashtra  it is celebrated by exchanging til – gul ladoos ( sweets made out of seasame seeds and jaggery) both because they are warming foods in the cold winter days as well as because they are readily available ingredients at this time of the year.

Puran polis’ and halwa also make an appearance on the menu. Mom used to host a haldi kumkum in the evenings where she would invites her friends over and give them til gul halwa and a token gift. Dressed in black, the only time of the year where its ok to wear black on a festival, my brother and I would eagerly wait till all mom’s friends have left for the evening so we could eat those ladoos. In fact  I love them so much that I volunteered to roll out ladoos this year after mom made the mix.

Ready to eat til ladoo

I am in Mumbai this year and helped make her traditional ladoos. Easy to make, they are healthy and perfect to snack on. The key to their success is in handling the jaggery correctly. It has to be softened on low to medium heat without letting it boil. If jaggery boils, it makes the ladoos chewy and stringy rather than the soft one you have in mind.

Mom’s Til Kut Ladoos Recipe:

Makes 40 – 45 lemon sized ladoos

  • 1 pound seasame seeds
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut or kopra grated
  • 3/4 pound jaggery grated
  • 3- 4 table spoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 2 table spoons water
  • 2 tea spoons, cardamom seeds coarsely crushed

1. Mom’s preps for these ladoos over a few days. First sesame seeds are cleaned, washed and dried. Then they are dry roasted till they are light pink and stored in an air tight container. Dry coconut or kopra is grated and then lightly roasted as well.

Seasame seeds

Til roasted

2. A day before making the ladoos, coarsely grind the seasame seeds.

Ground seasame seeds

3. Prepare the jaggery over low heat. Add ghee in a pan and keep it over low heat. Add grated jaggery. Add water and mix well. Take it off the heat and keep stirring to ensure that the melt doesn’t boil. This is the hard part so that the jaggery melts but is lump free as well.

Jaggery melt

Melted jaggery

4. Once ready, add the cardamom powder, coconut and til. Mix well.

Add coconut til

Mix well

Mix well together

5. Cool overnight or for couple of hours. Shape them into ladoos. Enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Fresh Toor Patties

Mavshi’s Mouthwatering Malpuas

For years, I have been wanting to eat Malpuas – fried dough pancakes.

Every Janmasthami, newspapers and magazines will have pictures of malpuas frying in generous amounts of ghee – Mom is not a big fan of frying and we never had Malpuas. Vipul is not fond of fried sweets – so Malpuas have largely been out of my life.

Then we went to Bikanerwala. It’s THE place in Hyderabad to go for Rajasthani style food and for North Indian chaat in a clean hygenic setting. Of course they had Malpuas on the menu and I got to savor perfectly done, syrup soaked malpuas. Firm, not too sweet, chewy in center but not squishy and with crispy edges.

Vipul’s mavshi (aka aunt) , who was with us, mentioned she knows the recipes of low -sugar, non syrupy kind of malpua  and we decided to make some on my birthday.

And they were a hit…I finished half of them as she was frying them.There are as many variation of these as a curry recipe  (with and without cream, milk, khoya, condensensed milk, dry fruits, coconut, mango or even pineapple) and I am sure each family swears by their favorite ones based on where they are from (Bihar, Rajasthan or even Gujarat)Following is the  no fuss recipe we tried.Try them, they are simple to make and easy to eat.

Recipe

  • 3/4 cup jaggery – grated
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup – whole wheat flour
  • Ghee or Canola oil (for frying)
  • Poppy seeds (for garnish)

Heat the water, dissolve jaggery in water.Mix with whole wheat flour. Set aside for 2 hours. Heat oil till hot in anon stick pan, reduce flame till it is medium hot. Ladel the malpua batter with a small bowl for even edges. (Or use a spoon if you don’t care about smooth edges).The dough will bubble. Fry till golden brown on each side.

Savor! I promise, they wont last long.

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