When it comes to simple everyday meals, I find it hard to succumb myself to the traditional Indian daily routine of ĎDal-Sabzií, translated, simply meaning a lentil and vegetable preparation. A simple Indian lunch would mainly consist of a lentil and a side of some vegetable, cooked in different variations everyday. These are then relished with warm rotis, rice, a dollop of pickle, and some fresh yoghurt. For me, a meal like this often finds itís way to my dinner table once every 10 days. The rest of the week however, I prefer finding ways of simplifying indulgent favourites to treat my ever-so-demanding palate.
Often, when I talk to people on the topic of curries, the most common concern I get confronted with is the amount of time, and not to mention effort that comes with it. I for one, beg to differ. For me, a curry is nothing but a smooth blend of flavours brought together to highlight a star ingredient. True, you can spend hours toasting, pounding, and grinding spices to form the smoothest of pastes; you can spend days marinating and chopping to achieve the most delicate blend possible; and you can also lose yourself in a cloud of spices and herbs that would fill your kitchen and your home with an aroma almost so ambrosial, you would think you woke up in a foreign land. But then again, you could do what I do on days when all I have at my disposal are a few measly minutes at the brink of lunch-time with a rumbling tummy to cater to.
As I see it, curries are not something one should be afraid of. Neither are they something to look at with such cynicism or vengeance. A curry is a curry, and like any other can be easily tamed to suit ones tastes and preferences. I like mine to be quick and robust with flavour, and I donít stop till I find my way with it.
DAHIWALI CHICKEN CURRY
CHICKEN CURRY MADE IN A YOGHURT GRAVY
Prep time: 15 min, Cooking time: 30 min | Serves: 2 as a main, 4 as a side
2 large boneless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 cup plain yoghurt, beaten
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 cardamom pods, bruised
3-4 whole cloves
1-2 dried bay leaves
4-5 whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
salt, to taste
2 tbsp light cooking oil
a handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish|
HEAT oil in a thick-bottomed pan and saute cardamom, peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves, till they begin to sizzle. Add onions and green chillies, and fry for 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat till onions turn pink and tender. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for another minute or two till it gives out oil.
ADD red chilli powder, cumin powder, turmeric, coriander powder and garam masala, and fry for a minute. Mix in chopped tomamtoes and salt, and cook for a few minutes till tomatoes pulp and releases oil around the sides of the pan. Slowly stir in beaten curd forming a smooth gravy base.
ADD chicken pieces, water if necessary, and allow to cook covered for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat till done. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves and serve piping hot with a side of rotis or rice, and a salad.
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