If you are Bengali, you know its “Poila Boishakh” today, the start of the Bengali New Year. The year turns 1420 today, and boy, I feel old! I saw the turn of the century, and I still possess copies of old magazines from the last century, preserved and bound for the next generations to come and pore over them.
This recipe is pretty simple. Actually, its ridiculously simple. And I generally make it, until I saw Alpana Goswami, the woman who was in Nishi Trishna back in the last century (its a cult classic Bengali Horror movie, and if you haven’t seen it, you have missed something! Its that awesome and I am going to include a link here!), make the recipe in a very similar manner in one of the television shows I was watching because I really had nothing better to do that evening (and my mother was not allowing me to see anything else).
I tried the recipe, and I must say, I was quite happy with the results. This recipe can be made with boneless chicken or chicken with bones. It really does not matter what you use, however, I would urge you to keep bones on, because that makes for a more tasty thing, despite the longer cooking time when making this with boned chicken. I would also urge you to make this with medium pieces rather than very small ones, to actually help in the cooking process, and use a mixture of breast and thigh pieces. Ideally, this can be served as a starter. However, I love eating this with rice as well as with thick parathas or chapatis.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil together in a heavy-bottomed wok, kadhai or frying pan. Let the butter brown slightly.
Add 600 gm. chicken and fry over high heat to sear the chicken on all sides.
When the chicken is nicely seared on all sides, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue frying, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes.
When the chicken is nicely seared, add 1 teaspoon garlic paste. You can also use crushed garlic here, but that is not half as satisfying as mashing 6 cloves of garlic with some water in a mortar and pestle.
|Failed attempt at food photography|
At this point, take a teaspoon of black pepper, and after futilely trying to photograph them on the palm of your right hand while trying to take photographs with your left, bash them up till they are coarsely powdered, in either a mortar or pestle, or in a food processor, or with the base of a cricket bat, to make sure its ground up well.
Stir fry over high heat for another minute, to make sure the black pepper mixes in well.
At this point of time, you know nothing can save my photography, so pour in 100 ml. thick plain yogurt (or 100 ml. sour cream if you have it). Stir over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, then cover, and let the chicken cook till it is done to your liking, about 10-15 minutes more over simmering heat.
Now is the point where I deviated from the main recipe. Alpana Goswami adds salt, adjusts pepper, and then removes it from the heat. You can go that way too. However, I introduced my favorite herb, parsley, here. About a small handful (2 tablespoon) of it to the pan along with the instruction from the woman.
Turn off the heat, and let stand for 5 minutes.
This standing thing is important – This helps meld in the flavors and keep the dish together. Also, heightens anticipation. This is the point where I bring the dishes out, measure out my carbohydrates, add a vegetable or two, and then measure out the meat in individual bowls, or put it in a large bowl for serving. It does not need much, its tasty, and makes no fuss, like marination. Don’t you love it?
Oh, on other news, I was on Telegraph the other day! It happened the day I went for the Fast Food Festival Organized by Telegraph and although it was a bad picture of me, I was quoted!
Happy New Year, all!