The weather is gloomy around Kolkata, the streets washed down with rain and that means staying in for the evening rather than go out and catch a movie or a bite to eat. Sometimes I wish the Ice Skating Rink of Kolkata was used for the purpose it was made originally for, instead of being a useless place which caters to sales and melas all through the year. Though I scored a couple of good buys from their sale last year, I can still not really forgive them for taking away an evening sport which could have been an indoor entertainment.
Okay, rant over.
Well, because I failed to see the point of going out to City Center II from my house and/or watch a movie I have already seen before, I told my mother I would be staying in, and she immediately declared that, in THAT case, she won’t, and please cook the dinner then?
Ah well. It’s okay. I decided to check out what my mother had in store for me, and my eyebrows shot up when I found, after much searching through the fridge, the following –
approximately 40-50 gms of plain soft tofu (hidden behind some salami slices)
approximately 150 gms of chicken, boneless, cut in about 1/2 inch pieces
3 salami slices (I ate them while I contemplated cooking)
some green chillies
In the pantry I came, looking slightly overwhelmed, because I had to cook for four people here, and no one’s a small eater, so I scratched my head and realized I would have to do something which would mix both vegetarian and non-vegetarian proteins together. I ransacked the pantry to find that there were a couple of onions (I chopped them) and some large cloves of garlic (apparently they are Chinese garlic, when I asked my greengrocer.. however, the cloves were large and mildly flavored, so I used about 3 cloves and chopped them up fine too!)
I chopped a few chillies and soaked them in a bit each of rice wine, vinegar, soya sauce and salt. Soon the tofu joined them and I left them alone while I began assembling everything.
First, the Chicken –
I made a batter of 1 egg white (I fried the yolk, whole in the hot oil, to check the oil temperature, and to enjoy another treat while I cooked for the family) with 1 tablespoon corn flour (or cornstarch) and a pinch each of baking powder and salt. I dipped the chicken pieces in it, and then proceeded to fry them in hot fat.
I reserved them in a big bowl while I drained off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the wok.
|garlic goes dark blonde|
Then, The Assembling of the Braise –
In the remaining oil inside the wok, add the garlic and 1 dry red chilli, torn in bits. When the Garlic goes dark blonde, put in your chopped onions, a big pinch of sugar and give it all a stir.
Let it fry till the onions look slightly dazed and browned on the edges, at which point you should add your tofu, the marinade, the chicken and stir everything together. Add 1 cup of water, cover and go away for 15 minutes, to let everything come together.
|Pepper added to the bubbly braise after 15 minutes are up|
Thicken the sauce with a teaspoon or two of cornflour mixed with some water. Stir it in and let it boil down. Check for seasoning, and serve with steamed rice, rotis, naan or other kinds of flat bread or top your noodles with it, the choice is endless. Mine had it with hot rotis and a simple creme caramel for dessert later.
|Finished Product, right before plating.|
Btw, you can totally replace the tofu with paneer or omit it altogether if you don’t like mixing your flavors.