Sunday 29 April 2012


This has been in the pipeline for a while. When Lalo gave me this recipe, our household was in a strictly vegetarian mode. While we went green with a vengeance, the chicken froze elsewhere. Till the family rebelled that enough is enough & that they are not trying to acquire Bebo's size zero nor do they have any Big B dreams of saving the planet. Which I think is a non-noble thing to say at a critical time like this. But what with Fb flooding your mind with keep-the-planet-green, save-the-plants, eat-chicken slogans, it is a tough call if you are the sole vegetarian in a family of meat-eaters. Made tougher by the fact that UK treats eggs as vegetarian. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In my early days in London, I was so full of hash browns & baked beans that resorting to the 'vegetarian' b'fast of eggs seemed a viable option. As I scrambled my way back to the non-veg zone, the family waited for me to poach in full- throttle. If the egg, why not the chicken. If the chicken, what gunah has the mutton done. If chicken & mutton, obviously fish, after all machche bhhate bangali is the Bong way. Frankly, I feel at sea because there is no stopping the family from being a hurdle in your path to Nirvana. After all it is all about loving one's family, so says Karan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Meanwhile as we moved from English to Cornish to Scottish to Welsh breakfast, the egg remained a constant. Along with the breads, the cereals, the baked beans & the hash browns. The one thing that changed was the shape of the mushrooms. Each place had the mushrooms cooked differently, and all tasted yum. That was a blessing because we remembered our yatra with the kind of mushroom we'd eaten for breakfast. Some of those mushrooms I made in my own kitchen but as Richa says, there are some things you shouldn't make at home. Apart from giving the home-maker some respite, this also ensures that there is some charm left when you go out to eat or call in. If you cook everything at home & do it well, you will never be able to enjoy eating out. Point there!
                                                                                                          So I spare the mushrooms & attack the chicken instead :) This Himachali Chicken has a  sizzling smoky flavour that brings the family rushing to the table. As I make this today, my mind does a fast-track. How about replacing the chicken with a veggie & following the same style of cooking with the same spices! Won't it come out equally tantalizing? Will tell you once I've been there, done it. For now, don your apron & chef's hat. It's Hail Himachal all the way! 
1. 1 kg chicken
2. 1 cup curd
3. 1 large onion chopped
4. 1 slice ginger chopped
5. 5-6 cloves garlic
6. 1 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
7. 1 tsp fenugreek (methi)
8. 3-4 dry red chillies
9. 1 tsp whole garam masala
10. Salt to taste
11. Oil to cook

1. Dry roast spices 6-9 and keep in the grinder.
2. Dry roast onion, ginger & garlic, mix with the roasted spices & grind to paste.

3. Deep fry chicken. Add the ground masala & fry till oil leaves pan.

                                                                             4. Add dahi & salt & let cook till chicken is tender.

Serve hot with plain rice or roti/naan. 
                                                                                                     The roasted masala gives the dish a bhuna flavor that lingers in your memory long after you have finished eating....  

Thank you for a fantabulous Sunday lunch, Lalo!

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