Monday, September 29, 2008

Chicken Vindaloo

Not long after I got married, my Hmom lovingly sent us a cookbook and a bunch of handwritten notes with her own recipes. Little did she know the impoverished nature of my relationship with the kitchen then! I used the cookbook in addition to my KMM's book but didn't dare go near the handwritten recipes as they were written by an expert for an expert. It is only recently that I have come to believe that I could try out stuff from it to good results.

Vindaloo is not a favorite of me or my husband but he loves it when it is done in pork. Since I am not a fan of that particular meat, I had long wanted to try the recipe with chicken instead. This is exactly what I did this weekend and it came out very well if my husband the vindaloo connoisseur is to be believed. I made a discovery alongside the process and it is that this vindaloo could be the meat version of 'meen pattichathu'. Also the resulting dish tastes a hundred times better if you realize it to be meat pickle akin to shrimp pickle. Do try it and let me know if this is true or not. That is, if you happen to catch a vindaloo bug while reading this:-)

In The Mix

chicken - 2 lbs cut into medium to small pieces ( boneless chicken is best for this recipe)
water - as needed (not more than 1 cup)
vinegar - 8 to 10 tbsp depending on yout tolerance to its taste
sugar - 1 tsp (decrease or increase sugar content based on resulting taste)

to grind
red chili powder - 4 tbsp
kashmiri chili powder - 2 tbsp
dry red chili powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 3/4 tsp
cumin powder - 1 tsp
ginger - 1" piece
garlic - 6to7 small to medium cloves
mustard - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste

to season
mustard - 1/4 tsp
shallot - 1/2sliced
curry leaves - 1 sprig or less
oil - 1 tbsp

How To Do

Grind all the 'to grind' ingredients together in a blender with 2-3 tbsp of vinegar and some water.

Heat oil, break mustard and add sliced shallots and curry leaves and saute for a while. Add the ground mixture and saute well till the mix is roasted. Now add the remaining vinegar, sugar, salt if needed to the mix and add the chicken pieces. Mix well together and cover and cook in low heat. Should not take more than 15 minutes.

Dilute with water if needed or add more vinegar for personal taste. If there is more liquid, heat on high to reduce as this is better to taste with minimal gravy. Enjoy with rice and vegetables. Since this is rather new to me I have not yet perfected this recipe but have noted here all the adjustments I made while making this as reference.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kadala/Channa Curry for Puttu

Obviously cooking's been going on in Cheenachatti. No one can survive that long without food! OK, maybe some:-) Puttu was one of the stars that made many appearances and I remembered that I had not blogged about Kadala Curry which almost unfailingly accompanies Puttu in its journeys to the netherworld, er.., I mean tummy. I usually make it with canned garbanzo beans which is the best kind of kadala for this kind of curry. Since it is already cooked, soaking and cooking times are pretty much taken care of. But today is when I got blogging time and feeling a little nostalgic, I had made the curry with black kadala. So this post is on that.

In The Mix

Channa/Kadala - 2 cups of black kadala (or 2-3 cans of garbanzo beans)
mustard - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - a sprig or two
green chili - 3 each cut to 3-4 pieces lengthwise
red onion - 1/2 sliced
ginger - 1/2" piece sliced to splinters
coriander powder - 4 1/2 tbsp
chili powder -2 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
garam masala - 1/4 tsp (made from equal measure mix of cardamom/cloves/cinnamon powder)
warm milk - 2 cups
water - 1 or 2 cups
salt to taste

How To Do

Soak kadala in water for 4-5 hours. This step is not needed when using canned garbanzo beans. Need to take care to drain the water out if using garbanzo.

Heat oil in a pan, break mustard and add curry leaves. Then saute onion, green chili and ginger in that order and mix well with salt. Add all the curry powders. Add 1-2 tbsp of water so everything mixes well together. Roast the mix till everyone at home get the scent of spice powders in the air and can't wait to taste the curry that goes with it:-)

Add the milk and water and boil. Add kadala, let boil once, lower heat to medium and cook covered for 12-15 minutes. (If you are adding garbanzo the cooking time is 2-3 minutes just so everything blends well.) Stir once or twice during this time so the milk won't get separated out too much. Channa curry is ready to be mixed in with puttu and devoured. Some eat this with flat appams and even rice and while I found it all not too bad, I must admit that for me kadala is made for puttu and puttu only.....

The seasoning part of breaking mustard with curry leaves can be done in the end too. Just do that in another small pan and add to the curry at the very end. The latter looks a lot better while taste remains pretty much the same in either case.