Wednesday, 20 September 2017

My Noname Chicken Curry .... the spicy, tangy and oh! so good kind

 Chicken curry
 Ever since I have started posting on Instagram, I have turned lazy when it comes to laying the table and setting up a place for photographs.
Not to mention the respite from the constant struggle with natural light.
And the fact that we have moved the dining table to another end of the living room ... away from the windows ..... is not helping too.
Which explains the sudden lack of photographs, now that I am raring to make some posts.

As I was going through my folders today,  I found these photos that I had taken on the iphone, for Insta, as usual.
And remembered that this curry had come out very well.
One look and I could remember that tangy, spicy gravy .... it was indeed good.
This was actually a result of indecisiveness and a little experiment.

Now, since I cook chicken rather frequently, and most of the time just marinate and dump the whole thing in a kadahi or pressure cooker or the oven, to cook on its own, I was getting tired of the same way of cooking.
I do use different kinds of sauces or masalas etc. at different times, but I had wanted to eat something really different this time.
Something that I would not recognise as cooked by me.
Hilarious .... I know.
But then, at times I do feel like eating food cooked by someone else .... and that does not mean eating at restaurants.

So what I had planned to do was to sear the chicken ... that has been sitting in some lemon juice for a while .... till brown, and then add spicy sauces to it.
Yeah ... I wanted to kill the already dead bird real well.
But then, as I went ahead with my cooking, things started to go very differently.

chicken curry

I had, initially, wanted to add tomatoes ( I rarely use tomatoes in my dishes, hence have no idea why I wanted to now) but forgot to add it.
While searing it in the pan, I decided to add Chinese sauces but forgot to do that too.
Instead, added turmeric and red chilli powder. My mind must have been somewhere else.
So now, to balance it, went ahead and added garam masala powder.
And watched in dismay as the curry was going exactly the way I did not want it to.

Adamant at not letting the chicken have its way, I threw in some Maharashtrian kanda lahsun masala too. Hoping that the onion and garlic as well as the coconut in the fiery masala will help deviate from the current path.

I also added a potato .... the Bengali in me wants a potato in her chicken jhol after all ....  and after the chicken was cooked, added another big squirt of lemon.
And just before covering it again, went ahead and added the chilli and a little soy sauce too.

And that is the end of the story.
I had no idea what to call it ... hence the name Noname.
But boy! did it turn out right!!
And lip smacking good.

And oh ... the ginger garlic paste is in the marination and the salt and sugar and cooking oil go in by default. 

chicken curry

I hope you try it.
With some plain rice, it was an absolute delight in every mouthful .

And if you to stay abreast with such quick and quirky recipe ideas by me, join me on Intsa here.
And get to share my meals and snacks alongwith.

Cheerio all!!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Shubho Mahalaya 2017 !!

Coming back to my home in Pune, the days have been flying by setting the house in order again.
Cooking has resumed and so the mojo, to click photos and make a post, is back.
The weather is fabulous .... the rains are back again after a short dry and hot spell ... which had led me to believe, albeit foolishly, that I can now sun the clothes and get about with our Autumn cleaning, which is a ritual before Durga Puja.

I could do with a little sunshine and kaash phool and some pujo pujo gondho though ... for the real feel.
But I'm happy with this too.
Just being back in my own domain is enough right now.

Yes, Durga Puja, any Bengali's most important celebration, is here, starting today.
It was in a blink of an eye, this year, that a whole month of Shraddh, has gone by.
And today is Debipokkho .... the day we welcome the goddess to her home on earth.
And which Bengali can ever forget this day?
Because this day is the day we listen to the Mahalaya.

Every Bengali, adult or child, is deeply connected to this day.
Waking up in the earliest possible hour to listen to Birendra Krishna Bhadra on the radio is a memory every single Bengali cherishes.
The heart strings still tug at the very strains of the Mahishasurmardini .... starting with that auspicious sound of conch shell blowing.
So melodious, so beautiful!
And so very nostalgic!

Naturally, the thoughts fly back to my childhood and home.
Since I have already written about Mahalaya and the memories that come with it here earlier, I am not going to delve into it again.

Rather, I would like to pray for all the souls out there to be able to find peace, wherever they are.
And pray for some peace on this world too .... there are enough souls suffering out here.

And this dawn, when I played the Mahishasurmardini on Youtube, I sat beside the window and watched dawn struggling to break through the dark clouds and incessant rain.
The air was heavy with the smell of early morning and rain and wet earth and smoke. A thick fog hung all over the canopy of trees.
And in my mind, I saw two visions.

In one, I saw a sleepy eyed girl snuggling in beside her father under the thick kaantha, in his swing, while the Mahishasurmardini played on the radio; dawn breaking outside and in the garden, near the window, the dew soaked Jui flowers falling soundlessly on the earth below ... filling the air with their fragrance.

In the other, I saw the same father lying in the same drawing room .... only this time it was on the  ground and not in his favourite huge swing bed.
The girl went out into the garden, in the faint light of dawn breaking, and gathered a big handful of the same fragrant Jui flowers, soaked with dew, and laid gently beside his head ... willing him to take a whiff of his favourite flowers before he left home forever.

Durga has come and gone twice since then.
And will continue to do so every year too.

And we will still look forward to this beautiful day of Mahalaya every year .... each of us with our very own memories and stories from the past .... and making more stories for the future.

Shubho Mahalaya everyone!
May this Pujo bring you lots of happiness!