Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chicken Curry

Relishing my dad's chicken curry in India.

My brother - he is mummy's favorite kid. She never admits to that and always gives me that, "what on earth are you talking about?" look every time I say this to her, but I know. He is the gentler of us two (at least on the outside!), doesn't leave back any trail of his crimes AND he ate his greens. Me, quite the contrary! But still the quieter him and crazy me, together managed to keep mummy on her toes all the time. She was either in the kitchen cooking for us, making rounds to our school explaining for us, pulling us apart while we try to kill each other or in her mandir (temple) praying for us. On her toes all the time!

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But Sundays were different. Sunday was the day she looked forward to the whole week. Sunday was when we, the kids would behave. Sunday was when I ate my greens with no whining in the vicinity. Sunday was when Papa was home and he took over from Mummy, the kitchen, the chores and the kids.

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So our Sunday morning would start with the sound of mummy reciting her prayers in the prayer room and to the smell of chai simmering away in the copper pot my grandma gave to her. Papa would come in our room, move the curtain for the sun to glare right at our faces, pull away our blankets, plant a big fat kiss on both of our cheeks and lift us in his strong muscular arms taking us straight to the bathroom. By the time we could snap out of our sleep, our teeth would already be brushed and we would be in our running shoes all set for our morning run. Well, Papa's morning run and our- "dragging the feet behind Papa" run! I remember him running towards the sun with the rays falling on his face and the two of us running behind him, hiding in his shadow to save our sleepy eyes from the shine. We would run past the nearby mandir, some local shops, wave hello to half the town and be back home for breakfast.

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The hours after breakfast was what we looked forward to more. It was Sunday so it was a chicken curry day! We knew Papa would get us ready, load us on his scooter, one kid standing in front and other sitting on the back seat, wrapping our two arms around his waist tightly and we would go to the Sunday haat (farmer's market). Carrying our jholas (bags) we would stop at every vendor looking for the plumpest tomatoes, choosing the freshest greens and bargaining for the best deal on potatoes and onions. Last stop would be the butcher shop located at the end of the haat. While waiting for the butcher to get our chicken ready, we would enjoy our ice creams or savor a glass of sweet sugarcane juice. Then head home.

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At home everything from the haat would be washed, twice. Then we would sneak out in the backyard and Papa would get in the kitchen to make his world famous chicken curry. It took him at least two hours to make that chicken curry. The process would start with onion, ginger, garlic paste prepared using a stone grinder. Whole spices ground along until everything turns into a smooth paste. Then his loyal pressure cooker would be pulled out, which by the way was used just on Sundays, just for the chicken curry. The process would begin and the aroma of masala floating in the backyard would get strong and stronger.

collage Two hours later we would lay newspaper on the floor, put or plates on it and lunch would be served. There would just be chicken curry, steaming hot rotis and a simple salad on the side. But that is still and will ever be the best meal one could ever serve to me. So today when I thought of sharing a couple of exciting news with you, I could not think of a better recipe and images to go with the post. Photos here might not be the best ones, but they carry boatloads of memories. Some happy moments we spent with my family during our last visit to India and another golden opportunity where we relished Papa's world famous Chicken Curry.

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Now the happy news. Because of all the love and support you show to Indian Simmer, it has been nominated again for this year's Best Food Blog Awards hosted by SAVEUR Magazine. The nominations are now open for voting till Friday, April 19th. So if you think an Indian food blog deserves to win this year, then please vote for Indian Simmer in the Best Regional Cuisine Category. Every vote counts so please take two minutes and vote. Other than that, I am really excited to be featured on some amazingly popular websites like Refinery 29 and Edamam.com. Feeling so honored right now!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 pounds whole chicken (cleaned and cut into 16- 18 pieces)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 inches ginger root
2-3 hot green chili peppers (adjust according to how much heat you can handle)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup lemon juice + 1/2 teaspoon salt +1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper (marinade)
2-3 bay leaves (dried)
1 1/2 cinnamon stick
3-4 whole black cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5-6 cloves
2 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 cup mustard oil (can substitute with vegetable or olive oil)
1 1/2 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) 
Salt to taste
Handful of chopped cilatro

Method:
Mix the marinade (lemon juice + salt + pepper) well to washed chicken. Set aside for 30 minutes.
In the meantime grind onion, ginger, garlic and green chili into a thick paste. Set aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan with slightly higher sides. A pressure cooker or wok would be a great alternative. Roughly pound the whole spices - bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, cumin and cloves. Add to the hot oil. Stir as they sputter.
Add turmeric. Stir and add the onion paste prepared before. Turn the heat to medium and cook while stirring occasionally until all the liquid has evaporated and the paste is reduced to a dense, golden brown paste.
Add salt, coriander powder and chopped tomato. Turn the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally. Slowly the tomato will begin to melt and then it will all turn into a slightly smooth and loose paste. Wait till oil begins to separate.
Add garam masala, stir in the chicken and mix everything very well. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and cook, uncovering and stirring occasionally. Initially chicken will lose a lot of water but after cooking for 15-20 minutes on medium heat the water will begin reducing. At this point you can either uncover and cook, stirring occasionally or put on the pressure cooker.
If proceeding with the pressure cooker then cover, lock and wait for two whistles and then turn the heat off leaving covered for another 15 minutes.
I prefer the slow cooking so I turn the heat to medium low and let the chicken simmer for another 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked well and the gravy is reduced to a nice thick consistency.
Once the chicken is cooked add ghee and cilatro. Stir well. Cover and let it rest for 15 more minutes before serving with your choice of bread or rice.

147 comments:

  1. You took me back home P! Chicken curry, papa taking over sunday, opening the curtain early morning and removing the blankets, mom prayers, morning tea, accompanying dad to the market.. all of it !

    Beautiful beautiful post and you know how proud I feel to see you grow. You rock it babe :)

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  2. What a beautiful post, love dreading about your childhood memories.....it's amazing how time just slips of our hands like sand ....
    Congratulations !! Awesome job, voted for you and shared it on my fb page.

    Simi

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    Replies
    1. Time does slip out like sand in hand Simi. Thanks so much for your support!

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  3. Congratulations Prerna, well deserved! I love your recipes and your blog, inspires me to cook good food everyday!

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    1. That was the plan! I am thrilled its working :-)

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  4. This warmed my heart. And made me feel a little guilty about the fact that I just ate store bought curry. But I swear one day I'm going to make it myself. From one of your recipes ;)

    Anyhow, so excited to see you nominated - you got my vote!

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    Replies
    1. I will be waiting for that day Ashlae until then enjoy your curry :-)Thanks for your support!

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  5. May your parents live many more (healthy) years, inshallah, inshallah. I loved this post so much - bachpan ki yaad mujhe bhi agayee. Beautiful post, P. You know I am your fan, P, I am rooting for you - I want you to win. I feel blessed to have a friend like you in this crazy world of food blogging. Love, s

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    1. The feeling's mutual S! Its really a blessing to have true friends in this crazy and competitive food blogging world.

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  6. you are a wonderful blogger...loved ur writing....authentic curry

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  7. Beautiful post... Love your writing, photos and everything about this blog! You have such a unique style compared to all the other bloggers :) Cheers!

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    1. AND you get the brownie points of the day! ;-)
      Thanks Chinmayie.

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  8. Ah moms and sons and dads and daughters- that's the way it is in our home too even though my parents will deny it too! Such a beautiful post P! Loved seeing your home and that chicken curry is now world famous :) All the best for Saveur ! Voted, and keeping my fingers and toes crossed!

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    1. Thanks so much Rose and YES mom's love them more that us. Thats a fact ;-)

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  9. A lovely post. Very beautiful pictures and writing. That curry must taste wonderful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  10. Hi Prerna, your post is so beautiful. The photographs brim with nostalgia. Your style of writing captures all the minute details of 'home' (hope you know what I mean). I voted for you in Saveur. Actually hopped onto your blog when Kulsum had shared. Even today when Soma shared the link on FB, thought of connecting with you. I'll be honest, it seemed like a dejavu as last year I had seen a few of your posts - Jalebi etc but probably didn't keep up with your posts.

    Not giving any excuse this time. Good wishes:)

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    1. I am glad that you had the dejavu Ishita. Hope we stick this time :-)

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  11. What are you talking about! the photos are beautiful and the post marvelous. So beautiful P. I'm eating my mom's famous bhuna chicken for lunch too - so there!

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    1. Oh you evil person! Eat that bhuna gosht while I shove some store bought cereal down my throat :-(
      Get us the recipe for bhuna gosht, will ya?

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  12. This by far is your best post, Prerna! You have opened up your soul and the words that came straight from your heart has touched ours too :) Gorgeous pics of your native town and the first pic depicts most of our lives too.

    Congratulations for the nomination. I guess I am bit late for the party in wishing you, but thank goodness not late for voting :)

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    1. You think? That's a big compliment Sia because this post is really close to my heart.

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  13. Beautiful post, yummy recipe. The warm bond you shared with your parents is so evident here. And love the pictures, too. Okay, time to go and vote now!!

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  14. I love your blog, and don't usually comment but wanted to let you know your nomination is so well deserved! Congratulations! and what a yummy recipe! my Mother-in-law is famous for her chicken curry that permeates through the house all afternoon as we wait for her to finish! what a lovely memory and beautiful post

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    1. Don't such memories and the smell of those memories just get stuck to your mind and heart forever? Its amazing! Thanks for the support.

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  15. and I just voted ... you deserve to win!

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  16. You have my vote, for sure!!

    What a beautifully written and emotional post, Prerna. You transported me back to my parents kitchen filled with great memories :)

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    1. That was the plan Kiran. Glad you made that trip :-)

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  17. wow awesome chicken curry...all the best dear and congratulations too...
    "Healthy Recipe Substitution" HRS EVENT Mar 20th to May 20th

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    1. Thanks Anu! You know we share the first name? My whole family calls me by that name :-)

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  18. this is such a raw, genuine post full of love and its all over the recipe (must make), pictures- love love love it..you deserve to win!!! now heading to vote you,

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  19. loved reading your post and the bond you shared with your father. will definitely try your chicken curry.

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  20. I absolutely LOVE this metal trays! Those are sooo cool, I need to find them and buy some for myself. Sounds like a great recipe with some fantastic flavors. Great photography as well!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

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  21. Absolutely gorgeous pictures...with full of life of course. Not the made up ones. Lovely childhood memories I must say. Will surely vote for you.

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  22. What a beautiful tribute to your father!! My father has never cooked... so I don't have these wonderful memories of him in the kitchen. I also love that your father was in charge on Sundays. Well done to your Mother. I need to work out that deal with my husband. :)

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  23. Reminds me of chicken curry and rice sunday lunch at my home!! Ahh.. why did it stop .. I should restart the 'tradition' I say!! All the best for the awards ..hope you win!!

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  24. Lovely post and lovely write up Prerna. It just brings back all the memories from my native land too :):)By the way lovely pics as always.

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  25. One of my favorite posts from your blog - for many many reasons!! and did I see mustard oil?? :) I love you all even more now!

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  26. I loved this post of yours! Came back to read again and view the pictures that beautifully compliment your writing. I could almost smell the food and feel the love and warmth of being with family and all the beautiful memories it brings alive!

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  27. so nostalgic Prerna..you have a way with your words that I could literally imagine how idyllic it could be to sit behind a scooter and ride away in countryside! This must be one of the best chicken curries if made by the dad!

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  28. I know I am late on commenting on this post but trust me I have read it the day you published. I read, I smiled and felt tears in my eyes because I suddenly realize how far I am from my daddy and How much I miss being his little gal and those precious moments....
    You have touched many hearts with this post... I can bet on this! This is just beyond beautiful Prerna!

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  29. Made this recipe over the weekend but with lamb, and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you so much!

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  30. Beautifully written and amazing recipe. Will be trying it soon!
    - Anjana.

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  31. The images and the recipe are mouth watering. It is really amazing that even though you are not in India, the connect to India is very evident. I am really fond of chicken dishes and will definitely try out the recipe posted here.

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  32. Loved reading your post such lovely memories and a great dish to relish!

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  33. I'm loving the thalis and the delicious curry. Great post!

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  34. Simply love the post, and the rustic look of the chicken curry. The picture of the communal thalis makes me miss my family even more! Please do continue posting to bring out the nostalgic in us.

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  35. Book marked the recipe but I will missed the black cardamom as in Bali definitely difficult to find.
    BTW, congratulation on the nomination! you're the star

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  36. We are so glad to found your lovely blog and finally a delicioius and simple recipe for chicken curry. As it happens we have lots of friends from India here in Santa Barbara and we had the pleasure to cook and share meals together.

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  37. This is been yummy.. i would love have the taste.

    Fish store in India

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  38. Hi, loved reading your post, it brought back memories of my childhood, when my dad used to takeover breakfast duties on the weekends....he is no longer with us, but his memory will always be in my heart. On a side note, I was intrigued by the addition of ghee at the end of cooking...I can't wait to try it! Love, love your blog, keep up the good work! My family is always bugging me to write a cookbook or start a blog....I am inspired by you...who knows...lol!!

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  39. Prerana, I loved this post for many reasons; the first photograph explains it all. The 'lime-washed' blue was the icing. Growing up during the tail-end of the B&W TV era had its charms. :-)

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  40. Hi I loved this post. It was so nostalgic of the times I've spent in India with my relatives.

    Keep up the good work.

    Vinni @ masala & missoni
    masalaandmissoni.wordpress.com

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  42. i can smell it from here :D

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  43. That's exactly my childhood up until I lost my father eleven years ago. I still miss him a lot. not a day goes by without me being reminded of the yummy chicken curry my father used to make. Years later, still I'm unable to recreate his recipes. Ur post has really brought tears to my eyes.
    Kudos to you for such wonderful writing n memories!

    Poorna.

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    1. I am sorry Poorna! I can imagine how difficult it must be but guess what, you can make his chicken curry and trust me you will feel him by your side when you eat it. :-) A big warm hug to you!

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  44. Congrats on your nomination -- well deserved! I love this dish, the story, and the incredible photos that accompany it. Childhood memories are always inspiring to me and I can see my own alongside yours here. Reading it made me smile.

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    1. That's really very kind of you Kelly! Thanks so much.

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  45. SOOOOO happy I just found your blog today!!! Gorgeous! And easy to see why you'd be nominated (CONGRATS!). I love chicken curry, and really need to try making it at home ASAP.

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    1. I am SO happy you visited Ashley! Thanks so much :)

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  46. Amazingly beautiful post. Could imagine you two on the scooter with your Dad going to the haat :) Congrats again

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  47. Congratulations on your nomination- your recipes look incredible. I need to try this out!

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  48. Hi. I'm so happy to have found your blog. Thank you for sharing your stories and recipe. I tried your chicken curry for my Bible group. Everyone loves it. They thought it's better than some of the good Indian restaurants in Los Angeles. Thank you. I almost cried reading your story of your dad's cooking. Makes me miss my dad a lot. Happy Mother's Day. Blessings.

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  49. Prerna,

    Was just catching up on your latest posts. I adore these photos so much and what a sweet ode to your father:)

    C

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  50. I hump this recipe ! Reminds me of you making scoop at home, Mom.
    And it's fun to see photos of your asylum there and see
    Dad in that comfy situation we sat in when we visited,
    attempting to use the moderato internet :)

    I can't wait to center how the cleanse reversed out in terms
    of using it. Does it smell divergent since it is prefabricated with
    fauna fat? Any additional differences from vegetable-based scoop?

    Bang you!

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  51. Hi Prerna this is my first time here and should say you have a wonderful space with some great recipes.

    Best wishes
    Rekha

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  52. Hey! Same pinch! Sundays in our house was Dad's Chicken curry day too! My dad's was a tad bit different, but your post brought back the same childhood memory.

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  53. Hi Prerna..loved ur blog.. D words seemed right outta ur heart.. Nd i thoroughly connected with it.
    Seemed like a lil story that ud like to go back and read again.

    It gets you into this nostalgic lil feel.

    Wish u good luck!!


    Best Regards
    Aditi Khanna Kapoor

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  54. Great dish. Thanks for uploading the photos by the way, I am hungry for it.

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  55. Next time when I will cook chicken, I will think of your father.

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  56. Lovely pics. And that Chicken curry looks yum (y)

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  57. Hello from Greece!Seems so tasty!!!Very nice blog, congratulations!

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  58. Love your "sunday story" I am a photographer, chef and dad. My 2 daughters and I have similar " sundays"
    Great blog, I will visit again soon. For now its back to grinding =chicken curry.

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  59. Oh! I had not read this post earlier. Just brought tears to my eyes...I miss that simple life back home.

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  60. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  61. sorry - this looks awesome - but you leave the roughly pounded Cinnamon sticks, pods, and Bay Leaves... in the paste? I'm not excited about biting down on a hard Cinnamon stick. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Thanks much!

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    Replies
    1. That's how my dad makes chichken curry and that how I grew up eating. If yo do not like the whole spice syou can always fish them out of your curry or grind it with the onion paste that you prep. Hope that helps.

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  62. Thanks for the wonderful recipe and very touching story of your family. I unfortunately didn't grow up in a family where I could totally be myself (by choice), but you made me daydream and re-imagine what it would be like if I was back home, now that I am comfortable with my sexuality.

    I love curries. All sorts of curries. I grew up with curries. The house I grew up in smelt like curries daily. My mother's apron was stained with various splatters of curry. I love every aspect of making a curry, but somehow I am yet to master one amazing pot of curry.
    Thank you for sharing this and I will try making it.

    Mohan
    mobitesfood.com

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  63. Lovely pictures and recipe! I love chicken curry and the curry which I most often make at home is Chicken Salna - http://nithyascorner.com/?p=72. When I want a leisure time, I cook Chicken curry becos I can have it with rice as well as a sidedish for Rotis. Gonna try your version soon.

    -Nithyascorner
    http://nithyascorner.com/

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  64. Nice post, I bookmark your blog because I found very good information on your blog, Thanks for sharing mora a informatiom
    http://goo.gl/tGqfRs

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  65. Very nice post...congrats...nice pics too...will get back to you with feedback for ur recipe...cheers mate..:)

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  66. Came across your recipe by chance. Thank you much! Because we had a shortage of ingredients tonight, here is what i did inspired by your recipe, and its turned out awesomely yummy :-)
    Marinated the chicken, lemon juice and salt. Stirred the cinnamon stick, pepper corns, coriander and cumin powder, onions, garlic, ginger paste in hot mustard oil. Added chopped potato. stirred until oil separated. Added cooked tomatoes that i had on hand. Waited till everything was soft. Added turmeric and salt. Plunked in the chicken pieces. Let the mixture boil for a bit and then added a spoon of peanut butter blended in warm water. Topped with a little hot ghee. Coriander when we served. I love working with what I have on hand :-)

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  67. Found this too at the end of a busy day. Worth the effort to make this. Tastes amazing!

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  68. Hi just found this wonderful site, I made the chicken vindaloo and it was fantastic, I now want to make the above curry but unsure about one thing, in your recipe you describe roughly pounding the whole spices but when describing your childhood you mention the following " The process would start with onion, ginger, garlic paste prepared using a stone grinder. Whole spices ground along until everything turns into a smooth paste". so my question is would it be better to grind the whole spices to powder?

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  69. I enjoyed reading your blog and cooking the chicken curry as i am typing this. You have a way of getting in those nostalgic details and transporting your readers to your childhood days.Wish you well!!

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  70. I am hoping to win my Indian boyfriend's heart with this recipe. Wish this white gal luck!

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  71. Wow. What a beautiful post. Really wonderful to read and look at. Thank you for sharing such an authentic chicken curry recipe Prerna Singh!

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  72. Hello,
    We love your recipes, especially when its on Chicken Curry.
    These are so delicious.
    I have always looked at your blog for the various pictures and the way you write.Just Love it!
    You have shared some nice information about Chicken Curry in this post.
    The points you mentioned are genuine and perfect.
    The content completely describes about the topic you wanted to portray with us.
    Thanks for sharing such valuable post.

    Regards
    VentairIndia Team

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  73. Greetings,
    I absolutely adore your pictures, and storiews from your childhood. I am an American who is married to a wonderful Hindu man, and I'm always looking for great indian food recipes, and I came across this just now. I must say that I admire the story, and pics, and of course the delicious recipe. Thank you and best of luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
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