Apologies at the start…….if this gets too cumbersome to read. I have, for long now, been wanting to pen down words that have been dripping, dancing and wreaking havoc in my mind. The cold has weaned, pleasant breeze that gently taps at the window, prompts me to procure from the recesses of my mind the words that have been restless, very restless of late.
I am not a great cook, but take a lot of pleasure and pride in cooking. Having been restricted of late due to “an” accident I had( I call it “an” because I try not to make a big deal out of it, and I’m recovering satisfactorily well), I haven’t been able to prepare any dishes in my safe haven(my kitchen). I really feel safe here, from the world, cocooned in spicy aromas, morning cling clangs of dishes and also the morning mess!!
So here it is, I prepare my little one’s favourite delicacy, the very sought after butter chicken in the family. The “man”asks me if I could use a little help from him, which I blatantly deny. Blatantly because I feel powerful, I can swing my hand a little and I love the smile that resides in the corner of his lips when I say a powerful “no”.
To begin with, I marinate the chicken with lemon juice, salt, red chilli powder, wait for another fifteen minutes and add yogurt, oil, kasuri methi and garam masala. I set it aside for about 45 minutes and in the meanwhile prepare the tomato puree in the blender.
I hear the “man” telling the little one to go out and play with her friends, but she says she is waiting for the chicken to be served, he tells it’s going to be a long time, she still wants to be at home till it is done, he shakes his head in discontent, looks at me and I know the words in his mind….”She is just like you…….”. And I secretly smile…….I love these voices around…….
So, back to the recipe, I heat some butter, very little, in a pan, and fry the marinated chicken. Lots of moisture begins to ooze out.
Hmmmm……I love when the garlic and ginger aroma wafts out. I flip flop and cook on high till my chicken turns golden brown.
Okay, there it is, almost done. I remove this and keep it aside. Another vessel, I heat butter, add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and green chillies and sauté for a minute or two.
My left hand is still not stable and see what I have done!!!!!!!
I have dropped the cloves on the floor, but I cannot be that swift to sweep it all up. So I leave it at that and continue with the tomato puree whilst I stand on my toes taking care not to step on them. Okay so here goes the puree…….
I add red chilli powder and salt and cook on high till it begins to leave the sides. Then I pour in one cup of water, methi powder and almond paste……
It boils and simmers for a while. Then I add kasuri methi and garam masala while it boils.
Now, I add the chicken and let it simmer again for a while. I check the pieces with a fork, they are done, so I check the salt and spice.
I guess the aroma is too strong, the “man” has resigned from his laptop and is sauntering towards the kitchen for the customary ”tasting”. So I hurriedly empty the dish to be served. I never preferred them licking from the pan. Here…….
It still needs garnishing with cream and coriander, but they cannot wait………..so be it.
Phew!!!! I am wondering just how effortlessly we do minion tasks in a day without even a second thought at which muscle is in work and which ligament supports what.
To lift the above dish and to place it on the dining table is an almost herculean effort for me at present but I do manage with my “man” walking behind me and grumbling over the “Adventure” I have undertaken. I ask the “very sullen” him if he really wants to help, he can sweep up the cloves. This he does quickly, he is hungry……
I am on the lounger, again voices, one instructs the other to place the mats, get the bowls, the salad, the very green chutney………
And now we are gathered around again, like before, in my safe haven…….