In this hot sizzling summer, we all prefer to have something simple and light. The curries I make during summer is less oily and spicy. So last Sunday when the kid and the man asked to have a simple chicken curry for lunch I went for my Ma's special chicken curry recipe.
The curry my Ma makes is very simple, chicken on bone slow cooked along with onion, garlic and other few common spices. I have tried to recreate this curry so many times, but unable to achieve the exact flavor like my Ma does. May be mothers have magic in their hand, that makes something simple to be very special.
For few reasons I never ask recipes from my mother. Either she will say it is too simple why you need a recipe? or in between the narration of a recipe she will ask me whether she uses that particular spice or the other!!! So better stand quietly next to her while she is cooking that particular dish, ignoring all her attempt to send you back to your own room and watch precisely what's going on actually. What I have learnt from these observations is that you may know what spices go in which curry but you should know when to add them and how much to add. And I learnt this chicken curry that way, by watching her.
The lightly spiced thin curry with chicken and potato is simple yet delectable. A chicken curry that used to be our Sunday special lunch, along with some Gondhoraj lebu (an aromatic Lime) and steamed white rice. I still remember how we used to enjoy the leftover curry for dinner with freshly made ruti (whole wheat flat bread). And this curry is still a part of my regular menu, specially when we are in a mood for something simple. Though I know it is not possible to replicate the same taste as ma's, but after trial and error for 10 years it's somewhere very close. And to my outright pleasure my daughter loves this curry too.
Things needed to make Ma's Special Chicken Curry:
- Chicken (on bone): 700 gm (cut into 12 pieces)
- Potato: 5-6 small or 2 large cut into quarters
- Red Onion or shallots (finely chopped): 1/2 cup
- Garlic (crushed): 2 tbsp
- Ginger (grated): 1 tbsp
- Tomato (grated): 1 large
- Cumin powder: 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
- Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp
- Kashmiri red chili powder: 1 tsp
- Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
- Cinnamon stick: 1
- Green cardamom: 4-5
- Cloves: 5-6
- Green chilies: 5-6
- Mustard oil: 3-4 tbsp*
- Vinegar: 2 tbsp
- Sugar: 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
Steps of making Ma's Special Chicken Curry:
1. Clean the chicken pieces, pat them dry. Marinate the chicken pieces with vinegar and red chili powder. Peel the potatoes, if you are using large potatoes then cut them into quarters. I prefer to use small potatoes and keep them whole.
2. Heat mustard oil in a pan, fry the potatoes till nicely brown from all sides. Keep aside.
3. Add more oil to the same pan, when the oil is hot, reduce heat and add a teaspoon full sugar. Add crushed garlic. Cook for 1 min, or till the garlic starts to change red, add the whole spices cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves. Cook for 1-2 min.
4. Add finely chopped onion and cook till nicely brown. Add grated ginger, mix well and cook for 2 min. Add grated tomato (discard the seeds), mix well and cover the pan, cook over medium flame for 2-3 min.
5. Add the dry spices, turmeric powder, cumin powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, along with a spoon full of water, mix well. Cook over low heat for 3 min, keep stirring. Add the chicken pieces. Discard any excess vinegar. Add salt and mix well. For the first 5-6 min cook over high heat and keep stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium and cover the pan and cook for 10 min. The chicken will release a considerable amount of water. Uncover and cook till oil separates from the spices. At this point there will be very less water, so be careful not to burn the meat pieces.
6. Add 1.5 cups of hot water. Let it boil. Add the fried potatoes, cover the pan and cook till the potatoes are done. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly. Add garam masala powder, green chilies (use whole, this to impart a distinct flavor), switch off the heat. Cover the pan and let it rest for 10 min. Serve hot with steaming hot rice.
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