Saturday, November 7, 2009

Legacy From The Past

Great Grandmother's Pepper Chicken
Another family favourite, this recipe can be made with any kind of meat. However chicken was frequently used as my aunt kept chickens and had no compulsions in slaughtering them. It was also very easy to make and ready in a jiffy. The women in my immediate family were great cooks. Any occasion was a time to socialize and also to exchange recipes and ideas. And we children were the beneficiaries as we were ready to ‘devour’ anything at any time. In fact this recipe made our mouths water as the most delicious aromas wafted on the evening breeze from the kitchen, right into the garden… enticing us to the dining room well ahead of time. My mother cooked this pretty often; and my children love it too. They swear that ‘Nana’s cooking is the best in the world!’ In fact, though an expert in international cuisine, my favourite food will always be the recipes my mother inherited from her mother, grandmother and other family members. These recipes not only hold the family together, but give us a peek into the past. What an awesome legacy and what an awesome feeling to be bound to the past through something as ordinary as a recipe. Viva la Great Grandmother!

The Recipe:

(Essentially a dry dish)
1 kg chicken, jointed; 3 onions, sliced; 2 onions chopped; ½ tsp. turmeric powder; 1 tbsp vinegar; salt to taste; 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper powder or more to taste; 1 stick cinnamon; 5 cloves, 2 sprigs curry leaves; few fried potatoes and curry leaves for garnishing; salt to taste.
Roast the cinnamon and cloves. Powder and keep at hand.

Cook chicken with 2 chopped onions, turmeric, ½ cup water, salt, vinegar and pepper. When done keep aside. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a frying pan and add the curry leaves, followed by the onions. Fry onions to golden brown. Add the chicken (reserve stock) and gently stir fry till brown. Add the reserved stock and simmer till it evaporates. Add the roasted and powdered spices. Gently mix and remove. If gravy is desired, can add more water; simmer 2 minutes and remove. Garnish with fried potatoes and curry leaves. Serve with curd (white rice mixed with yoghurt) rice or white rice or bread.

NB This is the original recipe.

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