Thursday, August 14, 2008

Indian Cooking Lesson!

I'm staying with my brother, his wonderful Indian wife, Gagan, and my two baseball-crazy nephews while I look for a job and a place in New York. For a couple of days now, my routine has been to go to apartment showings in the morning, then come back to my brother's place and make phone calls about jobs and hang out with my sister-in-law during the day before I go explore the city at night.

Gagan has promised me that she'll teach me how to cook Indian food while I'm staying with them, which is something I've always wanted to be able to do. From what I can tell about Indian cuisine, the biggest challenge is finding the right ingredients because most of it is made with spices that aren't in your typical North American (or European!) cupboard. Gagan tells me that there are a bunch of Indian stores on 23rd street in Manhattan where you can get ahold of the spices that you need.

Yesterday, Gagan taught me how to make authentic Indian Ginger Chicken! Gagan learned to make it from a close friend of her family. It's kind of hard to write down the recipe for it, because there aren't a lot of exact measurements involved, Gagan just sort of took a handful of this or a handful of that, however much she felt was right for the recipe. It turned out great- better than a lot of the stuff I've had at Indian restaurants.

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Indian Ginger Chicken
About 6 chicken thighs and 6 chicken drumsticks- I think about 2 lbs? (1 kg?) Whatever kind of chicken you use, make sure it's on the bone, it'll turn out tender

Marinade:
2 inches ginger (meaning two inches lengthwise of a piece of ginger)
Hari mirch- small green chili peppers (these are HOT. For true desis, they use about 4 of them, but for wimpy non-desis like me, use maybe a half a chili)
4 big spoons of yoghurt
a handful of kasoori methi- dried fenugreek leaves
a handful of dried crushed Dhania- coriander
a handful of jeera- dried cumin seeds
a handful of garam masala- a blend of lots of different spices
a big bunch of fresh chopped corriander
salt and black pepper to taste

Take the skin off the chicken and wash it. Set it aside. Peel and dice the ginger and chili. Mix everything together in a big bowl. Taste it before putting in the chicken, and add any more spices you might want. Add the chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for however long you can be bothered to, the longer the better, overnight is good

Olive oil
2 more inches ginger
2 ts jeera- cumin seeds
a couple spoonfuls of garam masala
3 big spoons crushed tomatoes
salt to taste

Cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil. Heat the pot to high. Peel and chop the ginger. Saute ginger, jeera, and garam masala for a few minutes. Add entire chicken mixture, marinade and all. Saute on high until yoghurt has largely evaporated. Add crushed tomatoes. Cover, cook on high for another half hour. Salt to taste.

Serve with rice and some Indian veggies, maybe some naan. I hope to learn how to make those soon!

*****

1 comment:

O said...

Note for those Vegetarians among us out there - this works great with vegetarian "fake chicken" strips that you can get in most grocery stores as well. (not the breaded cutlets or nuggets, but the gluten or seitan strips). I snuck a little of the chicken at the same time and personally I thought the fake chicken was even better. Could be my loss of "chicken" taste buds, however.