17 May, 2018
Country Captain Chicken : Cooking and Reminiscing
It has been so long since I sat down to write something. Truth be said, I was confused, I had forgotten how to get to my blog and was frustrated. But things turned out just fine, as is evident from the fact that I am sharing my little tale with you. Before I get to the food and my recipe of the day, I want to share a story with you. I hope you will be able relate to it; because it is about my life, in food and outside it. Many years ago ( guess that's how all stories should begin) I fell in love with food, with the entire cooking process. I was fascinated by ingredients, textures, flavors, aromas and colors. It all began in my Grandma's kitchen. You can read my first blog post of the same name. Anyway, I dreamed of a life in food, I had aspirations to train and become a chef some day. As it so happens, sometimes your course of life is mapped out by other people, authority figures mostly. In a family of academics a chef would certainly be a sore thumb. Food and cooking were relegated to Second Position and bracketed under hobbies and I followed 'my one true love' into the wilderness aka the world at large. I studied Literature. Now, please do not be under the illusion that I hated my course of study. I loved it. I had always been an avid reader, all thanks to my Dad. So, it seemed but natural that I should train to be a teacher of English Lit. And I did. I got my degrees and started teaching undergrads. But, what about food then? It was always there. I cooked for family, friends and colleagues, for get- togethers , parties and picnics. After all, I was a "good cook", cooking was my "hobby". At the end of a dozen years, at the very moment when I was to submit my Doctoral Thesis ( supposedly a feather in the cap) I quit. I was free, to the utter dismay of all and sundry who thought I was insane. I baked and cooked with a vengeance, as if I had to make up for lost time. So, the teacher turned home chef and food blogger. After several years of bliss, I am back to being a teacher once again, but with a difference. This time around it was a conscious decision to take up what I had given up. Because, I can never quit being a teacher, one part of me will always hanker for students, noisy classrooms and assignments. Yes, I am a home chef too. I have the best of both worlds. Still trying to balance both, which accounts for this late post.
I am in the middle of my summer break, hence I have time to spend in my kitchen. Chicken is a perennial favorite in my family. So, I keep thinking of different ways to cook it. I was attracted to the history behind the rather delicious Country Captain Chicken. I love things with a bit of history. So, as I looked for the origins of this Anglo-Indian dish, I came across these rather intriguing tit bits, courtesy Wikipedia. For instance, this dish earned its name from some unknown 19th century sea captain, presumably from the East India Company who transported it from India to the American South via Savannah. Originally, it was just a simple chicken dish involving onions and curry. And yes, the word "country" refers to India and not to Britain. With time , the dish evolved as cooks started adding other ingredients (as I have) . I do not know what the early curries must have tasted like. I do not know even know if my curry is authentic. I just loved cooking it, adding a little of this and a little of that! I hope you will like it too...
- Chicken : 1 kg
- FOR MARINADE :
- Ginger paste : 1 tbsp
- Garlic paste : 1 tbsp
- Onion paste : 1 tbsp
- Lemon juice : 1 whole lemon
- Black Pepper : ½ tsp
- Red chili powder : As per taste
- Salt to taste
- FOR CURRY:
- Onion : 3 (large) or 4 (med) sliced fine
- Green chilies : 3 slit
- Tomato : 1 (large) chopped
- Raisins : handful
- Chicken stock : ½ cup
- Vegetable oil : 3 tbsp
- Fresh coriander : for garnish
- Marinate chicken with all ingredients under marinade. Put in a ziplock bag or cover with clingfilm and keep overnight in the fridge.
- Heat oil in a non stick wok (medium heat)
- Add sliced onions and fry till golden. Remove half onto kitchen paper, keep aside.
- Increase heat. Add green chilies and chicken.
- Fry till chicken is well browned. Add tomatoes.
- Stir together for 5 minutes. Cover and lower heat till tomatoes soften.
- Add chicken stock, half of the raisins. Cover and cook till chicken is almost done.
- Uncover and increase heat. Dry most of the curry.
- Remove. Garnish with fried onions, coriander and raisins.
- Serve hot over rice.