Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Chicken Jalfrezi

Is there anybody out there who hasn't been bored by the 'regular'chicken curry. By 'regular' I mean the version that you always make, the one you know how to cook without looking up a recipe... I was almost beginning to hate chicken when suddenly I looked at the chicken in the freezer and "Chicken Jalfrezi"jumped at me. I had heard about this recipe but never tasted or seen Chicken Jalfrezi and it was one of those moments when inspiration hits and there is no turning back. So on to the internet and then began the process of elimination of various jalfrezi recipes and finally found this one that looked authentic and doable.

This is the slightly modified version that I made
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlicchopped

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken
3teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 medium tomatoes diced

2.5 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Heat the oil and add onions and garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, and season with turmeric, chili powder and salt.Cook the chicken till it is slightly browned at edges.
Add tomatoes and cover the pan, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Uncover, and simmer for another 10 minutes to let the excess liquid evaporate.
Add the cumin, ground coriander, ginger and cilantro, and simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes.

I was apprehensive about the 3tsp of turmeric as it seemed a little too much(compared with rest of the spices), but I guess that what was what made the Jalfrezi distinct...the 'nicer' color and that distinct taste.And the one other thing that was different from my usual chicken curry was the addition of cumin. I slightly decreased the amount of cumin. But I was glad to be free from the generic 'chicken curry' and to venture into new territory.

The day we did the unthinkable.....

Recently, we did a very daring act. We made a 7 course dinner. Although it seemed very daunting it turned out fine and definitely was worth the effort. The occasion was the wedding anniversary of our dear friends who are food freaks like we are. So what better gift than a homemade dinner. I did not manage to get photos of all the dishes as we thought of the pictures halfway through the dinner and then was too lazy to take pictures and spoil the mood. But these are the pictures that we managed to click.
So here is the menu

Crab and corn dumplings with dipping sauce
This was an original recipe inspired by a dish we had at a Japanese restaurant.

Second course
Mini wonton shells filled with lemon zest and chicken salad

Third course
Crab and mushroom chowder

Fourth course
Shitake and mushroom- hazelnut salad

Fifth course
Lime and basil sorbet

Roasted rack of lamb with rice pilaf and roasted vegetables

Chocolate pots de crème

( The pots de creme can be seen in the background in the white ramekin )

Hope to post the recipes sometime soon....

Curry leaves....the plant!

Newly acquired curry leaf plant.
This guy is now in a pot and is inside the house in an attempt to save it from the cold. Hopefully it will survive.
Anyone who is from Kerala will know how abundant curry leaves are in every household. Neighbors feel free to come and pick the leaves off the plants and sometimes these plants even grow up to be medium sized trees. I lived in Florida for a few years and curry leaves grow quite abundantly over there too...I was recently asked how much is 2 sprigs of curry leaves..so here it is....if you pluck 2 small stems of the plant each with 8 to 10 leaves, that constitutes 2 sprigs of leaves. Just like the one shown below.

Sharing the bounty

This is a collection of vegetables brought back home after a visit to the house of a very dear relative.
Almost every Keralite living in America and owning a house has a kitchen garden. And the list of plants growing in the kitchen garden is very predictable. They are peppers, eggplant, ladys finger or okra, pavakkai, snakegourd,payar and tomatoes.The pavakkai and snakegourd hanging from well made support systems is a sight that will take you right back home.So if you have a few friends and family nearby then you do not need to worry about buying these vegetables from the grocery store, as long as you make a point to visit at regular intervals. Sometimes you get so much stuff that your freezer is full of frozen veggies,waiting to be used at a later date.

This post has been lying in the can for a while, and thanks to a friendly reminder, I am back to blogging.