The winds howled, the rains lashed…
…that was what went on throughout the whole day and night yesterday. Bands of bad weather swept across much of the UK , causing travel disruption and localised flooding. We were lucky, in the sense, that, inspite of the severe gales and rain, we have not suffered the above mentioned calamities. Of course, today is a different story altogether…the skies have cleared, the sun, however dim it’s light, is trying to brighten up things a bit with a soft glow. The wet fences seem to be on their way to drying up. One thing I never fail to notice is how squeaky clean everything looks, after the rains…even the air has a nice feel to it.
Whenever there is a severe bashing by the wind, I always remember my ma. She is quite a strong woman, but when it comes to thunderstorms ( Bordoicila, as we called them, of which we experienced plenty in our region), she cannot hide her feelings. I remember , when we were little, she would go around with that expression on her face…at first glance she did seem calm, but on closer inspection, one could actually see the agitation in her eyes. Deuta (father), of course, knew it all too well, and would try to lighten her up.
As for myself, I feel a strange mixed sensation, especially if it’s at night. The rains against the window pane and the silhouette of the now bare trees being shoved to and fro by the seemingly angry winds against the dark night do give me goosebumps too… and I feel thankful that my dear ones are safe beside me and not caught up to bear the brunt of one of nature’s furious moments…at the same time, there arises some kind of empathy for those who aren’t as lucky!
Now, when it comes to food, huddled indoors and gorging on a spicy dish , can do wonders at times. The following recipe for a spicy chicken in a coconut milk gravy is not something I, personally, would indulge in, frequently…but reserve for those times when life needs spicing up
The recipe follows…
700 gms of chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
3 cloves of garlic,1 inch of ginger, 2 chopped onions and 1 chopped yellow pepper, ground to a paste
1 tomato sliced
3 tbls of oil
for tempering-1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 whole red chilli, 2 pods of cardamom, 1 inch stick of cinnamon, 3 cloves and 2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder(more or less)
1 tsp cumin powder( freshly roasted and ground cumin seeds, if possible)
3/4 C coconut milk diluted with 3/4 C of water(you can use undiluted coconut milk if you like…we find it a bit too strong on its own)
salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the ingredients for tempering.
- When the seeds splutter and the whole spices begin to leave their aroma, add the sugar.
- When the sugar begins to melt and caramalize( take care not to burn it), add the onion- ginger- garlic- pepper paste along with the turmeric and cumin powders.
- Stir continuously and cook till the water evaporates and it becomes lumpy.
- Add the tomato, along with a pinch of salt and cook covered, stirring now and then, till mushy.
- Add the chicken pieces, season with salt, stir and cook covered over low heat till done 3/4ths of the way ( keep stirring in between).
- Increase the heat to high till most of the moisture is absorbed.
- Pour in the coconut milk/water mixture and add the garam masala powder.
- Stir and cook covered over low heat till the chicken is cooked completely and the gravy thickens.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with rice or with rotis, naans and parathas.
We had ours with some plain rice and a dash of lemon juice. And did we like it…you bet we did…little Agastya, in fact, kept asking me to make it for him even after a couple of days…so , there you go…it got the compliments from one of my harshest critics, what more could I ask