A fury and some spice…

by Sunita on January 16, 2008

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…

What’s needed-

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

How to-

  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the ingredients for tempering.
  2. When the seeds splutter and the whole spices begin to leave their aroma, add the sugar.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir continuously and cook till the water evaporates and it becomes lumpy.
  5. Add the tomato, along with a pinch of salt and cook covered, stirring now and then, till mushy.
  6. 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).
  7. Increase the heat to high till most of the moisture is absorbed.
  8. Pour in the coconut milk/water mixture and add the garam masala powder.
  9. Stir and cook covered over low heat till the chicken is cooked completely and the gravy thickens.
  10. 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 :-D

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Happy cook January 16, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Delicious Chicken.Yeah nothing better than a delicious spicy chicken when the weahter is bad.
Here too the weather was really bad. I love when it is thundering. When it thunders in the night I am always listening to the far rumbles which is comming closer and clsoer and then fading away


2 Rina January 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Absolutely love this.. Beautiful picture…Can’t wait to try this coconut milk gravy dry version.


3 Mishmash ! January 16, 2008 at 4:09 pm

we have a similar preparation too. Neat presentation and pic :)



4 sunita January 16, 2008 at 4:18 pm

happycook, thanks…glad you dropped by :-)


5 sunita January 16, 2008 at 4:19 pm

rina, thanks…do give it a try.


6 sunita January 16, 2008 at 4:23 pm

shn, do you?…you know what, I had bought the coconut milk for something else…used it here on a whim…btw, have you posted your recipe.


7 Sig January 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Looks yummy… as shn said there is a similar Kerala chicken curry too… I can have it every day however the weather is outside :) … Hope the weather gets better for you soon Sunita…


8 Rachel January 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Tell me about it..I am not very fond of (actually i am petrified)thunder and lightning!!! It just freaks me out…

Lovely chicken,,and beautiful picture…


9 vimmi January 16, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Looks yummy. There re so many diff chicken recipes in indian cooking, its unbelievable.

By yellow pepper do u mean yellow bell pepper??


10 Sagari January 16, 2008 at 6:21 pm

chicken gravy is myyyyy favvvvv your recipe looks delecious sunitha pic looks beautiful and tempting


11 remya January 16, 2008 at 7:07 pm

wats is better than a spicy chicken curry n rice…..we make similar chicken in coocnut milk in kerala….love to have them ….


12 sunita January 16, 2008 at 9:01 pm

sig,I very rarely use coconut milk …but loved it this way :-) …as for the weather, it was quite nice today, but the met office has warned of severe weather still to come though…fingers crossed.


13 sunita January 16, 2008 at 9:04 pm

rachel, I’m probably better than you :-D …glad you like the curry :-)


14 sunita January 16, 2008 at 9:05 pm

vimmi, thanks..and yes you’re right…plenty of variations to choose from.


15 sunita January 16, 2008 at 9:06 pm

sagari, thanks…nice to have you over.


16 sunita January 16, 2008 at 9:08 pm

remya, thanks…glad you dropped by :-)


17 Namratha January 16, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Fabulous looking curry Sunita :) Thank goodness you and your family were safe. We are having bad weather today and pleasantly surprising, since its snowing here..been a long time.


18 Padma January 17, 2008 at 1:30 am

I do make this chicken curry with coconut milk but not that often as it has lotsa cholestrol…. juz reserve it for some special occassion.


19 Nags January 17, 2008 at 3:59 am

i love coconut milk based gravies especially for chicken and fish. but i am too lazy to extract the milk and all that. in kerala, we get coconut milk powder packets but its not available in hyderabad.

looks yummy :)


20 Red Chillies January 17, 2008 at 4:01 am

Ah Sunita. I am a vegetarian, I come here often to see your beautiful pictures and your heart felt, thoughtful write-up.


21 sunita January 17, 2008 at 8:48 am

namratha, thanks…we are lucky in a sense that our neck of the woods somehow seems to escape the extremities (touch wood)…you take care.


22 sunita January 17, 2008 at 8:49 am

padma, I agree… I too wouldn’t dare make it very often :-)


23 sunita January 17, 2008 at 8:51 am

nags, thanks..well, I too would have probably refrained from going through all the bother if the cans weren’t available here :-D


24 sunita January 17, 2008 at 8:53 am

red chillies, thank you so much…I sure love to have you here.


25 Miri January 17, 2008 at 12:03 pm

What not to like about coconut milk?! :) the chicken curry looks delicious and dont need to wait for a stormy day for me!


26 Rajitha January 17, 2008 at 7:40 pm

sunita..i am a vegetarian..but that bowl got me drooling!! you sure are good…and i know it is wierd..but i really like thunderstorms..of-course my mom wa not too happy about that ;)


27 sunita January 17, 2008 at 7:46 pm

miri, thanks…some things really need no occasion :-)


28 sunita January 17, 2008 at 7:48 pm

rajitha,yaay! I got you drooling ;-) …as for the thunderstorms, I do have mixed feelings…


29 Pragyan January 20, 2008 at 1:07 am

Hi Sunita, A belated happy new year to you and your family. Hey, you should send the first pic of this post with water spots in the glass to CLICK event – Liquid.


30 sunita January 21, 2008 at 10:52 am

pragyan, thanks…hope you and your family had a great start to the new year too .


31 proma July 30, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Hi Sunita,
The chicken looks amazing…I’m going to cook it tonight for my family…


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