What makes me nostalgic at times is when my friends give me a call and tell how badly they miss the parties we had at our place and the chicken curry I cooked. That’s not the only thing that makes me nostalgic pertaining to my bachelor days, but to keep away from being emotional, I shall stick with this quick and easy chicken curry recipe for bachelors.
I have tried my hands in cooking various dishes. Once I got a kitchen and gas connection, that was all I needed. It has been my passion. Not that I was extremely good at it, but apparently I was decent enough for my friends to long for the dishes I cooked. This brought me to the thought that many bachelors think cooking chicken is some rocket science. But believe me, it’s perhaps the easiest dish to cook.
Besides the ingredients, all that you need handy is a contained well managed most important invention of mankind – fire (I would suggest a gas stove) and a pressure cooker. It’s that simple that I am writing this recipe just from my mind, without even taking a look at all the utilities in my kitchen.
To begin with the recipe, let’s start off with the ingredients.
Chicken – around 750 gms in medium sized pieces
Onions – 4 to 5 medium sized – finely chopped
Tomatoes – 1 to 2 medium sized (finely chopped)
Ginger – Grated 1 table spoon
Garlic – Grated 1 table spoon
In case it’s a lot of trouble to grate the ginger and garlic, play it simple, get a ginger garlic paste. Though I prefer grating the ginger and garlic myself.
Bay leaves – 2
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Cardamon – 2 sticks
Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon.
Coriander – 1 tablespoon chopped
Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder – 1 tablespoon
Garam masala – 1 tablespoon
Green chilies – 2 to 3
Red chili powder – 1 tea spoon
Salt (as per taste)
Oil – 3 tablespoons
Water – 1 to 1½ cup.
With all the ingredients ready, let’s start off with the preparation.
Now, the idea is to keep it simple. I do not want to complicate things because we know how hard life can be for bachelors when it comes to the kitchen.
Step 1: Wash the chicken properly and drain out the water. What we need to do first is marinate the chicken. A simple marinating process which you are open to improvise (I have done that a lot) is what we shall try. Mix the coriander powder, turmeric powder, some salt and a teaspoon of oil to the chicken. Keep the marinated chicken aside. I would advise that the marinated chicken should be kept in a non-metallic vessel in a refrigerator. But that’s not compulsory.
Step 2: Now comes the cooking part. Just a simple advice – cook on low to medium flame for better results. Put the oil in the cooker and heat it on the gas. When the oil bubbles begin to disappear put the cinnamon stick, cardamom and the bay leaves. Allow them to flutter for half a minute.
Step 3: Here we shall prepare the base with onions. Put the chopped onions in the cooker and stir continuously. When the onions start appearing translucent or golden brown, put the green chilies, grated ginger and garlic and and keep mixing till you see the onion releasing it’s juices.
Step 4: The main ingredient comes next. Put in the marinated chicken in the cooker. Keep stirring. This is one part where you will require some effort. You have to stir continuously and not let the chicken stick to the floor of the cooker. If you notice, we have not mixed any water till this point. The idea is to cook the chicken in the oil and fat released from the meat.
Step 5: When you see that there is fat or oil being released from the chicken meat also, mix the tomatoes, red chili powder and garam masala. Stir for some more time. Now mix water and stir for a few more minutes until you see the added water starting to boil. Sprinkle salt as per your taste and shut the lid of the pressure cooker.
Step 6: Left are the final touches. Switch off the gas after one or maximum two whistles. More than 1 or 2 whistles can make the meat extremely tender especially if you are using broiler chicken. Once the gas is released from the cooker, open the cooker and sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves on top of the chicken.
And you are good to go. Relish the chicken prepared from the sweat of your own brow (not literally). Before I end up on this quick recipe for bachelors, let me give a few pointers. There are a whole lot of ways you can improvise as I had mentioned earlier.
1. You can put some curd during the marinating process to give the cooked chicken a thicker texture.
2. If you like the chicken hot and spicy, you may like to add a few more green chilies. I am not really fond of red chili powder and it’s after effect, so would suggest to stick with the good old green chilies.
3. If you want to prepare a close variant of chicken dopyaza, may be you can add one more onion to the ingredients. Another half onion can be chopped and fried separately and mixed along with the coriander leaves during the final touches.
4. You can also try to remove the tomatoes from the set of ingredients or add more of it.
5. Tamarind water while marinating can give a tangy taste to the chicken, if that is the taste you prefer.
6. For further simplicity, there are readily available chicken masalas in the market. You can use them too, if you want to avoid the hassle of the different spices (cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon etc.) that go into the chicken. You just need to add the onions to the oil and put a tea spoon of the chicken masala while cooking it. Becomes pretty simple, doesn’t it?
You have to give it that preparing chicken is not that big a challenge. I personally finish the chopping and grating part beforehand before starting anything else. That would only leave mixing and stirring, which is no effort compared to the output you are going to get.