Monday, July 11, 2011

Chicken Curry with Dates & Tamarind

So we are back to Monday, the weekend is over and I have no idea how the time has flown by. Saturday is my most favourite day - a day reserved for family fun. My husband and I love to watch movies and eat out and since it was his birthday last week, we decided to go out for dinner along with some dear friends last night. Ate out at a new Spanish restaurant (one of the many in my locality that boast of continental/world cuisine) - the place was pretty nice but probably not geared up to serve their guests in style and on time. So yes, after waiting for ages for our food to arrive and having spent a good 3 hours listening to the svelte woman belting out many numbers on & on we ate some exotic sounding delicacies which were a little bland for our Indian palettes but we pounced on it hungrily and also finished off a divine mud cake in no time. The whole experience of eating out is just so nice - there is always something nice to look forward to when you try out a new place - the ambience, the service and most importantly the food. And music? Oh! Who can resist great music that gives you company while you dig into that nice plate of Seafood Paella or Mutton Shanks with Saffron Risotto? Yum na? Even the thought of the menu makes me salivate right now and I can't wait for another occasion to visit another nice place soon.


Since we ate out a lot last week, I decided to make something simple yet satisfying for lunch on Sunday. Hubbykins bought some Sanna from a Mangalorean bakery nearby and I was so pleased as I hadn't planned to make them at home and it was nice to know that we managed to get some before they got over. This Chicken curry is my mum-in-law's speciality. I have to admit that her way of making it is any day better than how I can make it. I solely blame the mixer grinder I have as it's a known fact that masala ground in a traditional 'Gatno' (grinding stone) always tastes better than anything else. I asked her for the recipe almost as soon as I had finished my meal at my in-laws' when I was just a new bride. Since then I have turned to this recipe so often that I remember the ingredients by heart. Whenever my mum-in-law used to make it, she would save up some of the extra gravy for the next morning when we would finish it up with hot chapathis and then wash down the entire morning meal with a nice cup (or should I say glass) of hot coffee - filter coffee made the Mangalorean way. I have also made this curry several times to go with Sweet Pulao, so I think my best memories are of these two accompaniments - Pulao & Chapathis.


This recipe calls for the Bafat powder that most Mangaloreans stock up on the whole year through and which comes so handy in times like these - when you don't want to slave over something elaborate in the kitchen. If your chicken is tender, you can get this curry done under 30 minutes (does not include time taken to thaw the chicken!) And it's an ideal recipe for those who like medium spicy curries  and also those who don't like coconut based curries as this one is onion based. The natural sweetness of the dates and the tangy tamarind give you a nice sweet n sour taste. The onion base provides the thickness to the gravy making it so versatile - have it with rice or with chapathis. For a moment, I wanted to name this 'Sweet n Sour Chicken' - but then it would sound so 'Chinese' and give the wrong impression. As much as I like world cuisine, I think I should retain the authenticity of this darling recipe!

Chicken Curry with Dates & Tamarind
print this

Serves 5-6

You Need:
  • 1 kg chicken
  • 4 medium onions roughly sliced (for grinding)
  • 1 small onion finely sliced (for seasoning)
  • 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3 dates (pitted)
  • 2-1/2 tsp bafat powder
  • 1 small pod of Indian garlic with skin (or about 10 cloves)
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • a sprinkling of sugar (optional)
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp ghee (optional)
  • 2 medium size potatoes (optional)
Method:
1. Cut the chicken into medium size pieces, wash & allow to drain. Peel the potatoes and cut them into roughly 1 cm thick slices.
2. Grind the 4 onions, tamarind paste, dates, bafat powder, ginger & garlic to a fine paste. In a large wok heat some cooking poil and add the ghee (just for the fragrance and flavour) and fry the finely sliced onion till it turns pink. Add the ground masala and fry on slow flame till the raw onion smell disappears (this can take about 4-5 minutes) - take care to keep stirring once in a while.
3. Add half a cup of water to the mixie/food processor used to grind the masala and use that water for the gravy. Add in the potatoes and salt to taste and allow to cook for about 3-4 minutes
4. Add the chicken and cook on a slow flame, toss in half the coriander leaves when the chicken is half cooked and garnish with the remaining half when the chicken is completely done. There is no need to add any extra water for the gravy as the chicken will leave its stock. The gravy needs to be thick
5. Serve hot with rice, sanna or chapathi


9 comments:

  1. looks superb dear, new to me..what a wonderful combo...

    Ongoing Event at Good Food:
    COOK IT HEALTHY:PROTEINicious

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks and sounds interesting....chicken curry looks yummy

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am a newcomer to this site. I tried this chicken curry and I must admit that it has come out exactly the way it looks like in your pictures. And the taste is simply superb. It is one recipe with the minimum of ingredients with the maximum result.
    Thank
    Steven Pinto, Mangalore Pearl.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much Sobha & Sharmilee!! Thank you too Steven and glad to hear that this recipe was a success!! Its the biggest compliment for a blogger like me to receive such positive feedback from a restaurateur (if im not wrong) like you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Delicious, inviting gravy!! Adding dates with chi is new to me :) Can we substitute chi with eggs ?
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lovely chicken curry...first time to ur blog and u have a lovely little space with nice recipes..following u now..do visit mine when u have time..
    www.savitharajsspiceland.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks a ton Prathima! Yes, this gravy is excellent for eggs too! I have substituted the same many times to make egg curry, do try it & let me know how it turns out :)

    Thank you Savitha, I will definitely visit your blog, thanks for following me & for the lovely comments

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi!
    Id really love to try this dish but i cant get hold of tamarind paste (or tamarind concentrate).However I have a tamarind block.Please could you tell me how to prepare/use it for cooking this recipe? Thanks a lot

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Wzorin, you can remove a small chunk (marble size) of the tamarind blog and soak it in a little warm water (about 2-3 tablespoons) and leave it aside for 15 mins or till the pulp has softened. Then strain and use as required. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Chicken Curry with Dates & Tamarind

So we are back to Monday, the weekend is over and I have no idea how the time has flown by. Saturday is my most favourite day - a day reserved for family fun. My husband and I love to watch movies and eat out and since it was his birthday last week, we decided to go out for dinner along with some dear friends last night. Ate out at a new Spanish restaurant (one of the many in my locality that boast of continental/world cuisine) - the place was pretty nice but probably not geared up to serve their guests in style and on time. So yes, after waiting for ages for our food to arrive and having spent a good 3 hours listening to the svelte woman belting out many numbers on & on we ate some exotic sounding delicacies which were a little bland for our Indian palettes but we pounced on it hungrily and also finished off a divine mud cake in no time. The whole experience of eating out is just so nice - there is always something nice to look forward to when you try out a new place - the ambience, the service and most importantly the food. And music? Oh! Who can resist great music that gives you company while you dig into that nice plate of Seafood Paella or Mutton Shanks with Saffron Risotto? Yum na? Even the thought of the menu makes me salivate right now and I can't wait for another occasion to visit another nice place soon.


Since we ate out a lot last week, I decided to make something simple yet satisfying for lunch on Sunday. Hubbykins bought some Sanna from a Mangalorean bakery nearby and I was so pleased as I hadn't planned to make them at home and it was nice to know that we managed to get some before they got over. This Chicken curry is my mum-in-law's speciality. I have to admit that her way of making it is any day better than how I can make it. I solely blame the mixer grinder I have as it's a known fact that masala ground in a traditional 'Gatno' (grinding stone) always tastes better than anything else. I asked her for the recipe almost as soon as I had finished my meal at my in-laws' when I was just a new bride. Since then I have turned to this recipe so often that I remember the ingredients by heart. Whenever my mum-in-law used to make it, she would save up some of the extra gravy for the next morning when we would finish it up with hot chapathis and then wash down the entire morning meal with a nice cup (or should I say glass) of hot coffee - filter coffee made the Mangalorean way. I have also made this curry several times to go with Sweet Pulao, so I think my best memories are of these two accompaniments - Pulao & Chapathis.


This recipe calls for the Bafat powder that most Mangaloreans stock up on the whole year through and which comes so handy in times like these - when you don't want to slave over something elaborate in the kitchen. If your chicken is tender, you can get this curry done under 30 minutes (does not include time taken to thaw the chicken!) And it's an ideal recipe for those who like medium spicy curries  and also those who don't like coconut based curries as this one is onion based. The natural sweetness of the dates and the tangy tamarind give you a nice sweet n sour taste. The onion base provides the thickness to the gravy making it so versatile - have it with rice or with chapathis. For a moment, I wanted to name this 'Sweet n Sour Chicken' - but then it would sound so 'Chinese' and give the wrong impression. As much as I like world cuisine, I think I should retain the authenticity of this darling recipe!

Chicken Curry with Dates & Tamarind
print this

Serves 5-6

You Need:
  • 1 kg chicken
  • 4 medium onions roughly sliced (for grinding)
  • 1 small onion finely sliced (for seasoning)
  • 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3 dates (pitted)
  • 2-1/2 tsp bafat powder
  • 1 small pod of Indian garlic with skin (or about 10 cloves)
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • a sprinkling of sugar (optional)
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp ghee (optional)
  • 2 medium size potatoes (optional)
Method:
1. Cut the chicken into medium size pieces, wash & allow to drain. Peel the potatoes and cut them into roughly 1 cm thick slices.
2. Grind the 4 onions, tamarind paste, dates, bafat powder, ginger & garlic to a fine paste. In a large wok heat some cooking poil and add the ghee (just for the fragrance and flavour) and fry the finely sliced onion till it turns pink. Add the ground masala and fry on slow flame till the raw onion smell disappears (this can take about 4-5 minutes) - take care to keep stirring once in a while.
3. Add half a cup of water to the mixie/food processor used to grind the masala and use that water for the gravy. Add in the potatoes and salt to taste and allow to cook for about 3-4 minutes
4. Add the chicken and cook on a slow flame, toss in half the coriander leaves when the chicken is half cooked and garnish with the remaining half when the chicken is completely done. There is no need to add any extra water for the gravy as the chicken will leave its stock. The gravy needs to be thick
5. Serve hot with rice, sanna or chapathi


9 comments:

  1. looks superb dear, new to me..what a wonderful combo...

    Ongoing Event at Good Food:
    COOK IT HEALTHY:PROTEINicious

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks and sounds interesting....chicken curry looks yummy

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am a newcomer to this site. I tried this chicken curry and I must admit that it has come out exactly the way it looks like in your pictures. And the taste is simply superb. It is one recipe with the minimum of ingredients with the maximum result.
    Thank
    Steven Pinto, Mangalore Pearl.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much Sobha & Sharmilee!! Thank you too Steven and glad to hear that this recipe was a success!! Its the biggest compliment for a blogger like me to receive such positive feedback from a restaurateur (if im not wrong) like you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Delicious, inviting gravy!! Adding dates with chi is new to me :) Can we substitute chi with eggs ?
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lovely chicken curry...first time to ur blog and u have a lovely little space with nice recipes..following u now..do visit mine when u have time..
    www.savitharajsspiceland.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks a ton Prathima! Yes, this gravy is excellent for eggs too! I have substituted the same many times to make egg curry, do try it & let me know how it turns out :)

    Thank you Savitha, I will definitely visit your blog, thanks for following me & for the lovely comments

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi!
    Id really love to try this dish but i cant get hold of tamarind paste (or tamarind concentrate).However I have a tamarind block.Please could you tell me how to prepare/use it for cooking this recipe? Thanks a lot

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Wzorin, you can remove a small chunk (marble size) of the tamarind blog and soak it in a little warm water (about 2-3 tablespoons) and leave it aside for 15 mins or till the pulp has softened. Then strain and use as required. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)