The age-old Chicken and Egg Story surfaced to confront me repeatedly during this lockdown. However, this one is far from the famous question of which came first. In this case, it relates to the Chicken and Egg dishes I prepared in my kitchen and; the family is unable to decide which one tasted better than the other. These dishes appeared twice on our table in as many weeks. So, this was about Egg Curry and the Souffle Omelette in the Eggs section and Dhaba Style Chicken Curry, Chicken On Toast and Roasted Chicken with a Chickee Sauce in the Chicken Section. Chickee Sauce? What’s that?
Like many others on the various Foodie Groups on the Social Platforms, I also indulged in trying different recipes in my kitchen during this lockdown. The reality today is that one can click many pictures from various angles of every dish, then choose the best angle, use filters to enhance the image quality (frankly, I don’t use any filter) and post it on the social media to garner likes and comments. Boom!! You become a hero, of sorts. But, ultimately, you yourself and your family only (because in this lockdown no one else) are privy to the taste. If your dish could pass that crucial test, then only you become a real hero.
Gladly, in my case, each dish scored good comments at the very first sight, first spoonful or the first bite. Encouraged, I thought of sharing it with you all the recipes which worked quite well with us. These are not proprietary and include some variations to suit my or our palate. One is free to experiment with these to suit one’s own liking.
The sight of gorgeous looking Eggs sitting comfortable amidst a thick gravy was tempting enough. The eggs had a nutty crispy texture and colour over them which was playing hide and seek with the masala. The gravy had a golden-brown colour and emitted a tangy-spicy aroma. The first spoonful of the gravy justified the aroma. You tear the egg with your spoon and the golden crispy outer would lead you to a soft texture combined with the mushy yolk. The curry worked very well for us. The recipe is not very difficult, and anyone can do it.
Hard Boil the Eggs and let them cool. Peel and make slits in them. Sprinkle Turmeric Powder and Red Chilli Powder on the eggs and put them aside for a while.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the eggs till they change colour and become slightly crisp on the outside. Take them out and keep aside. In North Indian homes, the boiled eggs are used as it is. However, in East, the eggs are fried before putting them in the gravy.
Now, in the same oil, add whole spices such as Bay Leaf, Cinnamon, Big Cardamom, Green Cardamom, 2-3 Cloves and Sauté them for half a minute or so.
Then add Chopped Onions and Sauté them till golden. Add Ginger-Garlic Paste and Sauté for another 2 minutes. Then add Chopped Tomatoes, Turmeric Powder, Coriander Powder, Garam Masala, Red Chilli Powder, Salt and keep frying till the oil is visible on the sides.
Check the consistency of the gravy. If you need to, add some water. Salt may also be adjusted at this stage.
Now add the eggs, cover and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes. Your dish is ready. Garnish with Green Coriander Leaves before serving.
This was yet another innovative version of the eggs which debuted in our home. The recipe was shared by my friend Anindya Basu from Kolkata in a video on his YouTube Channel. The very look of the Omelette was very attractive. I tried it in my kitchen and the final product came out with a golden crust which folds in it a fluffy off-white body. This marvel of temperature, textures and flavours is quite easy to do, and the result is quite impressive.
Take three eggs.
Separate out Yolks and Egg Whites in two different bowls.
In the bowl with Yolks, add a pinch of Salt and beat it with a hand whisker or a fork.
In the bowl having Egg Whites, add a pinch of Sugar and beat with an eggbeater till it has stiff peaks. Please ensure that there is no water left below.
Now, pour the beaten Yolks over the Egg Whites and gently fold the two.
Heat a pan over a slow flame and add little Butter to glaze the pan. Now pour the egg mixture, very gently into the pan. Cover it and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes. Take the lid off. You would feel that the eggs are not done. No! They are done. With a spatula try to scrape the sides and it would move. Gently fold the omelette and shift it to a plate. You are ready to enjoy it.
I have got further ideas to sprinkle Black Pepper Powder or add bits of Ham or sprinkle Oregano or Spring Onions etc before folding. Not sure though but will try to experiment.
Now let us come to the Chicken Story.
Dhaba Style Chicken Curry
This aromatic Chicken Curry with a runny gravy in golden hues was yet another hit with the family. The Chicken in this recipe is done along with the gravy and is almost falling off the bone. The juices are retained in the meat and turns out to be succulent and flavourful.
Take a full Chicken with bone weighing around 750 gms. Wash it thoroughly and let it dry or pat dry it to remove the surface water from the meat.
Heat some Mustard Oil in a pan and add whole spices such as Bay Leaf, 5-6 Cloves, Cinnamon, 2-3 Green Cardamom, 1 Big Cardamom and sauté for about 30 seconds.
Now add Chopped Onions fry till they turn golden and translucent. Now add Ginger Garlic Paste and sauté for two minutes.
Once done, add Chopped Tomatoes, Turmeric Powder, Coriander Powder, Garam Masala, Red Chilli Powder, Salt and keep on cooking till the tomatoes turn into a paste like consistency and the oil separates.
Now add the Chicken Pieces one by one and keep sautéing till the Chicken changes it colour to almost white. At this stage, add two cups of water, cover the pan and let it simmer on a low flame for about 8-10 minutes. Take off the lid once or twice to check the consistency of the gravy, the way you want. Once you see that the chicken is done and is almost falling off the bone, switch off the flame.
Add Lemon Juice and garnish with Chopped Coriander Leaves. The dish is ready to be enjoyed.
Chicken On Toast
This one turned out to be a real delight. Had enjoyed this in restaurants and had always liked it. Never thought of trying it at home. This crispy-meaty delight is a great snack for the evenings or finger food with the drinks. In a live video by my friend Doma Wang I saw her making Prawns On Toast. I had chicken in the fridge that lead to a quick chat with her and in no time, I was equipped with pro tips. The golden crispy snack which came out on the table was loved by the entire family.
Take about 250 gms of Boneless Chicken in small cuts or take Chicken Mince. I minced the chicken in chopper at home. Now add finely Chopped Onions, Garlic, Green Chillies and Coriander Leaves. Also add Salt, Black Pepper and a bit of Coriander Powder and mix all the ingredients. One could also add any spices of your choice but better to keep it moderate so that spices do not overpower.
Keep the mincemeat mix aside for a while.
Now cut Bread Slices into 4 each. I took 4 slices and it made 16 pieces. Apply the minced meat mixture on the bread and keep aside.
Heat oil in a Kadhai. In the meanwhile, in a pan have two eggs beaten and breadcrumbs in a separate plate. Once the oil is heated enough for deep frying, one by one, take each bread piece, dip the chicken side in the egg wash first and then in the breadcrumbs. Pat the breadcrumbs and then slide it into the oil with chicken side down. Deep fry until golden brown. Do not over crowd the pan. Once golden, take out on a kitchen towel and serve with Chutney / dip of your choice.
Chicken Clubs And Chickee Sauce With Pav
The dish which made debut appearance on the table during this period was named by me as Chicken Clubs and Chickee Sauce with Pav. The name may sound innovative but was a simple dish which turned out to be quite exotic. The Chicken Legs were marinated in Curd and Spices. This marinated chicken was kept aside for about five hours. Thereafter, the Chicken Legs were roasted in an oven at 220 degrees for about 20 minutes. The Chicken Clubs were ready. The leftover marinade was treated in Butter with Chopped Onions, Chopped Tomatoes, Chopped Garlic and Slit Green Chillies and turned into a sauce which was enjoyed with Buns. This was made from the leftover Chicken marinade, so the name Chickee Sauce.
Besides these, there was Roasted Chicken, Baked Chicken and Butter Chicken. The glimpse is as under, however, recipes to be shared soon.
We are still unable to resolve this conflict whether we liked the Chicken Dishes more or the Egg preparations. You try these in your kitchen, with or without your own twist and if you can decide, do share with me. Till then…..