Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Chicken Mughlai/ Chicken Moghlai

I have been thinking of putting up some recipes since many days but something or the other kept me busy. Lot of things have been happening this month…some thing to celebrate and have a thought about. It’s been a year that I have been scribbling in here and I don’t really know how many people I am boring out there. I started blogging on my husband’s birthday (March 10th) and my sons 2nd birthday is tomorrow!

Apart from that I got my first award, from my wonderful Blogger friend Smitha of SaffronApron. I would like to thank her for making me feel special. Thank you Smitha. I would also like to pass this award on to my other blogger friends:
Varsha from Will-O’-the-wisp
Dhanya of Ammaas
Tina of Kaipunyam and all others.
Initially, this blog was started just to save my recipes in a better way. But now, apart from saving my recipes, it has become a hobby and a better way to share recipes with my family and friends. My friends and family and the comments that the visitors drop are the best inspirations to keep this blog alive. Thank you all.

It is a hassle skimming through large collection of recipes on my drafts for cooking everyday meals. I know many of them will be having the same trouble, thinking what to cook for the family. I feel thinking about what to cook is more tiring than cooking. If cooking takes an hour for me for example, thinking takes a day!! And if I ask my husband for an opinion, all what he can say is that, “Enthenkilum undaakku, enthaayaalum njaan kazhikkum”. i.e “cook something edible, I will have it”…I then give him the list of all foods he doesn’t like and a couple of them that he likes. He will then be forced to chose from them….this has been happening ever since I started cooking and is the same even now…But don’t think that I knew a lot when I started cooking….All I used to cook was a curry whether it is mutton, chicken or prawns, it all had the same taste and of course the same look….and one ‘Great ghee rice’, which sometimes I make ‘Great’ variations for a change by adding green peas and potatoes which later my husband told me how much he hated the potatoes in rice…..

There was a time when I hated cooking so much just because nothing used to come out good as I expected it to be even after the following the recipe exactly. I don’t remember how many times I had to ring my mom in the budding stage of my cooking to ask for little doubts like how much of salt to add and how much of mustard seeds to splutter and so on in which she used to be so shocked! Talking about salt, it was something I took so long to get hold of. Sometimes I make something good but there is something wrong and I couldn’t realise it was salt. Salt just boosts up the flavour of the whole dish. Later on, one of my cousins once told me that just swirling the ‘NIZO’ bottled salt thrice on any preparing dish is the perfect way of adding salt to any dish, and that would be perfect!! When I was just a beginner, I bought an empty salt bottle from Abu- Dhabi and used that ‘three swirl method’ of adding salt which comes out perfect. I am still adding salt that way! Sometimes a little bit of adjustments may be necessary. I never used a teaspoon for adding salt. Now the bottle has started wearing out and I started using spoon for adding salt, Ha. But it took me sometime to know that apart from experience a bit of common sense is also a major ingredient to any good food. And recipes are mostly only guidelines.

Things have moved quite far since then……I very much love cooking now and love experimenting too. All of the recipes in this blog are tried and liked by my family and friends and something that I would definitely be making again. The recipes I would be posting here won’t be confined just to Keralite food, but from other parts of India and cuisines from different parts of the world. I am a bit moody when it comes to food. The food that I prepare depends entirely on my mood of eating. I hope you all enjoy the recipes in here. And if you liked them please feel free to comment. I appreciate it.

Apart from that, you get different dishes with the same name from different hotels or restaurants. This always happened to me when I was in college. I and my friends used to go out to the cafeterias once in a while for lunch. These are the Universal Malayalee run small scale ‘Take-aways’ + ‘Eat in’ restaurants commonly found in all nook and corner back in UAE. They mostly serve some sandwiches with chicken fillets/nuggets/sausages stuffed in with some vegetables along with French fries and a milk shake. And the milk-shakes that we get here are wonderfully rich and colourful and are appealing to the eye. Of course it is tasty as well. Their menu always had funny names of juices like Internet, Titanic, Computer, Badshah, X5 which must have gained its name through BMW X5 four wheeler, couple of other movie names that I cant remember and such list just continues. I think they might bring some Shahrukh khan (An Indian Actor) in the menu too. If there is Badshah in the menu why not Sharukh? The best part is that all the cafeterias will have juices having these names, but Internet juice of one cafeteria will be the computer juice of other cafeteria. There is just no ‘connection’ at all. Its funny.

Anyways here's the simple recipe of Mughlai chicken, prepared in my way.

900 grams Skinless Chicken (cut into big chunks)
1-1/2 inch Ginger
6 Large Garlic cloves
8 Dry Red chillies
¾ cup Thick curd
½ tsp Turmeric powder
2-3 tbs Ghee or vegetable oil
1” piece Cinnamon Stick
4 Cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1½ tsp cumin seeds
2½ cups onion chopped (2 medium size)
½ cup Almonds (blanched and peeled)
Few Coriander leaves (to garnish)
2 Eggs Boiled
Salt to taste

1. Soak the dry chillies in ¼ cup of water until soft. (You can remove the seeds if you don’t want it hot. Remove them before soaking)
2. Grind Chillies along with ginger and garlic. Add curd, salt and turmeric powder to this and mix well.
3. Marinate Chicken in this curd mixture for about 2 hours.
4. Heat a saucepan and add oil. When hot, add cumin seeds along with cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and cardamom and sauté just for few seconds. Add in chopped onions and sauté until it just starts to turn brown.
5. Add chicken along with the marinade and sauté for about 10 minutes until the meat turns opaque.
6. Grind Almonds along with 1½ cups of water and add it to the chicken. When it starts to boil, cover and cook in low flame until the chicken is tender.
7. Garnish with boiled eggs sliced into halves and coriander leaves and serve hot with naan, chappathi, boiled rice etc.

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