Puja days are saying, “Knock knock” standing at the doorstep of everyday life. What more, children say, “ki moja Pujo eshe gelo” (great fun the Pujas have come), and elders including me looking forward for the first day of the Pujo, Sosthi, that’s the beginning of the five days -- uff! -- can’t imagine the excitement building up for the coming days. One more day and then the daily routine of life will be different from the regular activities -- ektu (little) different from the regular schedule of life. O God, my language is becoming a mish-mash of Bangla and English words. It happens, it happens in India, nothing to worry.
I’m not thinking about pandal hopping that’s going to happen in my life after a couple of days, but, now I’m more concerned about my recipe that’s going to get a place here.
I’ve named this recipe Chicken Makha-makha because whenever I cook chicken I ask everyone at home what they like to eat. “What will you like, murgir jhol (chicken curry), chicken dopiyaza, kadhai chicken, chicken roast…”, before I can carry on – mind you I don’t have many more options to give them – am delighted to hear -- “keno chicken makha-makha kore daoo (why? Cook chicken makha-makha) ”. Thus this recipe has a name of its own in my home.
No more kotha-kothi (talking), the next words that follow soon after will tell about this recipe.
Chicken, about 600 gms, that’s all I’ve managed to take out from the deep freezer. The chicken pieces have to sit in the marinade for about an hour or more.
For that added about ¾ cup of curd, ginger paste 1 tbsp, garlic paste 1 tbsp, haldi powder 1tsp, red chilli powder 1 tsp., 1 tsp. of cooking oil and salt. Using my hand mixed all the ingredients with the chicken pieces in a bowl and kept it aside for more than an hour.
In the meantime made a paste of 3 onions.
Chopped 2 tomatoes into tiny pieces.
All these sat till I lit the gas burner and placed the kadhai on it. I don’t like to use the vilayeti kadhai, in other words the non-stick kadhai for all my cooking. This time it was the turn of the aluminium kadhai. The lohar (iron) kadhai is mainly for deep frying purpose.
Let me get back to facts. Once the kadhai took the heat, added about 1 ½ tbsp. of oil. I’ve used very little oil.
Next added the onion paste and sautéed for 2 minutes. Soon added the tomatoes, some salt, some haldi and red chilli powder and was working with them. The “thon-than” was clearly heard as the khunti (cooking spud, got the English word from Google search) when it touched the sides of the aluminium kadhai.
Reduced the flame and cooked for 3-4 minutes. By now the onions were cooking but not at a speed. It was hardly semi-cooked when I added the marinated chicken to it.
Constant stirring went on for another 2-3 minutes. By now all the ingredients got mixed together.
Again reduced the flame and covered the kadhai with a lid and let it cook.
After a small gap of 4 minutes opened the lid and there the chicken was cooking in the water it had released and all the juices – of the chicken, the marinade, the spices – all mixed together gave out the aroma with the opening of the lid.
Covered and let it cook. Uncovered to check and stir and covered again from time-to-time. This time added some water, about ½ cup, to the bowl in which the chicken was marinated. Washed the remains in it with the water and added this to the cooking vessel.
The chicken was cooked for about 35 minutes till it became tender and all the juices and spices got mixed together to give a thick paste-like body to the chicken pieces.
Then came the serving time and what a lunch time it was. There was bhaat (boiled rice), mung dal, chutney, and of course the Chicken Makha-makha.
An easy-to-cook dish and great to taste.
© gouri guha 2013