Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tangy chicken broth recipe

I was tempted to name this dish Lemony Snickets, since it was born out of a series of unfortunate events, the details of which I'll spare you, dear patient reader. Let's just for a dish that started out as one thing and ended up as quite another, I could do much worse.

This is a very mild-flavoured dish - those with a preference for the sharper Indian curries may find it bland, but I prefer the subtle flavours from the ingredients I used rather than the overwhelming effects of turmeric, onion, ginger, garlic and green chillies, those staples of every North Indian gravy that I completely ignored in making this. The broth gets a triple tang from lemon, yoghurt and tomato - again, keep their effects in check by adding just enough lemon, and the freshest yoghurt and tomatoes you can find. Another departure from the Indian style is to add the tomatoes in the end instead of putting them in the tadka, so that its pieces float about in the watery broth instead of assimilating. The resulting broth is tangy, creamy, and messy with lots of things floating around like in a clear soup. (I may have to work on making my descriptions read more appetizing,)

Anyway, so I started out with half a kilo of chicken including one leg piece (you could use two leg pieces), washed it up, removed the fat, and kept the liver and some of the bony bits separately in a pan with 1 1/2 cup of water. I placed this pan on heat, brought the water to a boil, then removed the pan from the stove and kept it aside.

Then I marinated the remaining chicken in the juice of a single teeny tiny lemon, a tablespoon of butter, a handful of crushed mint leaves (just tear the leaves with your hands, don't grind), about a teaspoon each of freshly crushed black pepper and allspice, and enough salt to suffice the entire broth. After coating the chicken nice and proper in this mix, I tucked in a couple of pieces of cinnamon and star anise and a tej patta in its folds, covered the marinated chicken, got busy with my phone and merrily lost track of time.

About 40 minutes later, I drizzled a tablespoon of dark soy sauce over the marinated chicken, heated a dollop of butter in a kadhai, and dumped the chicken in it as soon as the butter melted. You want to add the leg pieces first to give them a little more time to cook. In a couple of minutes, all the chicken turned from pink to an opaque white, at which point I started assaulting it with some Indian flavours - two tablespoons of fresh yoghurt, a spoon each of red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. I strained the liver-water and added it to the kadhai, followed by a finely chopped fresh large tomato. I raised the temperature to bring the mixture to a boil, and after letting it bubble for a minute or so, lowered the heat to 120 degrees, covered the pot and let it simmer. With nothing more I could do to help the chicken, I cleared up the kitchen and scrubbed my hands of all the spicy smell, contemplated the human condition for a minute, and returned to the simmering pot.

This last step is mainly to let all the flavours come together really nicely. The broth now ready, I served myself a generous helping in a large soup bowl, sprinkled some coriander to get better results on Instagram, and consumed the fruit of my labour with some brown bread, though I couldn't quite stop myself from scooping up some rich spoonfuls of the tangy, creamy, watery broth before reaching for the bread.

Like I said, as accidents go, one could do far worse.

In case you're wondering, yes, I do occasionally cook and some friends have asked me in the past to share some of my recipes, so trying my hand at food blogging for a change. I'm starting to feel it's not my forte.

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