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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chicken with soy sauce and coconut milk

Cooking, like most other things in life, is a quest. It can be more than a means to satisfy hunger. It can be an adventure, a spiritual journey and a way to show love. I am thinking about the mother who cooks for the daughter she hasn't seen for years, the kid who makes chicken soup with inept hands, the husband who makes French toast for breakfast. It need not be elaborate. The expressions vary. We might forget the details of a particularly flavorful dish, but we will always  remember how it made us feel. Comforted. Warm. Happy.

Years ago, my father made a spicy chicken dish in soy sauce and yogurt on my brother's birthday.  It was so long ago that he has forgotten the recipe. We can seldom recreate our own creations, but this is as close as I could get. I used coconut milk instead of yogurt and added curry leaves. Tweak to suit your taste. Search for your own perfection.

Method using wok or frying pan :
  1. Clean, pat dry with paper towels and dice 2 lbs (1 kg) boneless chicken thigh into serving size. Marinate in salt, turmeric, ground cumin-coriander, red chili powder, ground black pepper, lemon juice overnight.
  2. In a wok or nonstick frying pan, fry 1 big onion (finely chopped), minced ginger, crushed garlic, minced green chilies, 1 medium sized tomato, and 10 curry leaves.
  3. Crush whole garam masala like 1 stick of cinnamon, 4-5 green cardamom, 5 -7 cloves, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds and 1/2 tsp peppercorn in mortar and pestle. Add to the wok.
  4. When the onions have been fried well, add the chicken. Keep stirring. Do not cover yet.
  5. Add 1 tsp dark soy sauce, 2 tsp (or drizzle) low-sodium soy sauce. Stir and cover.
  6. When the soy sauce is almost dry, add coconut milk. Cook till the oil separates.
Use whole green chilies instead of minced if you want it less hot.

Alternate method:
You may also use the ingredients to make a spicy roasted chicken. Use a cornish hen with skin on and rub the marinade inside the sking and over it. Cook 30 mins at pre-heated oven at 375 F (190 C) for 30 mins and turn to cook another  20-25 mins (or until the skin is crisp). Broil the last 10 mins. If you are using coals, place the chicken sufficiently distant from the heat so the chicken cooks through before the skin gets too brown.

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