Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Chicken Bharta

A convent education renders you slightly incapable of Hindi comprehension. Especially when they are numbers. While Tezaab, the superhit Bollywoood flick, helped us with the elementary ek do teen...terah, the hostel mausi ji made us fluent with the rest. Chhiyalis is a number I take no time decoding. Chhiyalis number ki behenji was mausi ji's clarion call to announce a visitor to the inmates of that room. And out came Lakshmi Shetty flashing her inimitable Colgate smile. Tall, slender, curly hair, this dusky beauty with her Mangalorean roots & Bong loyalty, was one of the best students of the English Literature class. That we also shared our subsidiary subjects brought us closer by default. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lakshmi & I spent long hours chatting and finishing our tuck. I also depended heavily on her Psychology notes cz those classes were normally after lunch and waking up from a siesta was a feat I hadn't accomplished then. My friend would come calling ten minutes before the class, and, more often than not, be told, 'tu ja.' Not once did she bash me for that or throw water on the sleepy log in frustration. I am eternally grateful for her tolerance of such a sloth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of my most cherished memories of us is when we sat quietly on the stone-bench outside the Old Hostel one evening and didn't talk at all. We were under-grads then. What companionable silence meant, I experienced that twilight, thanks to Lakshmi. Later some day, we did what boys do outside all the time, just to feel emancipated. The MMV walls have been painted many times since so there is no proof of our act of freedom. We never repeated the dare, the hostel had sufficient restrooms.

In those days of limited technology & no social networking sites, we lost touch for many years till the now-redundant Orkut got us together. The reunion of the millennium made me more elated than most other events in the recent past. Lakshmi & I live in two different metros now and life situations notwithstanding, bond like before. On her birthday today, this Chicken Bharta is what I wanna serve. Learnt in ma's kitchen, this non-veg dish broke my veg resolve after more than three years! Need I say more?

1. 1kg boneless chicken- shredded
2. 1 large onion- finely sliced
3. 1 large tomato- finely sliced
4. 1-1 1/2 tsp ginger juliennes
5. 1 tsp garlic- finely sliced
6. 3-4 tbsp curd
7. 2 tsp garam masala powder
8. 1tsp Kashmiri mirch powder/as preferred
9. 1 tsp keora essence
10. 1 tbsp mustard oil
11. Salt to taste

1. Mix ingredients 1-7 and allow marination for 10-15 minutes.

2. Heat mustard oil and pour the marinated chicken in the wok. 
3. Add salt and red chilli powder, mix well, cover wok and let cook on medium flame for 15-20 min.

4. When ingredients are cooked and oil leaves the pan, add a tsp of keora essence and let simmer for 2 min.

That mouth-watering Mughal cusine aroma will waft through your house. 

Serve hot with plain rice. Or have with mughlai parantha. 

Many Happy Returns of the Day, Lakshmi. Like the keora, may happiness spread its fragrance in your life. 

PS: Chhiyalis is forty-six, angrezon :) 

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