"Pakhi Shob Korey Rob Rati Pohailo, Kanone Kusumkoli Shokoli Futilo"..... our mom used to recite this and many more when we were this small. This particular phrase means see the birds are chirping, end of a long night, its morning.... time for flowers to bloom. We were early risers and I am so till date. I enjoy watching the same rising sun each morning, the chirpy birds say come, sing along. Nature is my first love and I am in a lifelong relationship with it. I keep on telling my senior we will have an one-roomed wooden house deep in the forest. His answer would be... there is no wifi in the woods, is it ok for you? I say you need not be sarcastic always, a wish is just a wish. We agree to disagree in almost all matters except for one thing. Few years back we agreed on one thing... I said after retirement we will have a small, cosy guest house in Puri ..... he said not a bad idea. I love that place not because it is a pilgrimage for the Hindus, but as a whole.... the prawn farming at Chilka, enjoying the variety of fried fish sitting at the beach, khaja and chanapora and the sarees..... Oh you are spoilt for choices when it comes to saree there, my most favourite is cotton Bomkai. I do love visiting the age-old temple each morning of my stay there, yet disagree with the temple management on certain rules. My parents visit Puri every year in February and stays there for fifteen long days.
Last evening I suddenly fell seriously ill and was missing my mom .... how she took care of us when we fell sick .... I cannot be jealous of my brother also as I love him too much. It is this mother who cooks and serve me a plate full of my favourites till date when her daughter is nearing half century. It was this mother who sat for four long hours under a tree in the university campus when her married daughter was appearing for the bachelor of education examination. I literally had to scold her .... mani please do not peep through the window, the invigilator will think you are passing me cheat papers. After all these, if someone expects that you should leave and forget all that your parents have done for you just because you have changed home, problem is yours, not mine. To call a stranger's place your home, we need time and the correct treatment.... been abusive does not help. If the girl is of my nature, she definitely is going to be total non-cooperative. To mothers of girl child.... pamper your daughters enough.... they may not get the same later in life. You must also teach them to expect less and be accommodative, which my mom has not taught me. I scold her for that. I will do injustice to my senior if I say he did not take care of me last night, in fact I wish to be sick more often and enjoy all the adulation.
No wonder I would wish to share one of my mom's simple recipes today. In the bygone days, our Sunday lunch was such light chicken curries, spinach, dal. Me and my brother waited week long for a Sunday lunch with chicken or mutton. For a middle-class family as ours, things were like this.... if one day was hilsa for us .... next two days would be 'chara pona' .... an inexpensive small variety of fish I crave for till date..... three Sundays would be for chicken and one would be for mutton / lamb. I look for offers while in the super market because I am my parent's daughter ..... I will buy a Gucci only when it has a 70% discount offer.... My less accommodative nature gets me find solace in a Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay or Tolstoy or engage myself in the kitchen for my two chopsticks.... may be a simplistic chicken curry just the way my mother did. Laale Jhole Murgi means a reddilicious Chicken Curry we will prepare together now.... I love it with piping hot steamed rice.... what about you??
Chicken : 1kg [medium cut with bone]
Tomato : 2[medium]
Onion : 2[medium, sliced]
Red Chilli Paste : 2tbsp [hot? ok use 2tsp red chilli powder]
Garlic Paste : 2tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
A paste made with 4 cloves, 3 green cardamom and 3 one inch cinnamon stick or alternatively 1/4tsp cinnamon powder, 3pinches of green cardamom and cloves powder mixed together
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Lemon Juice : 1tbsp
Bay leaf : 1
Oil : 4tbsp [authentically mustard]
Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly. Marinate them with lemon juice, salt, 1/2tsp turmeric powder, 1tbsp red chilli paste. Rub well, cover and keep aside for an hour.
Heat oil in a wok and temper with a bayleaf. Add the sliced onions and fry till crisp brown. Take out.
Add the ginger-garlic paste to the same oil and fry till the raw smell goes. Add turmeric powder, red chilli paste and salt. Fry till the spice mix separates from the oil.
Add the coriander powder, fry for 1/2 a minute. Add the chicken without the marinade, fold in well and fry at high heat for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to minimum. Add the marinade, fold in well and cover.
After 10 minutes, open cover and add the pre washed, chopped tomatoes and the fried onion. Fold in well and cover cook for another 10 minutes at low heat stirring in between.
Open cover, the water should dry up by now, add 1 medium cup water and let boil for about 3 minutes. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves powder. Fold in well and cook further for a minute. We are done.
Transfer to a bowl, serve hot with piping hot rice or your choice of bread.