Friday, May 18, 2012

Chicken Stew for Sid as made by his Maam

Mother's Day just went by and for a whole week I contemplated what to post as my Mother's Day Recipe. Should it be Ma's favorite recipe? Or should it be my favorite Ma's recipe? After a lot of contemplation, I decided to go with Sid's Chicken Stew as made by his Maam.

Sid calls my mother Maam (pronounced as Maa-aam) and considers her to be the best cook in the world. So do I. He is very fond of her and misses her terribly in this foreign land. And he loves her Chicken Stew. Every time I make a stew at home, with variation, he'll ask "Maam er stew?" (stew made by Maam). I'll reply "Naa, Mummy r stew." (stew made by Mummy). He'll say "Khabo naa. Maam er stew khabo." (I wont have the stew made by you. I'll have stew made by Maam)




This is the stew Ma used to make for him after he turned one. Initially, she used only potatoes and green papaya and used to make it in a pressure cooker. As Sid grew, more complex vegetables were introduced in the stew. This stew happens to be a family favorite in my home. Every time my sister comes home from hostel, Ma has to make this stew at least once a week. We have had this stew with roti, rice and just by itself. But I enjoy it most with crispy toasted bread. I made this stew for Sid's second birthday and he loved it.

The Star - Cast
You can add any conceivable vegetable in a stew. I have added turnips, parsnips, zucchini, summer squash, snow peas, cauliflower and broccoli in various combinations in my stew. But Ma always made her stew with carrots, green beans, potato and green papaya. The vegetables were cut in big cube (Dumo dumo kore kata! ) and she used whole onions. I used baby carrots halved, green beans and potatoes. I missed the papaya, because I forgot to buy it during my weekly grocery. I chopped my onions into big cubes.


Ma usually tempered her stew with bay leaf, whole cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns. The whole peppercorns were the trademark of the stew. I ran out of peppercorns and hence had to forgo it. I just heated 2 table spoon of canola oil and tempered with whole cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf.


Next I add the onions and the vegetables and fry for a minute.


Now I add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for another minute or so.


The chicken pieces goes in next. I stirred to coat the chicken with the masala. Add salt. (You can add half a teaspoon of sugar at this point; Ma does, I don't.) Reduced the heat to Medium-Low or Sim and cook covered for 15 minutes. I do not add water at this point, since the veggies and the chicken will release their water and will get cooked in it.


15 minutes later, the chicken is all cooked through and the veggies are tender and flavorful. If you feel you need a little more liquid, go ahead and add a cup of water and let it come to a gentle boil.



I thicken my stew with atta-milk paste [use Atta (whole wheat flour) and not Maida (all purpose flour)]. I mix 1 tbsp of atta with 1/4 cup of milk into a homogeneous paste, without any lumps and add it at the fag end of the cooking time. Then I let the stew come to a boil, so that the atta taste is gone and the stew has thickened little. You can use cornflour as a thickening agent. But I feel the texture, using atta-milk mixture is a lot better. Or may be, because Ma does it this way!


The stew is ready to be served. Finishing touches are added in form of a dollop of butter and a fat pinch of Garam Masala. This step is absolutely optional though.

Recipe Snapshot:
What I used:
Chicken Thigh (skinless, bone-in) - 1 lb
Bay Leaf - 1
Green Cardamom - 4
Cinnamon - 1 stick
Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Onion - 2 medium sized, cut into big chunks or use Peal Onions whole
Carrot - 1/2 cup, cut into big pieces
Green Beans - 1/2 cup, snipped and halved
Whole Wheat Flour (Atta)- 1 tbsp
Milk - 1/4 cup
Salt
Oil - 2 tbsp


What I did:

Mix the Atta (whole wheat flour) with the milk in to a smooth paste, with no lumps and keep aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil and temper with Whole Cardamom, Cinnamon and Bay leaf. If making for adults add some whole peppercorns and cloves.

Add the onions, carrots, bean and potatoes and fry for a minute.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for another minute.

Now add the chicken pieces and stir to coat the chicken with the masala. Add salt. Reduce the heat to Medium-Low or Sim and cook covered for 15 minutes. Do not add water at this point. The veggies and the chicken will release their water and will get cooked in it.

15 minutes later, the chicken is all cooked through and the veggies are tender and flavorful. If you feel you need a little more liquid, go ahead and add a cup of water and let it come to a gentle boil.

To thicken the stew, add the atta-milk paste and let it come to a boil and then simmer for few seconds and take it off the heat.

Finish off with a dollop of butter and a fat pinch of Garam Masala. This step is optional though.

Sid with his Maam on his First Birthday!

Diabetic Platter: This stew is also very diabetic friendly. It has loads of vegetables, lean protein and is cooked in minimum oil. We can even make this stew in 2 tsp. of oil. I have done that and it tastes really good. Avoid the use of butter though. This stew tastes great by itself. You can have it with rice or roti as your main course. I love it best with crispy toasted whole grain bread and a refreshing salad.


4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by... Its very light, nutritious and comforting!

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  2. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by... Glad you liked it.

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