Why am I giving you a recipe for a crazy-red-hot dish in the middle of summer? Have I lost my bonkers (and my taste buds)? Ahem ahem… that was a nice opening spiel, don’t you think? Now, getting down to business. If you think about it – all the ‘hottest’ food in the world comes from the ‘hottest’ places. Mexico, Indonesia, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland…all famous for foods that send you running, to pack your tongue with ice! Logically, you would expect these people to be sipping on watermelon juice and eating a cucumber salad and not trying to replicate the external temperature assault, internally! So why do they do it?
The wisdom of ages pours forth now (actually this is a result of being a closet trivia junkie!). Spicy food is your best bet to cool down. Capsaicin, the chemical in all spicy food is in cahoots with our central nervous system to help regulate the temperature in our body. It starts by increasing the blood circulation and dilating capillaries – resulting in more of a surface area to cool. And it also makes you sweat – which is a natural defense against overheating!
So this recipe is right where it belongs – in the middle of summer in a hot-hot country like India! I cheated and ate a cool mint raita with it, but you can be braver and go the whole hog. Happy Cooling down!
Chicken Ghee Roast
(Recipe from my Mum)
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
What you need:
½ kg Chicken pieces
1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
½ Lime, juice of
½ tsp Salt
A pinch of Garam Masala
A pinch of Turmeric
2 Tbsp Ghee
10-15 Curry Leaves
¼ tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 tsp Rock Salt
What to do:
Wash, drain and pat chicken dry. Make a marinade of chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric, salt and lime juice. (Do not use any water). Rub the marinade into the chicken well and keep aside for 30 mins. (The salt used for the marinade will ensure some water drains into the bowl).
Put the chicken pieces along with the marinade and into a pan/ bowl which can be used in a pressure cooker. (We are pretty much steaming the chicken pieces, but ensuring the juices stay inside the bowl). Now close the lid and wait for the pressure to build up in the cooker. Put the whistle on now and cook the chicken for 12 minutes.
Wait till the cooker has cooled and remove the chicken from the bowl and save the marinade juices separately. (There should be about a glass of liquid).
In a pan, reduce the liquid down to ½ glass by boiling. We are concentrating the spice here.
In another pan/wok heat 2 Tbsp of Ghee, add in ginger-garlic paste and curry leaves. Saute for a minute. Toss in the dry chicken pieces and sauté for 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the reduced spice liquid to the chicken. Now raise the heat to medium and cook the chicken in the juices till you reach a semi dry consistency. (about 8 minutes).
Serve with some steamed rice and a nice raita or eat it as a starter with some cold beer!