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A taste of home

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Chicken gravy

When living abroad, it’s common to have flashes of memories back home while going about daily activities. It’s also easier today than ever before to instantly connect back. Thanks to technology, the roots don’t seem so far deep that you can’t reach them. You can instantly chat with friends and family who may be online, listen to your local music; but nothing quite transports you home to the degree that food can. And I’m not referring food of your local country that’s you’d probably get at a restaurant; I’m talking about food that was cooked at right home by mums and grandmums.

The dish that takes me straight home is simple home styled chicken gravy. There is no perfect way to cook it and one that you can rarely go wrong with. All you need is chicken (of course), two medium sized onions, two medium sized tomatoes, 6 different spices and whatever else you’d like as garnish. It’s better to have the onions and tomatoes cut into fine pieces in advance before you start the rest of the process.

This is how it’s done:

Chicken and marinade

Dice about one pound chicken breast into smaller pieces (I prefer it boneless)

In a large bowl, combine 2 table spoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons cumin powder, 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder, 2 tablespoons black pepper, 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic, and 1 teaspoon
salt. Mix the chicken in this mixture and keep under refrigeration for about an hour.


In a medium sized skillet, fry the chopped onions with about 2 tablespoons of oil under moderate heat along with 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic for about 10-15 minutes until the onion is tender and turns light golden in color.

Frying the Onions

To this mix add some 1 tablespoon garam masala (available at Indian grocery stores), 1 tablespoon paprika and stir for a minute.

Making the gravy paste

Add the chopped tomatoes along with the juices and some more salt and pepper to taste and stir till the mixture becomes a thick paste.

Add the chicken pieces and cook for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally, then add about one cup water and let it boil for about 10 minutes more. Taste to ensure that you don’t overcook the chicken.

Garnish with some green chilli, tomatoes and cilantro / spinach leaves.

There you have it!


Cooking always needed a heart

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It is said that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’and most men ‘enjoy’ being at the receiving end of this equation while simultaneously harboring a secret guilt of the good type… the type that makes them proud about totally surrendering their heart while fully using their head.

So, let’s say a circumstance arose when the heart and stomach don’t quite complement each other. What happens then? Well… that’s when the man has to learn how to cook; this time hopefully without losing his head.

It’s been only a couple of months since Delia (my wife) and I moved to the US. Delia is a great cook it’s just that her job now has her travelling a lot.  I love eating – it’s been so for the past 37 years of my existence – but being born, bred and fed in Mumbai, I’ve never had to seriously cook and after moving here it’s a new challenge thrown at me.  So with apron, gloves, knives et al I’m on a culinary treasure hunt with no clue.

But nothing is impossible (I say this as I ignore my laughing alter ego). In my defence, in the last few weeks I may have successfully been able to stir up some treats even as I laboured trying to tell the difference between Cilantro and Parsley. As my repertoire expands I’ll share my experiences here, entertain, maybe even inspire and in the bargain thoroughly impress my wife.

So, stomaching the challenge ahead I take heart as I set out on this journey.

Please feel free to post comments and recommendations too. I’m sure I could use all the help I can get.