The obedient flagbearer of family customs that I am,I have thus refrained from even trying to tweak any traditional recipe.That it often comes out to be something else inspite of my sincerest efforts should be considered a shortcoming on my part,but never blasphemy!
But then,the impish rebel in me has a mind of its own!And that is precisely why,I do derive a sadistic pleasure in zeroing in on some very basic ingredients and camouflaging them in iconic combinations with the sincere urge to create something absolutely nascent.Whatever be the chimerical thought,the bottomline however remains,that the end product should be edible and presentable...the minimum requirements!
The latest idea to hit me,on these lines,was to prepare something which would be a cross between a Chinese and a Bengali dish!A virulent mayhem ensued in whatever grey and white matter my cranium manages to house and I finally settled down for a Chicken dish with veggies,while would be Chinese at face value but thoroughly Bengali in taste!The good news is that,luckily enough I was not banished to Alcatraz at the end of the day and the plates were relievingly clean!Phew!
ChinBen Chicken(Serves 4)
(The name is another of my wackiest ideas!Do let me know if you happen to have a better one in mind!:)
You will need:
Chicken breast - About 500 gms;shredded into medium-sized chunks
Chicken stock - 1 cup;you may use the stock cubes available in stores.I prefer to use home-made chicken stock which I make by poaching chicken pieces with a little salt water in a closed container
Onion - 2 whole;diced into cubes
Garlic - 2 fat cloves;chopped but not minced
Capsicum - Diced roughly into big-ish pieces
Bell pepper(red,yellow) - Same as the capsicum
Carrot - 1 whole;chopped into round discs
Spring Onions - Chopped roughly
Turmeric powder - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - As per taste
Black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
Cooking oil(Canola or refined oil preferred)
How to cook:
1.Wash the shredded chicken pieces well and dry well with a kitchen napkin.Rub salt and black pepper powde on to the pieces and keep aside for about 15-20 minutes.In a wok,heat a chunk of butter(about 1 tablespoon when melted) and fry the chicken pieces lightly.The chicken should be lightly fried on the outside and succulent inside.
2.Next,add a little more butter and add in all the veggies other than garlic;the diced onions,capsicum,bell pepper,carrots and spring onions.Saute lightly and when the onion becomes slightly translucent,remove from heat.The veggies should retain their crispiness and color and should not become droopy.
3.Now add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to the butter and let it heat up.Add the chopped garlic cloves and put down the heat.The garlic should be nicely browned to the point of being almost burnt but not charred.
4.When the garlic is done,add the chicken stock and give a good stir.Next add the turmeric powder,cumin and coriander powder and red chilli powder to the stock and stir well.My chicken stock already has salt in it,so I do not add any more salt to the gravy.
5.When the gravy starts bubbling,add in the fried chicken pieces and all the fried veggies kept aside and immediately turn off the heat.Add a dollop of butter on top and sprinkle a bit more black pepper powder.Your ChinBen chicken(which looks Chinese but tastes Bengali)is ready!Have it either with stir-fried noodles or with steaming Basmati rice...tastes good with both!