First & foremost, Today, 15th August is 64th Indian Independence day. Happy Independence day to all the readers of Sinfully Spicy! I wanted to do a special post but then I want to do a lot of things & end up doing nothing
Long Live the Republic of India. Jai Hind!
Growing up, Friday nights were girl’s night in my house. Since dad used to be away for his regular tour in the second half of the week, mom & me used to gorge on “our” kind of foods during those days. Mostly, it used to be piping hot chicken tikkas, moist vegetable kebabs or fried fish along with flatbreads salad, raita or chutney. We would discuss the the whole day, neighbours, movies, latest fashion trends, relatives and anything & everything with each other while nibbling succulent meats. At dinnertime, often mom used to talk about her friends at her work and their lives while rolling out the flatbreads.I think that was the only time when she felt relaxed in the whole day & spoke something other than the house chores. Over the years as she continued to tell me more and more about her friends at work & associations, I felt that she had a superlative quality of coming across to people in such a way that they felt at ease with her while discussing their problems.Not that she tried hard, but I think, her persona is quite trustworthy & comforting to the people around her.
Mom & me share similar tastes in food. While dad enjoys lentils, soups, stews, curries etc, mom and me have always been more inclined towards the dry preparations, kebabs, stir-fry, rolls, salads etc. Everytime I make the kinds of meals which I enjoyed with her on those Friday evenings, all those moments lost in the rolling wheel of time somewhere, pass my mind. Sometimes I wish I could get back to those dinner nights and long chatty hours with aroma of ghee & flour in the air & audio from indian television soaps in the background.These are the times when a long phone calls breathes life into me – like a angel has waved her magic wand. We speak between all those miles & suddenly it all feels the same again.We discuss her friends which we have been talking about for years now..and NOTHING has changed..all grievances of her colleagues about their better halves have remain the same, the mom – in – law of her friend has grown old but she continues to be mean, the kids in her class (she’s a teacher) are becoming naughty each passing day much to the horror of their parents, its the same co worker which annoys her..and its the same spreadsheet she cribs about…Life is usual! These are people in my life, which I have never ever met or intend to meet but I know so much about them.. they are a so much a part of my social circle.
As much as I love Basmati rice slathered in spicy curry or lentils, I need a dry(ish) dinner at least once a week. It’s a food habit that has nurtured for years and I don’t think it can change.
This is an unusual chicken dish, slightly distracting if you go by what you see. You may feel from the way it looks that its heavy and loaded with spices & oil..but the bronze color is from hours of marinating in ground anardana (dry pomegranate seeds) & chillies. Dry Pomegranate seeds are totally different from the fresh ones and widely used in indian cuisine for their tang, they are chewy, sticky on the gums, sweetish to start with and end on a tangy note. When combined with ground red chili, the combination is piquant & strong. Chilles help to balance out the tartness from the pomegranate seeds and give the chicken a bold taste.Ginger & nutmeg gave the marinade warmth of a home cooked meal and the flavors, which stay on for hours. I added little garam masala, the magic Indian spices to infuse the dish with some smokiness. The ingredients are few but exotic, the dish is tangy & spicy.The recipe is perfect if you are looking for something new and exciting to try with chicken. The idea of this chicken recipe came from Anjum Anand’s pomegranate chicken recipe in one of her cookbooks. All in all, a recipe which I will be a regular in my house.
You can serve these little drumettes as appetizers or party snacks. We ate them with parathas (triangle flatbreads) and kachumer or really simple Indian salsa, the fresh vegetables help you clean the palette after all those spices have done happy dance in your mouth.Without any ado, lets jump to the recipe now.
Ingredients (Serve 2)
- 1 lb chicken skinned (I used thighs & drumsticks, You can use boneless or bone-in, the cooking time will vary in either case
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Cilantro & green chilies to garnish
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp anardana (Dry pomegranate seeds, Available at Indian Stores or buy powder on Amazon)
- 5-6 whole dry red chillies (adjust to tolerance)
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tbsp fresh minced ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry using a paper towel. Using a sharp knife, make incisions all over in the chicken. Set aside
- In a small sauce pan, lightly dry roast the pomegranate seeds & dry chillies. Once roasted tip into your coffee blender and grind to a fine mixture.If using readymade powder, roast the powder too
- In a bowl, add the ground pomegranate & chillies along with rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well to combine. Rub this all over chicken and, transfer chicken to a glass/plastic bowl, cover with cling film & let marinate for alteast 6-7 hours, refrigerated.
- Once marinated, in a cast iron skillet or any heavy bottomed pan, add the oil and let it heat up on high.Add the chopped onions to the skillet and cook the onions till golden brown.About 5-7 minutes.
- Once the onions are golden brown, tip in the marinated chicken to the pan along with all marinade.On high heat, sear the chicken for 5-8 minutes flipping it so that its lightly browned on all sides.
- Once seared, reduce the heat to medium and let the chicken cook in its own juices till completely done. About 10-12 minutes.Note:- This time will depend on how thick/big or small your chicken pieces are. Please adjust accordingly.
- Once the chicken is tender,remove from heat & mix in the garam masala. Cover the skillet with a aluminium foil and let sit for 8-10 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro, green chillies and serve with kachumer (recipe below) or on own or with rice/flatbreads.
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 1-2 Thai green chilli (optional)
- 2 medium roma tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Black Salt to taste (substitue with normal salt)
- Pinch of roasted cumin powder (optional,I dont use it but traditionally it is added so I m noting down)
Combine all the chopped vegetables in a bowl. Add fresh lemon juice and cumin powder (if using).Refrigerate until ready to serve. Add salt before serving, mix well. Note that you can decrease or increase the quantity of vegetables from what I have mentioned.The quantities above are what I generally use.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!