Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chicken Fry

Monday, my daughters pre-school had a Mothers Day tea bang at 9 in the morning. Maybe they thought Moms needed a break and should indulge in leisurely tea at 9 in the morning instead of slogging at work. So I gave work a miss and went for the tea, who would miss a hot cuppa that too with cute 3 year olds.

I went with a vision of meeting the other Moms, of bonding with them, of meeting with them over cups of coffee at the corner café. Somewhere at the back of my mind I had a picture of the Moms outside the gates of the nursery school near my home in India. Snacking on Jhal Muri and Phuchka(Gol Gappa) they would be busy discussing animatedly everything from the Universe to in-laws while the kids slogged inside. Though Jhal Muri would be sorely missed I thought something of a similar bonding would transpire here too.

I also wanted to make my daughters social life more happening at this new school by arranging some play dates with her class mates as suggested by some of my Mommy Blogger friends.

Armed with a cheery feeling and great ideas I went.
But things didn't turn out exactly the way I dreamed...

There were super Moms with their hair in place, their lipstick the right color and not something random dug out of the purse, the kind who would arrange play dates with a panache and probably had all such events already entered in their Blackberry. I was awed by their mere presence and dare not extend any thoughts of bonding with them ever.

And then there were Moms like me with their hairs not only out of place but sticking at all wrong directions. But they unlike me were totally wrapped up in their own offspring and while I surreptitiously prodded other kids to check play date materials, they were very contented with their own. They smiled at me benevolently with a hint of suspicion, holding on tightly to their children.

Then there was someone whom I kinda knew and could coerce her into setting up a play date even if the café meeting wouldn’t transpire, but S had no liking for that perfectly well behaved sweet child of hers.

Finally however I met the mother of the little girl towards whom S had taken a fancy too. She was a nice Asian lady but alas knew very little English. Neither of us understood what the other said but I still managed to wrench her phone number from her. Hope when I call her up she will not hang up on me and maybe even agree to sharing a cup of tea.

Its been 4 days and I haven't called and I am sure by next week I will loose the number scrawled on a piece of paper and thereby my daughter will loose an aranged social meet up and instead play with my neighbours daughter. If my daughter ends up an aniti-social like her Dad when grown up you know who gets the blame.

Tired at the end of the day with so much self inflicted pressure, I wanted to cook something that didn’t need my undivided attention and would spice up my life too. So I made Chicken Fry frameworked from Sumitha’s Kerala Chicken Fry recipe. Check her blog Kitchen Wonders for the original Recipe.I had tried this last week too with some of my twists thrown in. I also baked the chicken first and then fried them. It was very very tasty considering the little time you need to devote to it. The main thing which gives this Chicken fry a distinct flavor is Kari Patta, with its heady aroma. So heres Sumitha’s Chicken Fry a la Sandeepa Ishtyle

I am sending this for this weeks WHB Kalyn's brainchild, hosted this week by Rinku at CookingInWestChester, the herb in question is of course Curry leaves or Kari Patta. Highly aromatic the curry leaves are very popular for seasoning in Indian Cooking. While Bay leaves are more popular for seasoning in North and East Indian Cooking, Curry Leaves is the preferred darling in South Indian Cuisine. However the two leaves are very different and do not substitute one with the other. These leaves have several medicinal properties and are good for digestive disorders, eye disorders etc. as described here . But I have always used curry leaves for flavoring never really ate them, don't now why.


What You Need

Skinless Chicken Drumsticks ~ 4-5

For Marinade
Plain Yogurt ~ 2/3 cup
Ginger Paste ~ 2 tsp heaped
Garlic Paste ~ 1 tsp heaped
Chicken Curry Powder ~ 2 tsp . This adds an oomph to the dish. I used Shan Brand. You can use Garam Masala instead
Corriander powder/Dhania Powder ~ 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder ~ 1/2 tsp or according to your spice level

For Frying
Onion Paste ~ 1 tbsp OR Chopped Onion -- 1 small
Curry Leaves/Kari Patta ~ 6-7
Green Chillies ~ 6 chopped. I like it spicy hot, adjust the green chillies according to your spice level


How I Did It
I used Skinless Chicken Drumsticks. After cleaning them I made some slits on them
Mix together Yogurt, Ginger paste, Garlic paste, Corriander Powder, Chicken Curry Powder, Chilli Powder, Salt. Marinade the chicken pieces in this for at least 40-45 minutes. Use this time to play with your kid or soak in a bubble bath if you have the luxury to do so. No you might not chuck your kid out of the window for that bathRemove the drumsticks from the marinade, place them on a lightly greased baking tray and bake the chicken drumsticks at 350F for 30 mins. They will be slightly browned at the end of this. During this 30 mins pack next days lunch or curl on the couch with your newly acquired book.You can entice the hubby to pack lunch and the kid by telling him you are TECHNICALLY cooking now.
Heat Oil in a Frying Pan. Since the chicken has been baked now you don't need much oil so use little of it. Also I used Olive oil while for the authentic Kerala version you should use Coconut Oil as suggested by Sumitha
Add the Onion paste, 6-7 curry leaves and 6 chopped green chillies.
When the onion has turned a nice pinkish brown add the chicken drumsticks
Add about 1 – 2tbsp of the marinade and fry them. I covered and fried till they were browned and done. You can add a little more of the remaining marinade along the way but the result should be dry so remember to fry till dry. Mine were not uniformly browned like Sumitha's but they were a nice color and tasted awesome.
Serve with wedges of lime and slices of red onions

Trivia: Curry Leaves tree is a small tree, growing 4-6 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm broad. The flowers are small white, and fragrant. The small black, shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous.(Source: Wiki)


  1. Sandeepa you made me crack up. You know what the Drumsticks looks fantastic. You should have taken some for the Mom's Day Tea Party at S's school. Nothing like good food to break the ice. I am not kidding you here, the first time all moms wanted to talk to me at DD's school was when I made Vegetable Pulav and took it for Grand Parent's Day (I would have been mobbed if I had taken Chicken Biryani) But the grandparents broke the ice faster than the moms did wonder Why though! Once their Parents had made contact, the moms were more open to me. Oh well the things you deal!

  2. call... nothing to loose :) :)
    Locals here are very friendly... superficially. In deep down they still don't feel too comfortable to socialize with non-locals... in my humble opinion. But again, keep trying, nothing to loose :) :)
    Love this chicken fry, will head to Sumitha's blog too. Thanks with hug!

  3. Sandeepa, ah... I know exactly what you mean.... I've been in the same situation in some social gatherings too... not the right fit for any group...

    I like Indo's idea of using food to break the ice... these chicken wings will be a nice start... who is going to say no that? After one taste, I bet they will be waiting in line to get a playdate for the kids with little S, so they can come over to your place for some munchies... :) I love that first picture... and the leaf plate too... :)

  4. Sandeepa, I agree with Gattina - call the lady end break the ice. It may take some efforts, but without trying we never know the results right?

    I have been upset lately with some issues involving other people. I have tried to establish the relationship again, and hope it works.

    And your chicken is very delicious! Great meal.

  5. hmm great idea Indo, i have at times been inthe same situation. now i take things lightly i know there are differnce in people whom we live with unlike in india we had a common community of freinds and nieghbours and kids had wonderfull playmates to bond. Thanks for all now my N has good friends after we shifted from our old location and she is enjoying though she will surely miss the indainised play like playing in mud, climbling trees playinging the back yard....

  6. Sandeepa,
    you can mail me at
    both of those are active.
    as for your post, you have a very good style of writing. Very witty and straight to the point. keep it up!!

  7. simply enjoyed reading about ur encounter with moms at ur blog and ur recipes....keep up the good work !! cheers!!

  8. I agree...... food is not a bad idea to break the ice... provided you get the opportuinity though. :)

    Love your ishtyle of writing. ;P

  9. I can ID so well with this Sandeepa, I'm the unglamorous, hair-sticking-in-all-directions kind, and so are most of my friends - like goes with like, I guess.

  10. Sandeepa, it was pretty enjoyable to learn your experiences. But never mind, these 'Mothers' can really be classified into different genus and species. My status as fulltime working Mom with extremely demanding time schedule( being advertising and not into any school or Bank or Govt...) was quite uncommon 8 yrs back among Moms of my son's classmates. Somehow now,we have found enough support groups for kids with Moms working till late and travelling frequently, once A junior started going to the daycare. Best of luck till you also find some Mom quite similar to you.

  11. Hey,Sandeepa Ishsyle Chicken looks great,good job.Nice entry too.
    Sandeepa,don't try too hard girl.You will face more of these as she grows up,no matter how friendly we are.That's how it works here in US.Ignore them and they will come to you.We as adults are treated like that too,never mind kids.Accept and try and get one or two kids to play with her.If you push the kids too much,they withdraw more.There is nothing wrong with enjoying few friends than being an extrovert:)

  12. Indo
    That's a good idea. But since these are tiny kids, the food is kind of restricted. Like if I take snacks it has to be store bought with the labels on :( Last time I did not know and took some home made cup cakes for the class, but they were not allowed. Because many of the kids have allergies the school has these restrictions

    You are right I probably will call

    Wait till you have kids. Normally I wouldn't bother but I wanted to strike up a friendship with the Moms because of the kids

    You are too sweet, I am sure your relationships will sort themselves out

    S has friends who are my friend's kids. But you know, now that they go to school they want school friends invited at home too

    Shall do

    Awwwwwww...thank you :) I resisted adding a "Quick" for Q, since Lot of the bloggers had that already :)

    Thanks, you are a dear

    Many of my friends now are unlike me, in the sense they are very propah but since I know them thru & Thru its ok. Earlier like you most of my friends were my kind with undone eyebrows and hair gone wild. But I am still awed by the propah kinds more so if they have kids unless I get to know them well

    You are right, time will tell :)

    I have kept in mind your earlier advise too but as some Moms said I though maybe I should arrange playdates with school friends for S too

  13. hmm... quite a critical one expressed well....I stay at mid-west and here people are very warm and casual..they exchange a smile or hello and hence when I came to NJ/NY area I was quite surprised to see the change in this attitude...I felt people are too busy to exchange a hello but let me tell u, most of them here in mid west too, do not want to break the line after saying a hello ...the personal space here is like a big D, 'I' and the space b'wn that semi-circle, I-)=D , thats not negligible at all...this is purely my personal perception during my short stay here and too early to jump into a conclusion, so breaking the ice is a real challenge, hope you get thru !! Missing our 'des'?


  14. Sandeepa, don't be fooled by the perfectly coiffed hair and lipstick. There are cracks underneath the facade, and maybe a sink full of dishes waiting for them when they go home.

    You have such a lovely blog. Very frank, observant and sensitive. I'll come visit again. You have more to share besides that tasty chicken.

  15. Shn
    I liked the D :) I think people are getting worried with my post now.
    I guess the same would be the case even if I am at India now, in my posts I talk of an India I dream of and not real.As people get busy they don't really have so much time to go around chit chatting. And even in India I would be awed of women with "hair in place", only that I didn't know a lot of them when I was growing up.

    Its only the first time I met these Moms and to tell you the truth, I did exaggerate a little in the writing ;-)

    Thanks for coming by :) Thats what I should remind myself, the dishes, at least mine are done :) But once you are a Mom, super cool Moms with flat abs and well coiffed hair at 9 on a weekday morning is always awe inspiring. Dishes or not I do praise them

  16. *gasp* You have no idea how similar an experience I had. You MUST move to Portland :-) I am still in splits about your comment on what if S turns out unsocial like D heehee.. I always grumble the same sentiment about my daughter and hubby too!
    Your post added some smiles (and laughs) to my very hectic workday today!

  17. the chicken fry palate looks awesome. nice write up.
    Btw what were you asking about food blog desam? Frankly speaking sandu, I never understood the funda of FBD. if you can pls explain it to me. what happens if I post something there? and how do I do it?

  18. i'm sure u & ur family enjoyed that chicken, i make that kind of marinade for paneer, it tastes pretty good.

  19. Sandeepa liked reading your encounter on mother's day with other mom's.. well keep trying may be you get a real good friend for little "S".

    And we always dream of India as we saw it growing up..It has also changed a lot now I believe..everybody is busy and running around being the best and extraordinary forgeting the days of simplicity where even chitarahar used to be a family event..

    Well I dont eat chicken but i must show this post to R as he love spicy chicken

    Take care dear

  20. Sandeepa, many women in my office, with kids grown and small, come in full regalia - I always marvel at them, also wonder how they find the time - till a friend pointed out that the kids and other responsibilities are probably the reason why they take that extra time to look good - however superficial make-up may be, whether they really can afford that time or not, it's their time, that's the least they can do for themselves, is what she meant. Probably there's a lot of truth in that!
    Btw, I attempted to answer your question in my blog, take a look!

  21. you're quite the story-teller, Lady.....the chicken's not for moi, but your anecdote is something I am sure everyone can relate to at one point in time........

    have a lovely weekend,

  22. What a great post! You perfectly captured that feeling of being at a social gathering, trying to make a connection. Don't give up. Even the perfect types want to make connections--well, some of them, I bet. :):) Well, your chicken had to take some of the sting out! It looks delicious. :) It strikes me that if any of these people read your blog and saw how marvelous you are--they would be clamoring to set up dates with you!

  23. SJ
    See this happened to you too right :) But don't get me wrong S is an extremely social person, she is the kind who warms up to people once she knows them a little. With my friends she even chats over the phone. D of course is like what i said...

    Answered at your blog. Sorry for the confusion

    Paneer with Karipatta too ?

    Yeah R is agood cook he can try this

    Checked your blog

    Thanks :)

    Maybe I was a little cynical in my rambling, actaully Since this is my daughters new school I didn't really expect a lot of bonding as I didn't even know the kids all that well. Even I would have behaved the same if I were in some one else's shoes.
    It was a dream you know :)

  24. It is not easy being a parent eh? Since I'm not one, I can only imagine. It is not just about bring up a child but deal the drama of things such as described in your post. Hat's off to you.

    The presentation of the chicken fry and the dish you presented it in are very attractive.

  25. Sandeepa. Great Post. I know the feeling about the school gate, the expectations of friendly banter and then the disappointing reality.
    My son and I ( in London) are keeping a blog on eating vegetables. Its meant to be fun and adventurous...if any of you know of any D vegetables would you put us out of our misery and leave us your ideas.
    Keep posting - you make me laugh out loud.

  26. Hey, I just dropped by to see your response :P what you said is absolutely style has completely changed in India....sometimes I am dumbfounded to observe the changes that has happened in these couple of years...and the gap is narrowing down a lot...who knows, when I go back to 'swades' I might even get a reality shock :P

    Hope you are enjoying the weekend:)

  27. Sandeepa I am so happy that you liked the flavour of curry leaves,your version looks yum too,I shall try your way next time.
    Sorry for what you had to go through,its scary,I feel even in India now the scene is not the same as before.Wish we had more friendly people like you!

  28. Sandeepa, the other moms are as shy as u are under their lipstick.Strike up a conversation and they all want the best for the kiddos. i am also shy but then if we don't break the ice, u are right, the kids will end up antisocial!
    as for curry leaves, i can't cook if i don't have it in the fridge(whether or not the recipe calls for it.)Its the most expensive item on my weekly grocery list..

  29. Sandeepa, this one is for u.:)

  30. sandeepa, i totally relate to you in so many ways because am a mommy of 3 year old myself. strike up a conversation with everyone with or without lipstick :)):)) and then communicate further depending upon the vibe they give you.

    love your story telling. little s is so lucky to have a mommy like you. you are so caring:)

  31. Cynthia
    Thanks dear :)

    You are right. Every time I go back I am amazed by the vast changes

    Thanks for the recipe. Its a fav in our home now

    I had seen the ad last year in India. Thanks for the link. Spent a good time seeing some more of those great ads

    Hee, hee you are right :)

    Great Big Veg Challenge
    Thanks for dropping by and thanks that I made you smile :)

  32. Sandeepa,

    Great story and post. I absolutely love your blog and writing. Keep posting, it brings a smile to people like me in the middle of a work day.


  33. Sandeepa, I'm thinking of making a trip to come see the big S and the kid S. :)) The chicken fry looks delicious. It's my favorite kind!

  34. It sounds so delicious. I've always wanted to try curry leaves, but I've never seen them here.

  35. Where do you get the time ? By the time I am back from work - picked my son up , bathed and fed him ..I am done !!!!!!!!

  36. Will try the recipe..looks delicious.... talking about school.. well it will be the third year in my sons school and I still have not met a kindered spirit...but hey..I always live in hope...and yes...I am in complete awe of those blackberry toting ,not a hair out of place, always immaculate and put together moms...I wonder how they do it ...


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