Summer is over.
Days of the sandal is now numbered. I feel like grabbing a shoulder, any shoulder and crying but I will not. Instead I will act brave and welcome Fall and think of moving to the Bahamas.
Summer is over also means start of school which is not all that bad.
BigSis started fourth grade in a new school this year. This new school has a lot of her old friends and so she settled in happily. But in a month she will be moving to another new school. That new school will be a totally *new* school.Yes, we are weird parents taking weirder decisions all the time. All these changes can be real intimidating for a 8 year old but apart from some minor whining she has done good so far.
I,myself, have changed schools every 3-4 years as a child and do understand it is not the most exciting thing to look forward to even though it comes with its own advantages. Strangely in spite of my past experience I am more jittery than her about the *new* new school but am trying to act as if it is something one does every other day. "Oh today is a nice sunny Tuesday. Let me go to school# 2 today", seems to be my motto.
LittleSis has also moved on to Pre-K and has finally gotten over all kind of school related anxieties. She has finally realized that "School e porashuno hoyna. Shudhu Khela ar khela"(There is no studying in school. Only play and play). Once that realization hit her, she took to school with much more excitement and is kind of okay happy to be there. Fingers Crossed, you never know with that girl.
Writing this right now it also hit me how the two girls have grown. Only three years ago I was writing about BS's first grade and a year back it was dealing with LS starting pre-school and now they are in fourth and pre-k and happy to be there. However unlike most sane Mothers I am not at all senti about them growing up. I am happy that BS gets ready for school with almost zero help from me and even LS dresses herself on her own. The only thing I am worried about is I might not have much to blog about once they grow up. I mean it is much more fun writing that LS has changed her future vocation to "Nothing" and that there is a monster living on top of "Beamstalk" than my own PMS. So you see other than blog related stuff I am perfectly happy about my babies getting older.
Now on to the recipe which I made specially for BS since she refuses to eat chicken unless it is a spicy, dry dish. We recently had Chicken Varuval at a restuarnt and liked it. No, it had nothing to with Falafel. It was a dry, spicy preparation with South Indian flavors.Incidentally we all love dry, spicy chicken booming with South Indian flavors and so once I realized there was one more chicken fry out there in the world, I had to make it. Of course if it was a difficult thing to do I would have just gone back to the restaurant.
I saw many recipes on the net which I liked but I decided on an unison of this one from Savitha's Kitchen and this one from Sig's Live to Eat. Now both these recipes say Kozhi Varuval which basically means chicken fry but I guess one recipe is from Andhra and the other from Tamil Nadu. I liked the use of fennel seeds in Sig's recipe and I already had the onion paste so there. I also made it less spicy and used only Kasmiri Mirch but BS said she could have handled more heat that that.
Finally I am making no claims on the authenticity of my dish which is a mix of the two regions but it tasted very good, almost like the one at the restaurant and it was a Chicken Fry-- a varuval. To know more about the original dish also check Srivalli's recipe which I later saw had the cumin-peppercorn powder, a flavor which was present in the varuval I had tasted.
Cooking traditional recipes off the net can be tricky as you never know which is which.The problem is triple folds if you are new to the cuisine. Recently at a Food Forum I had an awkward experience where a contributor posted a recipe of prawns with mustard and coconut and labeled it as Prawn Malai Curry. The dish looked perfect and the recipe was great. Only. Only it was NOT prawn malai curry. When I voiced my opinion, of course no one liked it and declared that some regions of Bengal cook Malai curry that way. Now honestly I know a lot of Bengalis and not a single person cooks Malai Curry with mustard paste. There are small variations with a ginger here, a garlic not there but definitely NO mustard or poppy seed paste. It would be a situation where one made Alfredo Sauce with tomato base.
Now I am not a stickler for authentic recipes and most of my cooking has variations but totally messing up the central ingredient or spicing of a traditional recipe and yet sticking to that name is what makes me queasy. Also I feel when one does their own take on a traditional recipe, it is best to give references to the authentic one and then clearly specify the variations one has made. What do you say ?
Chicken Varuval -- a spicy Chicken Fry
Make paste of
Half of a small red onion + 3 fat cloves of garlic
Marinate 3/4th lb of chicken with
little lime juice
1 tsp Kashmiri Mirch (or Red Chili Powder)
I used boneless chicken thigh pieces cut in bite size and marinated for almost an hour.
Next heat Oil for frying the chicken pieces.
Temper the Oil with
1 tsp of Fennel Seeds
5-6 Dry Red Chili(I used Byadagi for less heat)
half of a small red onion finely chopped. Ideally you should also add few green chilies at this point.
Once the onion is soft and pink add the chicken pieces along with the marinade.
Add few curry leaves, around 1 more tsp Kashmiri Mirch and salt.
Toss everything together and fry the chicken pieces. The way I do is, I cover the fry pan to let the chicken pieces cook and then I remove cover every few secs and give a good stir. The chicken will release water. Let the water dry up and the chicken get fully cooked. Break up the chicken into smaller pieces if you have not done it before and then fry. You might also need to sprinkle some water in between.
Saute till chicken is fried and browned on all sides. Add more curry leaves and serve hot.