Phewww...the last two weeks have been a tough week for folks in my part of the world as we are still reeling in the aftermath of the hurricane that made a landfall about 80 miles from my home. We felt the power of nature as huge gusts of wind rattled windows, my neighbor's tall willow tree swayed and finally fell, fences flew around like dry leaves in my front yard and we lost power.
People have lost homes and much more and so it doesn't sound right for me to start cribbing about my loss of power for several days. I guess the power became more of a problem since no one here has a backup power source and steady supply of electricity and water is taken as granted.Schools were off, traffic signals refused to work, most businesses, stores, including gas stations were unable to operate for the first couple of days.
The kids were the ones who made most of this situation though. They made up games to play by the flashlight, had many fun sleepovers, spent two happy days with an aunt which would normally have not happened during school week and lived life beyond the usual routine.
And it is in this chaos that I found many reasons to celebrate. That we were safe. That we had food . That we have great friends to tide us through the powerless days. That we got back power in time for election. That Little Sis can now clean her own bum.... Yes, yes that last one took me by so much surprise and admiration for LS.
She is the proverbial second child, the one whose potty training just happened without my breaking my head because I waited and waited until she was ready, the one whose reading or writing I don't worry about much as I have learned that a child attending a school will eventually do those, the one who eats more candy that her sister did at this age and I just give in tired of picking up any more battles, the one who is still the baby and gets away with a lot of tantrums I wouldn't have allowed otherwise. So the fact that LS cleans her own bum at school made me really proud. At home though she refuses to do that job. Yet.
She also likes "jhaal chicken" aka "spicy hot chicken". Big Sis also likes "jhaal chicken". So once we got back power "chili chicken" and fried rice was made for dinner. Indian Style Chinese Chilli Chicken is a hot favorite of almost every Chicken eating Indian I have ever met. The first time I had a hot, hot Indian style Chinese chilli chicken was many many years ago as a second grader at a small restaurant in the mountain town of Kalimpong. I knew very less about China at that time (not that I know much now) but my respect for the country had gone up just because of this single dish. I imagined a country where people ate Hakka Noodles, Chilli Chicken and Manchurian Fried Rice non stop for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What is not to respect.
Nowadays every time I make this Chi-ll-i Chicken, I feel very very sorry for the Chinese. I mean here I am getting annoyed if someone makes alu posto in olive oil and here is the poor Chinese who is getting credited for a dish that has nothing, nothing except Dark Soy sauce as the Oriental ingredient. That is if I am in the dark about Huen Tsang's love for loads of green chilli and hot spicy chicken.
With due apologies to the Chinese here is my Ma-in-law's version of the Indian Chilli Chicken. Cook it, enjoy it and never forget it.
Ma-in-law's Chilli Chicken
4 clove of garlic
4 green chili
to make a paste
Marinate 1-- 1.5 lb chicken cut in small pieces with
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp White Vinegar
and salt for an hour or half. If you can cut the chicken in 1" pieces it is best
When you are ready to cook add
1 beaten egg
& 1 tbsp of Corn flour to the chicken pieces and combine
Heat Oil in a wok or kadhai or a saute pan. Oil should be enough for frying.
Add the chicken pieces in a single layer and fry till they are golden brown. Remove the lightly fried chicken pieces and keep aside. The fried chicken will be ready to eat.
Usually the remaining oil will be too much for the gravy so take out most of it and use 2tbsp of it for the next steps.
To the oil, add 1 clove of garlic finely minced. Add 4 green chili chopped in rounds
When you get the flavor of garlic( careful don't burn the garlic) add 1 cup thick sliced onions. Fry till onion is pinkish brown.
Add 1 red/yellow/green bell pepper thinly sliced. Saute for 2-3 minutes. This step is optional and can be skipped
Add 2 tsp of Soy sauce + 1 tbsp of Maggi Hot&Sweet + 2 tsp green chili sauce + salt and mix. Note: Soy sauce has salt so careful. Instead of green chili sauce add Sambal Olek or if don't have any of those add couple more hot green chilli finely chopped
In about 3/4th cup of warm water mix 2 tbsp corn starch and make a smooth mix. Add this to above and mix well.
When the gravy starts simmering add the fried chicken pieces & fry at medium high for couple more minutes combining the sauce and veggies till chicken is totally done and the gravy is thick and clinging.
Garnish with chopped spring onions if you have those and serve with Noodles or Fried rice
Chinese Style Fried Rice
Wash 2 cups of rice in water and let it soak for 10 mins. Cook rice in enough salted water. Once the rice is cooked drain in a colander.
Now heat Oil in a wok. You can use the oil that you have remaining from making the chilli chicken.
To the hot oil add 2 cloves of minced garlic and some black or white pepper powder. Follow with finely chopped carrots and green peas. Add some soy sauce, salt to taste and cover and cook till veggies are done. Now add the cooked rice gradually tossing it with the veggies and sauce. Add little more oil if necessary. Finish adding all the cooked rice tossing so that all the rice is coated with the sauce and oil. Garnish with spring onion.