Chicken Sukka and Diwali Warmth7:29 AM
I have a thing for colour. despite of how much I drool at magazine pictures of pristine white houses with pastel highlights, does not matter how many times I promise to myself that I will deck my place just like that next time. but when its time to decorate I cant help but deviate towards colour. I mean some seriously bold colours, not the muted tones but brighters always work better for me.
Blame it on my Indian gene every time I see Crimson red, Ochre yellow, Fuschia, Turquoise I get distracted. I love the warmth and cheer that bright colours provide. but this does not mean I dont like my pinks and whites rather my wardrobe has quite a fair share of it.
While we are talking of warmth, the glow of candles and diyas cannot be left behind. Its amazing how a small candle has this amazing ability to transorm the atmosphere.
Here are a few clicks from my home during Diwali.
The center point of whole decor was a Paandan (traditional Paan or betel leaf box) which maa gave me on my last visit. It was part of her wedding trousseau and holds a very special place in my heart.
and last but not the least if you want warmth on your plate try this very spicy Chicken Sukke or Chicken Sukha. A traditional dry preparation from Maharashtra and Mangalore, that uses a different set of spices than our regular Bengali ones. I love this dish for the nuttiness of the roasted coconut and the tang from Kokum, a souring agent very own to this region. Below is my version which I developed following this and this recipe.
Chicken: 600 gms
Onions: 1 big
Garlic paste: 1 tsp
Ginger paste: 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Oil: 4 tbsp+1tbsp
Kashmiri red chili powder: optional (I have not used)
For the spice paste
Coconut: freshly scraped 5 tbsp
Onion: 1 big
Cumin seeds: a fat pinch
coriander seeds: 1 tsp
Dry red chillies: 2 (adjust as per taste)
Poppy seeds: 1/2 tsp
cinnamon: a small piece
Kokum: 3/4 or a marble size ball of tamarind
Wash and drain the chickens properly. Mix with ginger garlic paste, pinch of salt and lemon juice. cover and keep aside.
Very finely slice the 2 onions.
Heat a heavy bottom pan and pour 1 tbsp oil in it. Saute half of the onion on medium flame till it turns transluscent (6-8 minutes). Add the coconut and poppyseeds. Fry till the coconut takes on a light golden colour and you are hit with a nutty aroma. Add the cumin, coriander, red chillies, cinnamon, cloves, kokum and peppercorns. Fry till the cumin and coriander starts to pop. do not burn them or your dish will be ruined with a bitter burnt taste.
Cool this and grind to a fine paste with little water.
Heat the rest of the oil and temper with curry leaves. Add the onion and fry till they turn golden. Add the chicken with all the marinade, salt and turmeric. Cook on low till you see oil starts to separate at the sides. Mine takes at least 15 minutes as I use fresh chicken that leaves a lot of juice. This part is known as Kashano in Bengali and we consider it the most important part of cooking chicken curry. We cover and let the juice come out on low flame then we brown the chicken by gently stirring it from time to time.
Once this is done add the prepared paste. Mix and let the flavours mingle with each other. Do a taste test and adjust seasoning if needed. After a couple of minutes add 1/2 cup of warm water and cover it.
Let it cook on slow for the water to absorb and the chicken to get all the flavours from the spices. The dish should be dry with oil oozing out at the sides.
Serve hot with steamed white rice or roti.