From the picture above it's pretty obvious how much of a spice girl I am. Matter of fact I don't think I've ever met a spice I didn't like, the sight of all these exotic spices staring rather lustfully at me anytime I open my spice treasure trove just leaves me all giddy and warm inside. Don't be put off by all the names of the spices on my menu, if you live in Lagos a quick trip to Spar, Park n Shop or Shoprite will sort you out in the spice regard (you can also get them where Asians love to shop for food, better still make friends with your Indian colleague at work and I'm sure they will be pleased to get some for you when next they travel home or tell you where you can get cheap spices or even better still give you some from their own stash).
This weekend I decided to cook an Indian meal (Indian-Portuguese to be exact) I absolutely love but haven't cooked myself before. I ate it once and liked the spiciness and richness it had so when I found my stash of brown sugar somewhere in my baking supply cupboard I decided to give it a go. Like a lot of Indian food, this meal is practically brimming with spices, to be honest it's not the easiest meal to cook but with patience and perseverance you could have a meal that you can whip out anytime you want to impress your friends that you're an Indian-food-cooking-genius.
800g chicken, washed and cut into bite size pieces
2 large onions, sliced, sauteed in a tbsp of oil till caramalized (slightly browned), cool and make paste
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (Click Here to learn how to make yours at home)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
4 tbsps vinegar + 1 tsp brown sugar (set it aside for a minimum of 15mins)
Salt to taste
2 tbsps oil
Prepare a Garam Masala (a combination of different spices roasted and mixed together):
There's no standard spice combination when doing a garam masala as it depends on individual preference (in my case its availability of spices). For my Chicken Vindaloo I used the following spices:
3/4 tsp roasted Menthu seeds (also called Fenugreek)
2 tsp of extra hot Cameroun pepper
1 tsp roasted Cumin seed (also called Jeera)
2 sticks of Cinnamon (you can use 1 tsp of ground cinnamon)
Seeds from 2 pods of green Cardamom (also known as Elaichi)
I roasted the Menthu, Cumin and Cardamom seeds together under low heat till so the could release their flavours (stop roasting before they burn, stop when the seeds start popping in the pan)
|Roasting seeds for my garam masala|
|Most of my ingredients all prepped and primed and ready to be cooked|
The picture above shows in a clockwise direction: Washed chicken, caramelized onion paste, garam masala paste, ginger-garlic paste and the vinegar + brown sugar mix
- In a sizable pot heat the cooking oil and add the mustard seed and garlic paste, allow to sizzle for like 3 minutes
- Sprinkle turmeric and coriander powder with as much salt as you want
- Add chicken and fry till they turn a bit brown (carefully turn the chciken pieces regularly so both sides are uniformly slightly browned
- Remove browned chicken from the pot and set aside, using the same pot, add more oil if necessary and throw in (carefully of cos) the caramelized onions paste, garam masala paste. Allow to saute for 2 minutes
- Add the Vinegar + Brown Sugar mix, a cup-and-a-half of water and the chicken pieces and cook till chicken softens and you have a nice thick gravy sauce going.
- Serve with regular or Basmati rice garnished with coriander leaf (optional of course)
The meal turned out better than I hoped as everyone had double helpings and I spent the whole day basking in Mr. Man's ray of praises (he loves to eat and I love to cook...what a match).