I've been receiving emails from a few of you-who I place fondly in the "kiddie" category-who stay away from home for study/work reasons and who feel like cooking at least a couple of times a week to get all that canteen/restaurant food out of your system. This recipe is for you. It's very easy to make, fast to cook, requires only ingredients which almost anybody would (and should!) have in their kitchen, and absolutely yummilicious. Goes well with bread, even better with appams, ghee rice, and can be-albeit compromisingly- eaten with chapathis :-)
Stew is cooked in a variety of ways, even within a small state like Kerala. Even within one family, I guess different people would have their own ways of making a stew. This one is the way I've seen my mother make it, and it's generally the way its prepared in Mahe, but modified a little by her. It's one of my brother's and my favorite dishes and used to be a Sunday breakfast standard with appams, or even dinner on other days. Even though I'll never be able to replicate the taste of my mom's stew (as my brother keeps telling me!) the way I make it is still a favorite with my husband and I'm proud to say, even my son now!
For 500 g chicken, curry-cut pieces (which might serve 4 people-or less, if they are true foodies!)
- Oil 2 tablespoon
- Cloves 5
- Cinnamon 1-inch piece
- Onions 2 big, chopped into small pieces
- Ginger 1-inch piece, chopped fine or julienned
- Green chillies 2, each slit lengthwise into 2
- Tomatoes 1 big, chopped small
- Cornflour 1 teaspoon
- Potatoes 2 large, diced (optional)
- Coconut milk 1 cup, thick (I use coconut milk powder -Maggi or other brand-4 tablespoons mixed in half a cup of warm water)
- Pepper As much or as little as you can handle (use white pepper if you want a nice creamy color)
- In a pressure cooker/pan, heat the oil.
- Throw in the cloves and cinnamon, wait till they sizzle.
- Put in the onions, ginger and green chillies and stir around till the onions get translucent (meanwhile, enjoy the mouthwatering aroma that wafts through!).
- Now add the cornflour and stir around for a few seconds.
- Throw in the tomatoes and stir for just a minute. They should not become pulpy.
- Add the potato cubes and chicken pieces and stir till everything is mixed well.
- Now add enough water to just cover the chicken, put the lid on, wait for the steam to come out and put the weight on. After the first whistle, simmer and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Switch off and wait impatiently (if you're like me) for it to cool and open.
- Now switch the flame back onto a slow simmer, pour in the coconut milk, simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, add pepper, and transfer to a serving dish. If you like to garnish with cilantro, go ahead!
Note: You can substitute the chicken for mutton or vegetables (diced potatoes, carrots, cauliflower) to make mutton or vegetable stew.