Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dorm Cooking 01: Chicken Curry for First-Time Cooks of Non-Veggie

[Guest-Post by Anita Dixit]

1. Take down from the supermarket shelf the smallest available pack of chicken drumsticks. Look at it with some trepidation. Replace. Take down again. Replace. Repeat three times. Finally, cross fingers and buy.

2. Take home and announce to unsuspecting spouse 'I have bought chicken drumsticks. I'm going to cook them myself.' Ignore his look of panic. Also ignore his pleading look as he says 'will you also take off the skin yourself?' He's trying to make you say No. Don't say no - you're going to do this all on your own!

3. Open packaging. Take final, scared, look at chicken. Then grasp firmly. Let out a sigh as you find that it does not feel slimy, or ooze blood onto your hands, or any such disgusting thing.

4. Remove skin. Correction, attempt to remove skin. Chicken will resist having its skin removed and tenaciously cling onto it. Do not give up. Continue to pull off skin.

5. After two drumsticks have been skinned, start swearing fluently under your breath. This makes the skinning easier. A sentence like 'saale, tu kya, tera baap bhi niklega!' is extremely effective. Preferably, swearing should be done in one's native tongue. However, take care to keep the volume down, to prevent spouse offering to help again. You DID want to do this yourself, didn't you?

6. After skinning four drumsticks, start contemplating philosophical issues: why would a dead chicken be so attached to its skin? what use does it have for it? is this a sign that consumerism is moving from humans to chickens - a form of reverse bird flu? or is it evidence that the soul exists even after death and resists dispossession of what it considers its own? Such philosophising will enable you to get through the last two drumsticks.

7. Finally get through last two drumsticks. Wash hands and knife thoroughly, they're totally sticky and slimy by this time. Give chicken one last baleful look. Then proceed to make several deep cuts in each drumstick. Resist temptation to attack it with the knife as if you're trying to murder it. Remember, it's already dead, no point giving vent to your anger through violence.

8. Now you're in your element! All you have to deal with is spices and herbs and cooking, and you know how to do that! Smile. Then proceed to marinate the chicken with yoghurt, salt, turmeric, and red chilli powder. Mix thoroughly, make sure drumsticks are properly covered. Let it sit for 2 hours.

9. Slice onions fine, make a paste of ginger, garlic and green chillies. Saute onions in about 3 tablespoonfuls of cooking oil. When they start turning golden, add garlic-ginger-chilli paste and saute a bit more.

10. Add marinated chicken. Let it cook till most of the yoghurt gets absorbed into a thick gravy. Don't worry, it WILL get cooked, and in a reasonable time. Just because it's not a vegetable, that doesn't mean that it's uncookable. You can make the gravy as thick as you like.

11. Remove from fire, garnish with lots of coriander leaves. They taste good, and they look very good too!

12. NOW you can complain to spouse about the tenacity of the chicken in holding onto its skin. He will tell you that there's a right way of doing it. Doesn't matter now, since you've proved that you can do it all on your own, you can take help now. Give sheepish grin, and say 'Yes, I'm sure I was doing it all wrong, you show me next time.'

13. Ladle onto plate, cross fingers hard. Voila, it's cooked! And tastes good too! Look tentatively at spouse. He's licking his fingers. He turns around and says, 'accha banaya hai!' with a big smile. Way to go, baby! You finally cooked chicken! A world of endless possibilities is open to you now...


Abhik Majumdar said...

Rediscovered this post after a long, long time. Feels like reading it anew all over again.

I don't understand why nobody has commented on it yet. Have you read Erma Bombeck's dispatches from the home front? Your writing style reminds me of her. Funny yes, but it's a funny you can relate to.

Keep writing, and not just about economics :)

swati said...

Read and it was an amazing read... Was having Avanthi's terrific looking face in frnt of me....

Abhik Majumdar said...

Swati, I agree Avanthi's terrific looking. But perhaps it'll be more accurate if while reading this article you keep in your mind's eye another terrific-looking face, that of our friend Anita Dixit (who wrote it).

:D :D :D

Wings of Harmony said...

If cooking was such hilariously doable, I would do it everyday! Brilliant!!! :D Would try this step by step when at home! :D

Pradeeta (Wings of Harmony)

Wings of Harmony said...

If cooking was such a hilariously doable task, I would do it everyday! :D Brilliant Read!! I will try this out step by step once home!! :D ~Pradeeta

Abhik Majumdar said...

Anita, I hope you've read the last couple of comments! Could we expect more posts from you?

Pradeeta, once again many thanks for commenting. I completely agree with you, and just don't understand (a) why few have noticed it so far, and (b) why Anita doesn't write more.

Unknown said...

Yes Abhik... I do wonder why it sunk without a trace for so long. But as to the answer to your qs (b) - why Anita doesn't write more - is that Anita has been bahu'fied - and now scarcely enters the kitchen without Sasuma's permission!