Anti spice brigades

Mallika Basu - Anti spice brigades


chicken-ceylon.jpgI have a tried and tested approach to people who don’t like Indian food. Zero tolerance.

First I glare at them with disbelief. Then I heckle them to find out why they have such a shocking opinion. Finally, I launch a impassioned tirade on how it’s impossible to hate Indian food because there are so many different flavours and dishes on offer.

It works – they never speak to me again.

What really sets me off is when people say they don’t like Indian food because it’s too spicy. What a crock of sh*t. Some dishes are spicy but not all!

And the amount of spices used in food varies from household to household. My home in India was definitely styled on a less is more philosophy.

If there ever was proof needed, here is a chicken curry recipe that can be mild and subtle for the anti spice brigade or fiery hot for spice lovers.

This recipe serves 5-6 people:

800gms chicken cut into pieces (I used 8 pre-packed thighs and drumsticks, skinned)

1 tin coconut milk (400gms)

2 medium onions

4 cloves garlic

2″ stick ginger

1 dry whole red chilli

1 tbsp mustard

20 curry leaves

4 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tbsp mustard oil

Salt to taste

Puree the onion with the ginger, garlic and chilli. Heat the oil and when hot, fry the paste stirring vigorously. Keep the flame up and go for it or the pureed onions will take an age to cook. Don’t let the mixture burn though and if it starts sticking to the pan, add a little water.

When the raw smell goes, add the chicken and brown on high, mixing the masala in. When the chicken has turned white all over, add the coconut milk.

Lower the heat and simmer until the chicken pieces first bleed (sorry this sounds so disgusting) and then start separating from the bone. If in doubt, take a piece out of pan and cut it open.

When the chicken is done, heat the mustard oil in a small pan. Mix in the mustard paste and then chuck in the curry leaves. They will sizzle up and release the most glorious aroma.

As soon as you can smell them, mix this tempering into the chicken curry pot. Let it simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavours in and finish by adding salt to taste.

13 responses to “Anti spice brigades”

  1. Deana says:

    Oh this looks very easy! I’ll try this one this week and let you know what I come up with!!!

  2. Jasmeen says:

    Hi Mallika

    looking forward for some nice vegetarian recipes!

    Booked my saturday to try the chick pea meal!

    Thanks for visiting the blog and I do hope your blore client participates

    now to establish that this is a small world- we went to the same school..I do remember you..I was in the 1998 batch 🙂

    Its really good to meet you here!

  3. Asha says:

    Looks so wonderful to looks at , chicken swimming in the coconut sauce! YUM!!

  4. Mallika says:

    It really is a small world, isn’t it Jasmeen! Veggie recipes on their way for you.

    Thanks Asha. I’ve just been looking at your moong dhal recipe.

    And Deana, I will be waiting for feedback!


  5. Shan says:

    Hi there – just wanted to ask you about the mustard and mustard oil :

    1) Is it mustard seeds or mustard from a jar i.e dijon etc

    2) If I’m unable to get mustard oil, can i subtitue it for someone else?

    Thanks for your help 🙂

  6. Mallika says:

    Hi Shan – it’s just plain mustard from a jar. The stronger the mustard the less of it you need. e.g. less dijon more wholemeal. Here texture is not as important as taste so add a little and see what you think before adding a bit more or not.

    If you can’t get mustard oil, just substitute it for your cooking oil. It’s not a big deal at all.

    Good luck! Looking forward to hearing how it went… 🙂

  7. Shan says:

    Hi again – have just sheepishly realised my spelling errors :

    I.e substitute “something” else as opposed to “someone” else :p

    Uh oh. heh. Just realised how funny that would have come across. Oh dear 🙂

    Will try it out and let you know how it went. Thank you again for your help.

  8. George says:

    Just tried this – not bad at all. If you can’t find mustard oil, crackle a teaspoon/tablespoon of mustard seed in sunflower oil instead. I also went for fresh chillies, and then added dried (whole) after the coconut milk.

  9. Serendipity says:

    Great recipe. Although bit odd that the defence of Indian food is a recipe from Sri Lanka..?!

  10. Mallika says:

    Hi Serendipity – as I know no one from Sri Lanka and have never had the pleasure of visiting it either, this recipe is from my home in Kolkata, India. Not that odd after all…

  11. wayne obrien says:

    I dont understand people that dont like indian food either! alot of people think there is only 1 type of curry! and that its brown and is very hot!!! dohhhhhh

    I have recently tried this dish from my local ‘indian’ takeaway and found it to be one of my fav’s and thats after eating curries for over 18 years! Its so rich in flavour!!

    I have friends around tommorow and i thought i would have a go at cooking it! hence my visit too this site, in search for the receipe. Many thanks!
    I will post back!

  12. Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges.

    It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank
    you for sharing!

  13. Sandy says:

    This was so helpful and easy! Do you have any artlices on rehab?

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