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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanking the turkey and digging into some Chicken in Orange Sauce

It’s Thanksgiving and the perfect time to be cooking up a delicious duck l’orange. Now this is a Calcutta favourite – and one of mine as well. And no other dish looks as lovely as a whole roasted duck, hot out of the oven, glistening in a rich orange sauce. The mixture of bitter-sweetness of the orange sauce and the ginger juliennes adds a unique taste to the dish. It’s also the perfect season for juicy sweet oranges, which helps make it as organic a dish as you can possibly whip up -- of course for most of us the fruits will come from the neighbourhood vegetable vendor and not a tree, but at least we know our intentions are good.

But since we can’t get our hands on a good duck usually or won’t eat duck –here’s a recipe for Chicken in Orange Sauce, which is almost as nice to eat and definitely much easier to cook.

Chicken in orange sauce

1 chicken – around 1.5 kg, cut into 12 pieces

1/2 tsp salt, to tase

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup flour

1/3 cup oil

½ cup chilli sauce/ any spicy sweet sauce (I sometimes use a dash of chili flakes and a 1/2 cup of white wine instead of chili sauce)

2 capsicums (chopped)

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp prepared mustard (Colman’s mustard powder is the best)

1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed)

1 tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tbsp soya sauce

2 oranges, sliced into rings

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.

In a bowl mix the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge chicken parts in the mixture. Place a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Pour in the oil and lightly brown the chicken pieces. Then arrange the chicken in a baking dish – which you can also serve it in, like a casserole.

In a separate pan, place the remaining ingredients other than the orange slices and allow to simmer over low heat for about five to seven minutes – you’ll figure out it’s done as all the ingredients look well-blended. Keep stirring now and then. Taste and adjust the salt, keeping in mind that the chicken has already been salted.

Pour this sauce over the chicken pieces, cover with foil – if using a casserole then with a lid -- and place in the oven. Bake the chicken until it is tender, usually takes around an hour. Keep checking the chicken, you could inset a knife in it and to see hwo tender it is. The juices running out of it should be white and not pink. After an hour, place the orange slices on the chicken, remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes. There should be a fair amount of sauce in the pan by now.

Remove from the oven and serve with either rice or thick bread, buttered potatoes and a green salad.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Viva o Viva - where the crabs are the way God intended them to be

Well it's been ages since I left a post, and there's no other excuse other than the fact that I've been lazy and a little too busy at the restaurant. But a fabulous meal, just yesterday, at someone else's restaurant has give me the much needed kick on the rear to write a new post.

I love Goan food, especially sorpotel and vindaloo and a nice fish curry, but sadly for me there are NO Goan restaurants worth their salt in Delhi. Till now, that is. I'd read a lovely article about this new chef-led restaurant in the recently opened Goa Niwas. The review was written by Rahul Verma, who I have high regard for because he loves my restaurant also.

A friend of mine, Radha and I made the trek to Chanakyapuri and found Goa Niwas, which has a strange deserted air about it. Like a ghost motel -- only a very fancy one, littered with beautiful installation pieces and horrible chintz covered furniture.

I'd called up the chef the day before and asked whether we needed a reservation, to which he tut-tuted and said no. So here we were in a large airy room with neon green plastic chairs and Mario Miranda placemats and a menu written on those fancy new blackboards on which you can write with a marker. A table of foreigners were already seated at a table and then there was us. Orders were only taken once the Chef had entered the restaurant, after visiting the fish market. And then what a spread we had.

Prawn peri peri (unlike what I've ever had even in Goa, this was dry and fried), Goan fish curry, rawa fried fish and the most humungous sized and delicious crab rechad I have ever seen or tasted. Both the fish dishes and the prawn were exteremly well flavoured and the prawn especially was really fresh. Like bona fide Bengalis we chewed up the heads you see, and they were just lovely and fresh and full of eggs and brain. (I'm sure I've made a few people hurl while reading this sentence, but seafood lovers will understand our joy). With streaming nostrils and no hankies, Radha and I could not have been happier.

The chef looked a little scared by our order though, but I think I noticed a glint of admiration in his eyes when he saw we'd polished off almost everything. The best part was the bill - a grand total of Rs 900. I still can't figure out how the crab was just 300 bucks though, but ours' was not to question why. Ours' was but to eat and die, very happily.

No pork came our way because he hadn't bought any pork that day. Another good sign -- all the produce is fresh. So, another visit is in the offing - just so we can catch the piggy who came back from the market. When you visit just make sure the chef is in, or you won't get any food. I'm still wondering what the table of tourists ate though, because they kept repeating loudly that they wanted the vegetarian thali. Poor buggers.

The crab picture given below is of the Brown Sahib Kankrar Dalna/ crab curry.

Cooking a lovely pomegranate chicken now -- will post the recipe if it turns out well.