I reserve pizza dinners for those nights when I come back from work too late or too tired to cook. There was such a night earlier this week, and we had company as well â€” two of my older son’s friends from down the street. Their entire dinner conversation consisted of deriding their school lunch and waxing eloquent about the lunch offered by the neighboring school district. They have real pizza, they said, not the cheap cheese on cardboard excuse that we have. And their burger patties aren’t slimy, like ours. Their lunches are REAL fast food, they said with envy.
All that fast food talk got my competitive spirits up.Â I can rustle up a darn good meal, and my son knows he disses my cooking at his own peril. But of late he’s been coming to the table and saying, “Indian food, again!” I guess he wants the regular American fare that is standard in his friends’ home.Â But I’ve got some news for him: Our home is an Indian home (well, mostly) and Indian food is what he gets.
Last night I cooked a chicken curry, which is milder and less complicated than the one I usually make. And he loved it. I thought I would share it with our readers so that when your kid complains about the food you put on the table, you could offer this up. Most of the ingredients are easily available in the grocery store or in your kitchen cupboard.
2 1/2 pounds skinless chicken
1Â big red onion sliced
4 tomatoes sliced
2 teaspoons ginger paste
2 teaspoons garlic paste
4 green cardamoms, 1 piece of cinnamon broken into two, a couple of bay leaves,Â 1/2 teaspoon pepper corns and 6 cloves
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
2 green chilli pepper (optional)
1/4 cup of plain yogurt
salt to taste
A handful of coarsely chopped cilantro
Heat oil in a deep pan. Add the cardamom, cloves, peppercorn, bay leaves and cinnamon, and let it sizzle for 30 seconds. Throw in the onions and saute till it softens and begins to change color. Add the tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, ginger and garlicÂ paste and cook till the tomatoes soften, and then add the chicken and stir well and cook for about 10 minutes. When the chicken is partially cooked, add the yogurt and mix well, making sure no lumps remain. Cover and simmer till the chicken is done and there is a thick sauce. Throw in the cilantro and the green chilli pepper, if using, and mix well. Serve with warm rice.