Dec 5, 2009

Mustard chicken-- spice that lures :)

The captain had lost his ship and almost all his crew in the storm that washed him ashore sometime yesterday night. A crew of 300  navigators, sailors, merchants and salves who set sail with him from Portugal to trade for coveted spices from India.  He lay on the beach and ss far as his eyes could see there was the tireless ocean on one side and a vast..vast endless desert on the other. Suddenly, his weary eyes caught sight of a shining thing in the beach sand. He crawled closer and for the love of god, it was a shining  glass cube. He lifted the cube to the sun and heaven sparkled like a real diamond. He looked ahead..and in that midday sun the deserted beach shone with sparkles of diamonds..big ones..small one...

Have you heard of the term 'Sperrgebiet'. It means the 'forbidden zone'. Here along the cursed coast of the Namibia, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the vast Namib desert on the other is a beach strewn with diamonds washed down by the Orange river of Namibia. A beach which has been the graveyard for merchants and sailors lost in the ocean near the tip of South Africa. A beach which brought people to the brink of ecstasy at the hope of riches...that could be acquired but  'forbid' possession. 
Centuries of mariners have had the misfortune to be guided to this beach as they lost control of their ships in storms as they tried round the cape of good hope to continue onto India, the land of riches and spices. But it was cursed.  The winds and waves were such that landing a ship onto these shores back in those days was impossible. It had to be fierce storms that would wash ships ashore and ultimately sink them.  And once stranded here, mariners did find armfuls of riches..Riches that they never thought existed..but no one made it back. The Namibi desert engulfed them all.  Ironically, it is these waves and winds wich prevent the diamonds  from being washed into the sea. And it is these waves that protected the riches from being stolen...
Till De beers established diamond mining monopoly here. 
I have to say,  that ancient mariners went through such fantastic horrors to get something which we can now find right across the in our regular groceries. Spices. Of course we won't ever have the fortune of being so rich and also not the misfortune of losing it all so quickly. But of course, we can get a hold of those ill-coveted spices and make incredible dishes that brings to us the spice of life :)
And this recipe is a tribute to the bliss of these spices that brought shipwrecks, storms , diamonds and deaths to so may sailors. Mustard Chicken. A recipe that was invented by me and R independently. And enjoyed together
To lost souls..!
Chicken : 1 lb. Easiest with skinless and boneless. But you can use any varaity
2 tbsf Garlic. Grated
1 tbsf ginger. Grated
3-4 green chiles. Take the seeds out and slice them.
1 big onion. Chopped

1 tbsf  chopped Dill. For a more authentic flavor, you can substitute with curry leaves
2-3 tsp whole mustard seeds. You can also add in 1/2 tsp of cumin and/ or nigella.
half a cup of white vinegar
1/2 tsp of sugar
3 tbsf oil
1/2 cup of water or chicken stock. Use warm water or chicken stock that has been out of the refrigerator for at least half an hour. This helps to seal in the flavorful vapors while cooking
Salt and pepper to season
A wedge of lime
1/2 cup of Cilantro or Parsley. Chopped. Use the stem as well. Adds more flavor and heartiness.
Lets spice it up!
Chop up the chicken into bite size pieces. Marinade with 1/4 th cup of vinegar and 1/2 tsp of grated garlic. Soak the chopped onion in 1/4th cup of white vinegar. Leave for 10 minutes. In a skillet, heat oil. When hot, add the remaining garlic, ginger, Dill (or curry leaves), sliced green chiles, whole mustard ( cumin and nigella if you are using them) and  fry for 15 secs. The aroma is awesome. 
Squeeze the vinegar off the onions and add the onions to the skillet. Fry for 5-6 minutes till it is nicely browns. Squeeze the vinegar off the chicken and add them to the skillet. Saute, saute and saute for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, lime juice from the wedge of lime, salt  pepper and water/ stock. Lower heat. And cook for another 5 minutes, till chicken is cooked through. Saute. Make sure that the bottom is not sticking. Add the cilantro and parsley. Saute for a minute. 

Serve warm :) The dish is  just too good to be true. Simple and elegant and brings to you  the flavors of all the spices. In fact you can add whole cumin and nigella to it as well. And it will be even better! No wonder ancient mariners risked their life for this :) :)

Happy eating and healthy living!


Fairy Footprints said...

This looks delicious.

Hope your having a wonderful weekend.



A Year on the Grill said...

aren't spices amazing!!!

I love the sound of this, everything should mix well... saving this one

SE(Denufood) said...

Spices, Spices, Spices, if not for spices, the worl would have been so different..!!!! chicken looks delicious..delicious invention!

Natalie said...

I can't imagine a life without spice... it is a form of addiction I think. I have read studies that show spice contains certain attributes that trigger feel good hormones in the brain... no wonder curry lovers can never give it up...!

I love this recipe J, i also love the simplicty of it...something i can easy whip up for lunch in a never overwhelm the dish either...rather... combine flavors in such a complimentary fashion...that it brings out the best in all of the ingredients...

Palidor said...

Mmmm, that looks delicious! I agree with Natalie - I can't imagine life without spices. What type of mustard seeds do you use? I prefer black ones.

A Full-Timed Housefly said...

What a delicious chicken dish ! I can't live without spice too.... thanks for sharing !

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Do you think this would work without vinegar?

Olive said...

I can't imagine a world without spices..ther'll be no great fun! ;)

Thanks for sharing your recipe, JW.. it looks so delicious, I love all the spices that you put in it :)

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Chow and Chatter said...

oh looks delish and what a captivating post great story telling!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Very tasty indeed! Mustard seeds are one of the few indigenous spices/herbs here in Canada.

Mae said...

"to the bliss of these spices that brought shipwrecks, storms , diamonds and deaths to so may sailors."

LOVE that line. :)