My father always said that the every new game starts at zero. I now know that feeling. Thank you everyone for attending the party at my 100 post. I woke up, all smiles and gift only to find that I start at one again.
I have always been a big fan of simple things. By that I don't mean, I like tacky things. Not at all. but Simple enough to be appealing and yet not confusing. This is a classic example. But I like to think about it. Take google website for example. I mean most of it is white space. The search box in the centre defines the biggest purpose of the web page. But then, if you look at all other, including yahoo. Clustered. You need to be with Yahoo for a sometime till you can figure out what it is tha they are selling. I have been with it for twelve long years. And I am still not sure what it is trying to sell. News, views, mailservice, search engine, health, beauty, fashion...?
Food is like that. I don't really enjoy clutter too much. There should be but one focus of any recipe. A lot of recipes taste really good...but then I am often confused with what it is I am tasting. The tangy tomato? or no the Saffron? And that is a kind of turn off to me. Don't get me wrong. But this is true for many popular entrees. One I will use as a strawman is the ever favorite 'Butter-chikken Tikka Masala' .
Okay the name is confounding to begin with :) Butter--Tikka- Massala? And then Massala really means 'spices' and 'Tikka' is just a technique of grilling little bits over hot charcoal. But when I taste butter-chicken-Tikka massala, the confusion reigns even higher. I am tasting this salty, hot, spicy, sweet tangy thing....but what is going on? See I don't like this sort of confusion. For one thing is sure all of these ingredients have such gorgeous flavors. And its a pity to down them into one another. For example, if I want butter in my dish, I will use a herb and lemon to increase the smokiness of the butter. If I want a spice I will use it to dominate a recipe. And if I want barbecued the only thing I am gonna use is a bit of yoghurt, oil and cumin and cayenne pepper and maybe some coriander :) The flavors stick out.
That is what I love in any food. And its not a simple thing to come up with simple combinations that work wonders. Often we think the more the merrier. But when we do come up with these simple lines of flavorings, its often difficult to beat :)
One such recipe is Spinach chicken. And you won't believe it that it is adapted from a recipe book of traditional bengali recipes (written in local vernacular) and a gift from my grandmother who bought this a good 30-40 years back. It is so simple and elegant...flavorful and you can literally eat tons of it. There is so little oil to coat your taste buds
So without much ado...straight into onion-spinach chicken-- a flavor that sticks. Traditionally speaking :)
2 lb of chicken. I opt for the organic drumsticks. Bone in. But feel free to discard the skin. I also use organic whole chicken and ask the friendly butcher to chop it up. That way I get the taste, flavor of whole organic chicken at 1$/lb :) Neat trick I tell ya :)
1 big bunch of spinach. Baby spinach, organic spinach..any thing you have on hand
4 cloves of garlic- grated
2 big tomatoes. Chopped up
1 big or two medium onions diced.
1 Jalapeno. Seed removed and diced. You can keep the seeds for heat if you like.
1 tbsf of whole coriander.
A few cloves. This is the fragrance imparting ingredient
1/2 a tsp of Turmeric for color
3 tbsf of olive oil.
3-4 cups of water for boiling chicken.
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Cilantro and Parsley for garnish
All you gotta do is this :)
In a pot take water and boil your chicken. While your chicken is waiting to be cooked, in a skillet, heat oil and add the coriander. Wait for fragrance and add the onion, Fry for 4-5 minutes till they are browned. Add the tomatoes and keep sauteeing for another couple of minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, spinach and the cloves. Wilt everyting down. Turn off the stove.
After the chicken is done cooking, strain the pieces and put in back in the pot. Add the spinach- mixture you just made and the turmeric. Let everything combine. A good 5-6 minutes over low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley or Cilantro.
Serve hot with jasmine rice or will be great with dinner bread and rolls.
Its simplicity and aroma is just awesome. Try it to know it :)
Happy eating and healthy living