Old cookbooks. I am addicted to them.
Anybody who enjoys spending any bit if time in the kitchen, other than only-eating, must be enjoying flipping through pages of cookbooks. The ones we have today have such awesome images-- honey drizzled over a juicily blackened chicken leg, a warm moist bread pudding with exactly two dollops of french vanilla dripping perfectly over the edges-- I tell you, just looking at the pictures makes me hungry.
And I am sure I am not the only one. Right on gang? :) :)
But old cookbooks. That is a different story. No images. And not much details too. And certainly not ones where every recipe is expalined stepwise or even why one must use an ingredient. The authors of these books, I think, assumes readers are experts in cooking and are only looking for ideas. Which may or may not have been true back then, but is especially bad if today, one is looking for savory quick recipes with some detail or for one who is just starting down this addictive path full of flavors. We could all use some details. please :)
But having put those two caveats in place, I think these old cookbooks are a fantastic! I love the fact there is no image. Which means that I can imagine anything about the look and smell and taste of a dish (of course that means I would have to know how a cumin and parika mix might smell like :)) and its the imagination which I strive to make. Nothing to set the bar up. No visual imagery to tell me if I am right-wrong, good- better-horrible. Just me and my interpretation of a concoction. Love it !
Also I love how old recipes have that complicated feel to it and yet simple enough when you can sort of think through which steps to abandon and which steps to hurry up! and which steps you cannot absolutely do without :)
And I got a few of these from my grandmother. Written in local vernacular (bengali in this case) and I can't make heads or tails of the measurements. But I love reading the recipes and then I go ahead, close the book and make these dishes. They turn out brilliant. Flavors go through me that I am fond of but never really tried before. Kind of feels like home, mom and grandmom and the kitchen back in my house in a tiny corner of eastern India.
These are the books !! looks ancient..don't they?
Today's one is a recipe...a very popular one in our household. And amazingly simple to prepare. I had no idea this was so simple :) So here is a tribute to old cookbooks from me in my tiffany's from a few genarations across!
Chicken pot kebab. Don't ask me why its called kebab. It certainly isn't your regular tasting kebab. But is gorgeous :)
2 lbs of chicken drumsticks. You can use chicken whole breasts too. But certainly do not use boneless skinless. Have those bones intact :)
1.5 big onions.
1 cup of low fat or fat free yoghurt.
5-6 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger. Take the skin off.
half a stick of cinnamon
3-4 cardamom. Reccomended but optional
1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
2 tsp of sugar
1.5 tbsf oil.
salt to taste
1/2 cup of hot water.
All you do is marinade and cook!
Use your blender or food processor to make a marinade of onion, yoghurt, garlic and ginger. Marinade the chicken in the mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and best if you can leave it for 2 hours or more. I did with 1 hour.
Common guys this is a old cookbook. Time wasn't that relevant!
In a pot, big eanough to hold all the chicken, heat the oil and pop the cinnamon, cardamom,cloves, bayleaf. When the aroma hits you (10-15 secs), put the marinaded chicken in the oil, mix well together. Add the salt, sugar, chilli flakes and hot water. Cover and cook through on low flame. Roughly 20-30 minutes. Stir only occasionally to prevent food from sticking to the bottom of the precious pot.
Serve with Indian bread, regular artisan bread or even jasmine or regular rice. I suggest you can use simple couscous too!
Delightful, very traditional recipe from old cookbooks. I would say this is as simple as it gets :) and healthy too :)
Happy eating and healthy living!