Jun 14, 2010

Chicken pot kebab-- A print out of an 'out-of-print' cookbook

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
3-4 cloves
2 bayleaves
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!


Bridgett said...

The flavors sound like they would be delicious. I love old cookbooks too until the step by step is hand drawn. I tend to avoid those!

Sayantani said...

I love to read cookbook but dont like to own them as that always make me hyper to enter the kitchen and recreate something from there. amar kache aktai ranna'r boi ache seta holo Leela Majumdar er. all those old world bengali recipes.
the pot kebab looks fantastic. Hubby would love to have it with pulao.

Brenda De Sousa said...

I have one of my grandmother's old cookbooks and it's just as you describe. Not a single photo and not many instructions or even recipe amounts. Some of it is in Swedish too and I don't speak or read a word of Swedish, lol. But I truly treasure this cookbook.

5 Star Foodie said...

A fun recipe! I love the spices here, terrific flavors!

sweetlife said...

i love reading cookboks..I enjoy older cookbooks also, they give us a look into the past...great recipe, so flavorful


Jennifurla said...

I could look all day through cook books myself, I look forward to reading more of your blog in the near future!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

I love old cookbooks! Have some from my grandparents and my Mom. They are gems. Your chicken looks totally delicious - such exotic spices and flavors!

Chow and Chatter said...

oh nice and easy and very tasty

Gloria said...

Im addicted to old books and some old magazines too! I love them!
I love your chicken recipe! gloria

Yasmeen said...

Spicy and easy,love such no fuss recipes.Wish I treasured some old cookbooks :D

Mary said...

The flavor in your chicken dish sounds wonderful. It is also easy to do, so I'm going to put it on my to-do list. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Jhonny walker said...

Hi everyone,

I am so glad that I find takers of old cookbooks!! I knew we were a group :)

Also me thinks such recipes are great way to create some of the magic of old recipes..but sort of hurry it up :)

The Japanese Redneck said...

I luv old cookbooks. Very neat to see how things have changed so much.

theUngourmet said...

Old cookbooks are so fun. It looks like you found a great recipe. Yum! Love all of that tasty garlic. ;)

Confessions of a dreamer said...

i tried this.it turned out awesome! you are right...chicken with bones is so much better!

Ashley said...

I love old cookbooks - sometimes it's fun to see what the recipe creates based on the image you get in your head (although I loooove food photography!). I love cardamom - this one sounds great!