I am always looking for recipes that serve as good finger food at dinner parties. The kind of dinner parties I host are mostly impromptu ones .Ones that do not leave me with much time for menu planning and shopping, much less going through long winded ingredient lists.Thats why, recipes that use few ingredients and stuff that are almost always part of my pantry, rate high on my list of preferred dishes. Also important, is not just how easy it is to make but also how easy it is to remember . Last minute entertainment does not allow for constant double checking of a recipe.
It is rarely that one comes across something that satisfies all the above criteria. But when one does, you etch it into your brain.This is an amazing dish that requires just 5 ingredients (well 6 if you count the salt) , no 8 hour marination jhanjat and is a jiff to make. Its called Chicken 65.
Why 65 you say? Apparently , it was number 65 on some trucker's dhaba's Menu list in madras. That also explains why this recipe uses Sambhar Powder instead of the usual Garam Masala. Sambhar Masala and Chicken…..huh…never tried that before.I found it in the depths of eGullet Forums. The fact that this was a chicken dish was what attracted me to it in the first place. (Dear S loves chicken!!). Given the small ingredient list, and the fact that it does not drown the chicken in all the spices that one can think of,I couldn't get it out of my mind. This weekend ,I decided to give it a try. Alas, No chicken at home.
ME : You know , I forgot to get some stuff when I went out grocery shopping yesterday
S: hmmmmph….So Whats New?
ME : I was hoping you would go out and get some of it.
S: <irritated>Can't you make something else?
Me : I actually wanted to try out this fab chicken recipe that I got, you know, chicken 65.
S: <salivating>Chicken 65???..Cant you skip that ingredient and still make it.
Me : <coughing>Its the chicken that I'm missing.
S : <muttering on the way to his car>You really should make a list. Your Inventory Management sucks!
Ten Minutes later………..
Armed with all the ingredients, I started putting it together.
Start with a cup of Yogurt.The recipe calls for hung thick yogurt. I didn't have the patience to do it, so just put in regular yogurt. In goes 2 tbsp of Sambhar Powder,2 tbsp Chili Powder, 2 tbsp ginger/garlic paste and salt. Put in cubed skinless boneless chicken and Mix well. Keep aside for an hour. Just enough time to bathe the kids and make some veggie pulao for lunch…..
An hour later………
The marinade has become watery…must be why the recipe suggested hung thick yogurt. Note to Self : Next time Use Hung Thick Yogurt!! ) .Decanted the top watery portion of the marinade.Next, the recipe suggests heat 1/2 cup oil. Started with half the quantity.Heat the oil in a wok ,throw in chicken, marinade and all. Cook on high flame stirring every now and then.The marinade first becomes watery , and then starts cooking,giving out the most delicious aromas. S starts making rounds to the kitchen.
"Is it ready yet?"
"No Dear, 10 more mins".
10 mins later…..
The Yogurt mixture has cooked into a very aromatic dry sauce that is coating the chicken but not completely dry as to classify as finger food. At this point, I, of course, had to add my own touch to it and decided to add onion rings to the mixture. Keep cooking and stirring till it all dries out. At this point, the yogurt mixture has evaporated completely and become one entity with the chicken and the onions are nicely caramelised with the yogurt coating. Remove from Flame and empty into serving bowl. Add a tadka(seasoning) of black mustard seeds and curry leaves. Garnished with fresh chopped coriander leaves.
"Can I try some?"
"Sure, I am gonna take a look at what the kids are upto in the meantime"
2 mins later…..
"I saved a couple of pieces for you"
"But I made them for lunch"
"Hey, You were the one that said it was finger food"
"Finger food is always eaten before the main meal"
"So, What were the kids upto?"
Note to Self : Next time try it with Paneer or better yet Tofu..
The actual recipe….
500 gms boneless chicken cut into thick shreds(Approx 1 cm by 2 cm)
1 cup hung thick yogurt(dahi),
2 tbsps sambar powder,
2 tbsps red chilli powder,
2 tbsps ginger garlic paste
and salt to taste.
Marinate Chicken for an hour.
Heat 1/2 cup of oil.Stir fry Chicken till the yogurt mixture dries up. remove from flame. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a small pan. Add 1/2 tsp Black mustard seeds. After they start popping, add curry leaves. Pour over cooked chicken.Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.