This weekend was a completely relaxed one....enjoyed being totally holed up at home - not stepping feet out even once :-) So after a long rest on Saturday, was all fresh and energetic on Sunday, and hence announced the decision to cook lunch.
The menu would include chicken for sure, but in what form? I decided to browse through my recipe books to pull out some recipe with readily available ingredients. After pondering over 2-3 chicken recipes from my favourite Sanjeev Kapoor's cookbook, I finalised on a South Indian speciality "Chicken Chettinad". I normally am known to follow recipes to the T, complete with the ingredients, their amounts and the procedure. For this one, I decided to do only 1 thing differently. I decided to marinate the chicken with yogurt, and a little onion-ginger-garlic paste and then microwave it till tender, instead of using the raw chicken directly into the fried masala. Those of you, who suffer from hypersensitivity to smell especially in non-veg items( we call it aanshte gondho in bangla), like me, can try this always. Drain out the water in which comes out while the chicken is cooked, and you are free from all smell. Though it may drain out some nutrients as well, I am sure that is a small price to pay against enjoying a tasty non-veg meal...and also I am sure there are enough left also :-)
The original idea was to have plain rice with the chicken, but as I readied the ingredients, I started planning of a more complete meal with "South Indian" flavour....Well South Indians might detest me for having the audacity of calling a mish-mash combo meal a south Indian one....but to my Bengali palette - this is the nearest I can get to South Indian taste!!!!!!!
Instead of plain rice - I decided to try lemon rice. I didn't try to look for a recipe for this to get the perfectly balanced authentic flavour. Instead, I used my memory of a recent cookery show on television and my own sensibilities to arrive at the lemon rice - which thankfully turned out to be pretty OK.
The salad was a memory of our office food in Mumbai - they used to serve a variety of salads everyday. This one in particular is one of my favourites - cubed cucumber pieces with grated coconut, crushed peanuts with tempering of mustard, red chillies and curry leaves. And to wash it up all, some improvised buttermilk. Yoghurt diluted with water, with finely chopped garlic, green chillies, coriander and mint leaves. This needs to be chilled and served with ice cubes.
Again there was only 1 thing that didn't turn out to be the way I wanted to - the peanuts were roasted to a greater extent than i wanted them to be and hence a darker colour and slight bitter taste in parts... It affected both the salad and the lemon rice, but not to an extent that it could overwhelm the positivity of all other ingredients that were there just right!!!
And on the lunch table, my ma pulled out some earlier prepared hilsa fish in mustard sauce, which added the Bengali twist to the otherwise "South Indian" meal - perfect way to enjoy a quiet relaxed leisurely Sunday afternoon at home!!!!!!