Sunday, July 13, 2014

Milestones--Chicken Khichda

These days we all seem to be hitting a milestone or other. A birthday, an anniversary or a continuous stream of published recipes. Ninety-nine episodes ago, I sat apprehensively in front of a computer, waiting for the words to flow. They came in spurts, sporadically, from memories simmering at the surface. The link between the food I love and people I love to feed has now has become a steady outpouring. These words bring to life the world in my kitchen.  And the experience has been truly cathartic. I bare my soul, my agonies, my defeats, my tribulations, my ecstacies, my amusements. The people who eat at my table, touch me in ways beyond my wildest expectations, are forever enshrined in words. Inspirations turn into perspiration, especially in summer kitchens. And then quickly revert back to an explosion of ideas and replications! My reward is the email that says my culinary creation has taken on another life in a faraway kitchen.

Dear Kavi,
OMG, all our favorite foods are leaping off your blog!  Loved the spaghetti and meatballs last week.  I used to fatkao my own recipe because Craig loves it too, but last week my production was perfect.  The meatballs turned out nice and soft. Thanks.
I was thrilled to see Channa batura this week.  It's my favorite. I always ordered it in a restaurant if it was on the menu.  With Lent in progress and us needing to eat veg. on Wednesdays and Fridays, channa batura will feature several times.
I see you just added stew!  Saturday nights in my house were always stew nights, bec. I was the stew lover. It was so funny, my mother hardly ever changed the Saturday night menu. I think it also was easy on her menu planning, because she always said she didn't mind cooking but it was what to cook that irritated her.
Hope you'll are well. Have a great week Kavi.

Hey Kavi - tried your biryani recipe and it was amazing!!!!
Thanks for sharing.

Thank u dear for the biriyani
I only deviated by using water instead of milk when adding saffron and the garnished with boiled egg too
Thx for doing so much so that we can enjoy cooking 
Hi Kavita,
 I just read your blog on the alphonsos and wanted to share the photo of my Montreal Alphonso altar.  ......the box of alphonsos,  just bought from the Indian store which comes in by air only once a week , each mango nestled in its own cosy foam wrap.  Last year at the same time in the month of May, after devouring the whole box, I dried the batas, and planted them indoors.  I was amazed when ten of them took root - shown here - lovely luscious green leaves that I speak to every day and stroke.    And of course the painting is called  MANGO MADNESS.No more after next week, sadly.  Enjoy while you can and keep blogging.  I read you recipes in the midst of my nausea post-chemo and you know what, they make me salivate and start eating.   So thank you from an odd foodie!
Cheers to all you folk out in the blogsphere who read my platitudes with enthusiasm or reservations. 

Then there is Geets, my one woman cheering squad!!! And boy does she rahrah loud and clear.. Geets, my friend, thanks for the encouragement and for all the Facebook 'shares.' She is singlehandedly responsible for the proliferation of this blog!

Let's not forget Prassy, my wonderful sister, always complimentary, always proud.

And then my family. Always there for me, teaching the technically challenged (Rehan), encouraging via blog info (Shauna) and spellchecking (oh yes! Glenn being the blue pencil)...all happily my guinea pigs!!

But most of all I give thanks to my Mum. She inspires me everyday. The culinary bouquets that wafted through her kitchen, breeze through mine. The file with her handwritten recipes is opened every week. The apron she once used so her silk saris would not be splattered, still hangs on its hook. My kitchen is filled with kitchen trappings reminding me of her all the time. At her table, every meal counted. We came together as a family over dinner. Everyday. I bring that to mine. Chicken Khichda was one of her favorites. My family loves it too. From my table to yours!! Enjoy!

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless Chicken thighs
1 tablespoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon Chile powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 cup Yogurt
1 tablespoon Garlic paste
1 tablespoon Ginger paste
1/4 cup Chana dal
1/4 cup Masoor dal
1/4 cup Moong dal
1/4 cup Toor dal
1/4 cup Urad dal
1/4 cup Oatmeal( not the quick cook type)
3 big Onions
2 Cinnamon sticks
5 Cloves
3 Cardamoms 
5-7 tablespoons Canola oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

To Garnish
3 tablespoons Mint leaves
3 tablespoons Cilantro leaves
2 Limes, quartered

Cube chicken thighs into 1 inch pieces. Trim off all visible fat. Wash well, dry and place in a bowl.

Add garam masala, chile powder, cumin powder, salt, yogurt, garlic and ginger pastes to chicken. Squish chicken and masalas well. 

Put chana, masoor, moong, toor and urad dals in a bowl. Rinse dals a few times under cold water to remove all sediment. 

Place dals in a pressure cooker and add enough water to cover the dals. The water should cover dals by 1 inch. 

Add oatmeal to dals and stir.

Pressure cook dals for 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove lid and mash dals to blend.

Cut onions in half. Peel. Slice onions lengthwise into thin slices. Keep 1/2 cup of sliced onions aside.

Heat 5 tablespoons of canola oil in a large Dutch oven. 

When the oil is hot drop cinnamon, cloves and cardamons in. Let them sizzle for a few seconds.

Add remaining onions to hot oil and sauté till they are dark brown.

At this point add the marinated chicken as well as leftover marinade and stir fry well to sear chicken pieces for 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup of water to chicken and bring to a boil, lower heat and cook for 15 minutes.

Ladle in the mashed dals and whisk well to incorporate.

Add salt and let chicken bubble for 5 minutes.

In the remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil, fry the kept aside onions till crisp and golden brown. Add more oil if necessary.

Serve warm khichda in a wide bowl.

Garnish with fried onions, mint and cilantro leaves and quartered limes.


For those of you who are wary of the pressure cooker, soak the dals overnight and cook them with plenty of water on the stovetop for 1/2 hour. Mash and use.

Dinner at Mum's was our moment to sit together, the disseminating of that days events, the delight when eating one of our favorites. I carry these sentiments into my home. The sense of sharing heightened with my family at one table. I am getting maudlin as I speak with heartfelt emotion. You might not sit at my table but you partake of my feast.  Come again. My table always beckons!