My Mum’s this Superwoman in the kitchen. (Fast and curious too). So is my Ma-in-law. And from what B tells me her Mother-in-law too! I guess this whole last generation of our Mommies are really fast with cutting, chopping, peeling, and spreading out quick meals for their families.
This recipe is for the Sloths and the Busy Bees alike. I have covered Men under the former, in case they were feeling left out!
I really don’t know whether Chili Chicken is Indian or Chinese. I’d like to believe its from India. But of course the undeniable Chinese influence on Indian cuisine probably has resulted in the creation of this mouth-wateringly, spicy dish.
While we are on the subject of Sino-Indian ties, here is an excerpt from a post by the irrepressible Jug Suraiya, about the serious Chinese antipathy towards India.
The so-called 'Chinees' food served in India (as in 'Raju ka Dhaba Brekfass, Launch & Diner Chinees, Muglai, Conti') from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Calcutta to Coimbatore, constitutes the biggest and most damaging culinary slander ever perpetrated by one lot of people against another lot of people in the cooking pot of human civilisation. To begin with, 'chow mein' (not to mention 'fried rice') does not exist anywhere in China, either in their kitchens or in their lexicons. To append the adjective 'Chinese' (or 'Chinees') to this unholy mess is insulting enough. Then to go ahead and eat it with aam ka achaar and kachcha pyaz as accompaniments to give it a bit of zing is to add the ajinomoto of injury to the provocation. Ahh soh!, you could imagine them saying in Beijing, with a sharp hiss of indrawn breath. Flied lice? Aam-ka-achaal? We'rr show you! And they chuck Panchsheel out of the window and go to see Pakistan about a nuclear bomb.
Couldn’t resist sharing that with you! His humor always did something to me. I think I stuck to The Times of India only to read his column on Sundays.
Okay time out on my digressions!
Back to this Chili Chicken I promised you to be super fast and delish at the same time. Its just the marinating of the chicken which takes a few hours, but that of course doesn’t need you to be around.
I started by cutting into small pieces these two chicken breasts I had. And put them straight into a marinade of half cup of white vinegar, 2 teaspoons ginger paste, 2 teaspoons of garlic paste, salt and pepper. You can forget about them for about three to four hours.
Start by heating some veg oil in a non-stick pan for deep frying the chicken pieces. Crack an egg and add 2 tablespoons of corn flour in the bowl of marinated chicken. Mix well with a few drops of red food color.
Deep fry the nicely coated chicken pieces till they become golden red-brown in color. Don’t fuss about that extra oil in the pan, drain and keep it for another chicken recipe. (I pan fried my dumplings in that oil.)
Keep about a teaspoon of oil in the pan and add the one onion you had roughly sliced for the gravy. To that, add the slit green chilies. People who are heat resistant can adjust or choose not too add the chilies at all. But the end result will be nothing like what I made! :-)
A tablespoon each of Dark Soy Sauce, Thai Red Chili Sauce, Chinese Sweet Chili Sauce and Tomato Ketchup.
Add the chicken pieces to the veggies and sauces and mix everything well. Add half cup of chicken broth or just plain water. The sauces already have a combination of salt and sweetness, so I would be careful and not add any more seasonings. You can probably add some freshly crushed black pepper to further the punch. Let the chicken, veggies and sauces cook on medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes.
That’s your easy, peasy, super fast Chili Chicken.
But what I really crave like clockwork is the Chili Chicken from this Indian Chinese restaurant called Lin Garden at Pharmacy Avenue. Their chili chicken never disappoints. The couple who run this restaurant are originally from China but lived in India for many years. They play Bollywood music in their restaurant and speak Hindi and a smattering of Bengali.
Finger licking good – the Chili Chicken @ Lin Garden. But the chili assault can be a bit too much to handle even for a seasoned heat handler like my husband.