There was a time, before the ‘unarmed’ but fatal clashes between the Chinese and Indian troops in icy wilderness of the Himalayan borderland, when the word ‘Chindian’ evoked visions of droolworthy fusion delicacies. Truth be told, there wasn’t any real connection between original recipes (what is consumed in different provinces of China) and what have been adapted here to regional palates. From gobhi manchurian to chilli paneer and chilli potatoes and local renderings of sweet ’n’ sour fish and chicken and assorted noodles, the improvised version scored over the authentic. However, this hasn’t stopped the patriotic foodies from eschewing the Chinese fare.
When the temptation becomes irresistible, they lapse a little and cater to the craving by gorging on momos, instead of dumplings and Tibetan thukpa, substituted for myriad soups fortified with noodles and assorted meats. A well-travelled friend has tried to persuade us that chopsuey is an American creation. But what really took our breath away was the daring effort of a beloved host to pass off good-old chilli chicken in a new garb, renaming it murg subz bahar!
What, at first, appeared to be brazen, won us over as the meal progressed. For one, the chilli had been almost eliminated, the vegetable contingent was more prominent than the chicken and though the presence of dark soya sauce couldn’t be missed, the marination of the murg had distinct desi identity. What’s in a name they say — make no mistake, in this case, it’s everything. Rustle up this stress-free delicacy and enjoy it guilt-free.
Murg Sabz Bahar
- Chicken boneless (from thighs) 500 gm
- Capsicum 1
- Onions 2
- Carrots 200 gm
- Broccoli small floret (opt) 1
- Tomato (medium sized) 2
- A piece of ginger 1/2 inch
- Garlic 4-6 cloves
- Cornflour 1 tbsp
- Soya sauce 1-1/2 tbsp
- Red chillies (deseeded, ground to paste) 2
- Black peppercorn (freshly ground) 1 tbsp
- Lemon juice 1 tsp
- Oil (refined) 1/4 cup
- Salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
- Wash, trim and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Prepare a marinade with cornflour, coarsely pounded black peppercorns, salt and lemon juice. Apply evenly to the chicken, cover and keep aside for 20 minutes.
- Scrape, cut the carrots in long thin slices or discs. Cut broccoli in smaller florets and blanch in boiling water for 15 seconds. Refresh immediately in ice cold water. Cut the tomato into 8 pieces lengthwise. Slice off the top and core of the capsicum with a sharp knife. Cut into large bite-sized pieces. Slice the onions thickly. Chop the garlic. Slice ginger into thin large pieces.
- Heat oil in a pan and add the chicken. Stir-fry on high flame till golden brown. Remove and keep aside. Add the garlic and ginger, and after 10 seconds, the onions. As soon as these turn translucent, put in the chicken with chilli paste, stir in soya sauce, along with sugar and salt. Cook on medium high flame for about seven to eight minutes. Put in the broccoli and capsicum. Stir gently to mix well. After 15 seconds, add tomatoes. Remove from stove and serve hot.
- Don’t add vinegar, ajinomoto or Five Spice Powder, though a pinch of garam masala can be sprinkled on top.
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