19 Şubat 2011 Cumartesi

My India-Cooking for a Large Indian Family

My younger son is six years old and he is going to preperation school before the primary school.

Yesterday he invited his teacher for a dinner and asked me to cook an Indian food...Probably my sons father is Indian and we do cook sometimes Indian dishes at home...

I beleive he is in love with his teacher ...Luckly enough she accepted my invitation and we will have fun next Friday...

This reminded me my ''cooking adventure'' for a large Indian family during my stay in India...We were living like a local family...We hired a very small flat in Pune city near Mumbai. After the motorway I guess it takes almost 3 hours from Mumbai nowadays.

It was 1+1 room flat with a small kitchen and small bath...We had only a small fridge and cooker in the kitchen. A cotton bed on the ground and a metal wardrobe in the bed room. No furniture in the living room...Honestly it was so hot to sit on any furniture...We were preferred to sit on the floor which was much cooler.

I do not know why but in all my stays in India I had change to experince Indian summer...So during my pregnancy to my both sons I had to live in Indian summer...Old Indian ladies used to tell me so that ''My babies may like and need heat and/or Indian spicies''...I liked the way their point of view...They were so kind and helpful to me...They really have a great place in my heart...The love they had in their heart for me healed my heart...So...

Eventhough we lived in a very small flat with minimum furniture , those days were really happy days...I was so peaceful, satisfied and happy...This was a great experience to understand so that one does not need outsider 'things'' to become happy and peaceful...It was all about how you fill inside...

I beleive the attention of people in India and specially in Pune city are on their spirit or in their inner Self...Its like they live in the moment...Daily living is an experiment for practising inner Self and their attention always on their spiritual evolution. Everthing is rotating around the spiritualism...Because of this your attention becomes cool down and you start to hear your inner voice more clearly...Also your mind becomes cool down so you were not bombed with thousands of thoughts...May be we all need such silence , calmness within ourselves to experince peace and happines which are inside us as they said?

Anyway,I must have been a real couraged one to accept an Indian family for a dinner...I was not a great cook in the first place.

Traditional families are not so open to foreign food in India...At least the ones I met were like this...Even Turkish food is so tastless for them...It is true in a way...Not too spicy and oily...

In Turkey we generally boil the chicken and make soup or rice...Or we grill it. Nevertheless we do not use so much spicies like Indian...You can understand what I mean when you read Indian recipe below.

Nevertheless I had a great Indian Cookery book and I did my best that day...Yes I tired to cook an Indian main dish...

I remembered it took almost whole afternoon for me to cook the main dish...This was a heavy dinner for me...

I will give you the recipe down below...But beleive me if you use the right spice combination , this would be the greatest taste you every had in your life...Ofcourse if you like spicy food...

In India ''balance'' is the key word...In everywhere...Even for cooking...

If you miss the quantity a bit than you will have completetly different taste which you were expecting...

Here we go for the recipe...



Chicken Cooked With Whole Spices

450 g onions
2-3 garlic cloves
45 ml (3 tbsp) blanched almonds
4 chicken quarters
45-60 ml (3-4 tbsp) vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
8 curry leaves (You can use bay leaves but surely taste will be different)
3 black cardamoms (You can find it in Indian Shop or use the reqular ones)
4 cloves
4 black peppercorns
10 ml (2tsp) cumin seeds
1-2 dried red chillies
3 large ripe tomatoes skinned if prefered
salt

Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 45 minutes

1.Peel the onions and cut in to wedges.Peel and chop the garlic. Finely choped the almonds. Halve each chicken quater discardingthe skin.

2.Heat the oil in large heavy based pan. Add the onions and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently,for 10-15 minutes until softhened and golden brown.

3. Once the onions have browned, increase the heat to boil off any water if necessary. Add the whole spices and cook over a hight heat for 2 minutes, stirring all the time. Add the almonds cook for 1-2 minutes until they are lightly browned.

4. Remove the onions, almonds and spices from the pan, using a slotted spoon. Add a little extra oil to the pan if there is none remaining and heat until very hot. Add the chicken a few pieces ata time , and cook over a high heat until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken pieces as they brown and set aside with the onions.

5. When all the pieces are browned return all the chicken to the pan with the browned onions, almonds and pieces.

6. Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan with 450 ml (3/4 pint) water and salt to taste. Bring to the boil,then lover the heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken is very tender.

7. If the sauce is too thin once the chicken is cooked , transfer the chicken to a warmed serving dish and boil the sauce rapidly,uncovered over a high heat for a few minutes until reduced. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

As far as I remembered it was quite successful dinner and we all enjoyed the food...

Ofcourse music and singing followed the dinner ...

This was the one of the greatest experience I ever had in India...

Who ever hear the music from our neighbourhood came to our home with their instruments and join the music...Than we had a large band in couple of minutes and enjoyed music and singing collectively...Simple and beatiful...

Outside of our apartment blogs there were slums...Very poor conditions... We always used to hear music , singing and laughings every night coming from those area...I was really amazed for this...

But I understand now ...Those people had only ''the moment''...Their life was in very that moment...None of them would know if they would be alive next day, or have shelter or have food etc...They had no time to feel regret for yesterday...They were in a hurry to enjoy just that moment and share the love they have in their heart...

Imagine to live your life in the moment always...You would be the happiest person on the earth...Infact no need to have such poor conditions too...

We would have a quite good comfort in our life and live in the moment...There are enough for all of us in the universe...

I am so thankful for those people I personally met or not met in India who made me realise one of the secrets of life...

Life is too short to feel regret about past and worry about future...

The happiness, satisfaction, peace , joy and the truth are all in the moment...

We all need to keep our attention in the moment ...Than we can experince our deeper Self ...As like one my favorite writer Eckhart Tolle's explain this state...

Hope you will enjoy this great food with your friends and may be share my little story:)

with love

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