Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dry Chicken with Coconut

The Oscars are just over and everyone is talking about the movies.  Of course there are an equal amount of people talking about the clothes the stars wore to the ceremony.  It is after all the most awaited event in Hollywood.  The Oscars to me is all about the glamour, the stars walking down the red carpet, the interviews, the anticipation, the speeches, the awards and then the aftershock – why did that movie win?  This time the movie that won the most Oscars was a black and white silent movie called “The Artist”.  With all the technology we have available at our disposal, why would a movie that takes us back decades should win?  Are we looking for something different?  Or is it just simplicity?  Or was the movie and acting really worth an Oscar?

I went back to Film history and began reading about the history of cinema.  Then I tried to create a timeline – see what history told us about cinema and motion pictures.  What I found out was quite eye-opening for me.  I saw that the early 19th century to the end of the 20th century the film industry underwent a lot of changes.  For example you had the invention of motion, introduction of sound, animated cartoons, new laws introduced regarding licensing, contracts and rating of cinema, introduction of 3D and so many other things.  After the 20th century, film focused more on technology.  Most of the work had been done.  Did we reach saturation in our imagination and inventions that we had to go back in history and start all over again with a black & white silent motion picture?

Preparation Time:  30 minutes
Serves: 6


1 big chicken
30 dried red chilies
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon peppercorn
1 tablespoon oil
20 flakes garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 piece tamarind
1 ½ coconuts, grated
2 big onions, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups water
Salt to taste
For the seasoning:
2 teaspoons butter
1 onion, chopped


Fry the red chilies, coriander, ½ the cumin, fenugreek seeds and peppercorn in a little oil.  
Then grind them along with the turmeric, 8 flakes garlic and tamarind to a fine paste.  Remove this and keep aside.  
To the same stone, add the grated coconut, remaining garlic, cumin seeds and grind coarsely without water.  Keep aside.  
Clean and cut the chicken.  
In a vessel, add the ground spices, the onions, butter, chicken and salt to taste along with the water and boil till cooked.  
Add the coconut mixture now and keep it on a low flame till it becomes dry.  
In a separate vessel, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter for the seasoning and add the onion.  Fry till dark brown.  
Pour over the chicken curry, cover and remove from the fire.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Prawns in Spiced Coconut Sauce

I will be married for 15 years this August and am often asked, “What is the secret of marriage?”  I am not sure if there is any one secret to a happy marriage.  It does not take that much to love another human being. Does knowing a living with a person before marriage a guarantee that the marriage would last forever?  Or is an arranged marriage a guarantee to a happy marriage where you have not met or seen your spouse-to-be till a few days before the wedding?  Is there really a secret to a happy marriage or it is just chance?

I do not know answers to any of the above.  All I can say is that for us marriage is a harmony – both physically and spiritually.  We work as a team and support one another in what has to be done for our family.  We do have our disagreements, but we agree to disagree.  We make compromises when necessary.  There is no “boss” in the marriage.  We are both equal – at times I am the one everyone in the family listens to and at times it is my husband we all listen to.  Unspoken, we have our own territories.  The financial sector is his to take care of.  I take care of all the socializing.  In bringing up the children we have different approaches, and depending on the situation we adopt one method or the other.  I am not sure if any of the above is the secret to our happy marriage, but so far it has worked for us.

Preparation Time: 1 hour 25 mins
Serves: 4


30 large raw prawns
½ teaspoon curry powder, for dusting
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato puree
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 red chilli pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen or canned corn
1 ½ cups coconut milk

  1. Sprinkle the prawns with the curry seasoning and lemon juice and marinate in a cool place for an hour.  
  2. Melt the butter in a pan.  When hot, cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, until softly softened.  
  3. Add the prawns and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until cooked through and pink.  
  4. Transfer the prawns, onion and garlic to a bowl, leaving behind some of the buttery liquid. 
  5. Add the tomato puree to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring thoroughly.  
  6. Add the thyme, cinnamon, coriander and hot pepper and stir well.  
  7. Blend the corn in a blender with the coconut milk.  
  8. Add to the pan and simmer until reduced.  
  9. Add the prawns and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.