Chicken 65

February 21, 2011

A name is important not only for people but for food as well. Deviled eggs, mud pie, babaganoush, gooseberries, ratatouille…just a few of the many interesting food names we encounter in our lives. I am always fascinated with how a dish is given it’s name because it plays a huge role in the overall appeal. However, there are several dishes we eat which have unusual names and yet we rarely stop to think about it… maybe because we are just as strange and weird as the food we eat  :-)

Chicken 65 is an Indian dish which is particularly interesting because no one really knows where this name originated from. However, there are many theories:

  1. it was the year it was introduced
  2. its the number of days it took to prepare the marinade, but obviously after 65 days chicken will become …inedible!
  3. its the age of the chicken (65 days old)
  4. its the number of chicken pieces in the dish, but maybe cutting a chicken in 65 pieces would make it more like ground chicken than anything else.
  5. because India has so many chicken dishes, each dish is given a number instead of a name.

I don’t know how many other theories there are but those are the ones that I have heard the most. I’ll confess, I always thought it was because there were 65 ingredients in the dish …until I discovered that would be insane. But whatever it may be, this is an awesome dish. Originally it is pretty spicy and very red in color. However you can always control the spiciness to your taste.

There are two parts in making this dish. The first part is deep frying the chicken and the second part is combining it with the gravy. Both of which are listed in detail below, please use the spice measurements as a guideline as your taste may be less or more spicy than mine. Enjoy!

Chicken 65 Recipe:

To marinate the chicken-

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
  • salt as per taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 egg
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • red pepper flakes as per taste

For the gravy-

  • a bunch of curry leaves
  • 3-4 slit green chilies
  • 3 cups of yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red color powder
  • salt

Oil for frying*

First, mix the chicken with ginger and garlic paste, salt, and pepper. Marinate for an hour.

Next, add the flour, corn starch, egg, cilantro and pepper flakes to the chicken and mix very well so that all the chicken pieces are coated.

Drop the chicken pieces into heated oil, and deep fry until golden brown. Keep the friend chicken aside.

In a bowl, mix together the: yogurt, chili powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, red color, and salt to make a thick paste.

In a wok heat up a few tablespoons of oil and fry the curry leaves for 2 minutes. Then, add the yogurt paste. Cook for a few minutes stirring frequently. Add the cooked chicken pieces and mix well. Keep cooking until all of the sauce has been absorbed by the chicken. Add the green chilies and serve.

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A Vegetarian Style Chili

October 6, 2010

Do you ever wonder how many things we make a mental note of throughout our lives? And we don’t exactly get back to half of those things due to our own laziness or maybe it’s just “memory overload.”

I tend to make notes of recipes that I want to make. Half of them I remember, half of that half I remember I’m too lazy to partake in the extensive labor to make the dish, and the rest of the half I manage to make happily :-)

For some reason I have wanted to make chili for the longest time. I figure its because of my love for soup-ish things.

After eating a bowl of the chili I made my brother says “this is a great vegetable stew”…. I guess what I made isn’t technically ‘chili’ because it’s vegetarian. But, I got the recipe from Simply Recipes and if they call it chili then I am calling it chili too.

The recipe is called spicy vegetarian chili and when I saw the picture of it I knew that it would be really good (seriously go look at it then come back you’ll see what I’m talking about.) The ingredients in this dish are very different from a typical chili making it healthier and so much more colorful. It has so many great vegetables in it; its a perfect “end of summer” kind of dish.

Like the recipe says, the level of spicy-ness is up to you. I put 1 jalepeno pepper and it ended up to be pretty darn spicy so I would recommend you put half of one. And start out with a teaspoon of chili powder not a tablespoon.

Vegetarian Chili (From Simply Recipes)

Yield: 8-10 servings

  • 2 medium eggplants cut into cubes
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 medium zucchini chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1-2 jalaepno peppers seeded and diced (start out with half of 1)
  • a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 Tbsp chili powder (start out with a teaspoon)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • a 15 oz can of white beans (drained)
  • a 15 oz can of kidney beans (drained)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • a teaspoon of sugar
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

First thing you need to do is roast the eggplants by putting them on a baking sheet, drizzling a few tablespoons of olive oil on them, covering it with foil and putting them in a 350° preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Next put a large soup pot on the stove and heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the onions in the olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a minute then add the bell peppers, zucchini, and jalapeno peppers. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring every now and then.

Next, add the tomatoes, oregano, cumin, fennel seeds, and chili powder. Mix well. Add in the eggplant and stir carefully so you don’t mush them up, simmer for about 20 minutes with the lid on.

Finally, add in the white and kidney beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cilantro, salt, pepper. Mix and simmer for 5 more minutes. Done! :-)

Cholay (Curried Chickpeas)

August 20, 2010

So, we are in the midst of Ramadan and I would just like to wish any Muslim readers a blessed Ramadan! All kinds of good eats are made during this month, makes me wonder why we don’t eat this food year-round but I guess that is what makes holidays so special: the atmosphere, the traditions, the food.

Yesterday I decided to make Cholay and it turned out especially good. I love making this dish because it is so easy.  The whole thing is just chicpeas cooked with all kinds of good spices and you make everything in one pot which is my kind of cooking. Everybody makes Cholay differently and has their own variation of spices but nobody makes cholay like my mom. And… nobody will take her recipes and jazz them up except for me :) So here is my adapted version of “mummi’s cholay.”

Cholay Recipe                                                                                                                             serves 8-10 (you can easily reduce the recipe in half)

  • 2 28oz cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, chopped (half reserved for garnish)
  • 2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil to cook everything
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to your taste)
  • 1/2 a teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala (and extra for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan or wok and fry half of the red onion until golden. Add tomatoes and cook until it becomes like a paste.

To the tomato and onions add ginger and garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric and salt…fry it well until you get a dark red color.

To the mixture, add diced potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. This will cook the potatoes about half way. Then add 2 cans of chic peas and stir until incorporated well with everything.

You will need to cook this for a while. Cover the pot with the lid and let everything cook, the potatoes are not fully cooked so this will take time; about 15 minutes. Give everything a big stir every now and then but keep the lid on.

Add the water,  tamarind paste, lemon juice, cumin, chaat masala and last the cilantro– mix well! Check to see if the potatoes are done, if not keep cooking, if they are then turn off the heat.

How I served it: Pour it into a big platter, garnish with the other half of the red onion, a dollop of plain yogurt, and lots of chaat masala.