“Wait wait, don’t start on the curry yet,” Mr L8H’s voice crackled over into my ears through bad cell phone reception. I paused at the process of washing the recently defrosted cornish hens in my basin. I planned to finish dinner and cleaning before 8pm so that I could catch up with some reading on a Friday night. If I am not watching a movie or socializing, I normally like to read fiction on Fridays.
Mr L8H is like that. He is a foodie, and often fancies stuff that is different from the food that I have planned for the dinner table. At times I put my foot down and adamantly refuse to change the menu at the last moment. Other times, I simply stow it away in the fridge and we go out for dinner. Then there are times like these when I simply am game for whatever he is in the mood for.
Which means meal planning does not really work for me that well.
This time, he wanted to eat fried chicken. The oily, deep fried, unhealthy kind that is full of calories and fabulous in taste. Good thing is, these last minute meal plan change requests gets my dear husband
extremely willing to help me out in the kitchen, courtsey years of grumbling, mumbling, refusal to comply to outright outrage on my behalf. This time was no different. Shortly after the garage door whirred open, he was in the kitchen, all ready to help out. Especially with the deep frying part.
But he didn’t want just any fried chicken, he wanted ‘Punjabi’ fried chicken, the kind that is cooked on roadside dhabas in towns of Punjab, big and small. I have never had the good fortune to taste any, so I didn’t even know where to begin. There wasn’t enough time to google much. A couple of phone calls to close friends yielded nothing.
So we decided to experiment. He chopped the whole cornish hens and I sliced some red onions. I threw in some spices while he whirred up some pastes. We let the chicken marinade for about 45 minutes.
The flavors were intense, and had calls for ‘encore’.
We chomped in delight, piled on bad calories and were satiated. We put in an insane amount of labor for yard work the next day, so it was all good.
Most of the pictures were taken at night, so they don’t do justice to the soft, juicy, but crispy chicken that came out with flying colors from the ‘kadhai’.
- 2 lbs young chicken bone in
- 6 tbsp ginger-garlic-g.chilli paste ( appx 2 tbsp ginger paste and 4 tbsp garlic paste with 1 tsp thai green chilies mixed in)
- 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 2 tbsp fresh ground coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp chat masala and more to sprinkle
- ½ cup lemon juice plus fresh lemon slices
- 1 tbsp red chili powder
- 2 tsp salt
- sliced red onions and fresh coriander leaves for garnish
- Canola or any other vegetable oil to deep fry.
- Cut chicken into 6-8 large pieces. Make slits in the meat.
- Marinade with lemon juice for 10 min
- Add the rest of the ingrediants, marinade and keep fr 1 hr to overnight (don't marinade for longer than 12 hours, else the chicken starts to get mushy as acid starts dissolving the flesh)
- Deep fry in canola oil in a wok, with enough oil to cover the chicken pieces completely. Drain on a paper towel to soak excess oil.
- Make sure the pieces are fried to reach an internal temperature of 165 ºF
- Garnish with sliced red onions, freshly chopped cilantro leaves, lemon juice and chat masala.
- Serve hot.
# Preferably use small chicken, or cornish hens.
# If possible, use freshly ground coriander seeds. I used mortal and pestle, you can use coffee or masala grinder too. However, in case you can’t, store bought coriander powder works.
#The oil should be hot, a temperature of 350º F ideal. If it gets too hot, the outside of the chicken will be tough leather while the insides will be mushy flabber (I just now made up that word, but well, it rhymed :D)
#Fry to an internal temperature of 165ºF. Over that, the juices will dry up and the chicken will be dry and chewy.
#No, I did not use any curry powder or garam masala powder. That would change the taste.
#Be generous with the ‘chat masala’ powder.