I made this on New Year's Eve - we were confined to the house since hubby was diagnosed H1N1 positive a day before that. I know - shock and awe have followed us whenever someone has heard this news - but frankly I myself know of so many people who have been diagnosed that its turned into a normal flu and probably even lost some of its severity. I was just happy that the symptoms were not severe and that we had been careful to keep him away from us even before he was diagnosed. Fingers crossed that we don't get it - this time atleast!
Anyway, since I knew we would be having a quiet one this year and hubby was otherwise quite normal and did not have any diet restrictions, I started looking for an interesting dinner - something like the one we had last New Year's Eve, which would practically cook itself. Turned to Jamie Oliver - a nice springboard for ideas which I then adapt to our requirements with usually great results. There I found his Pork Goulash recipe which I adapted heavily - chicken instead of pork, no sour cream garnish but creamy mashed potatoes on the side instead, pao instead of rice to accompany the stew and green chillies instead of red, chicken pieces dredged in flour before sauteeing to thicken the stew a bit.
It was a wonderful meal - the red peppers lending a touch of sweetness to the spicy stew, the chicken amazingly tender and the pao a perfect accompaniment to mop up all that liquid goodness. Happy New Year!
Chicken - 400 gms (I had boneless chicken marinated with lemon juice, chilli powder and salt. Whole cut chicken pieces do very well in this dish since it cooks for almost an hour)
Onions - 2 sliced
Green chillies - 2 finely chopped (the original recipe has fresh red chillies)
1 tbsp chilli powder (substitute with mild paprika powder to lower the heat quotient)
1 tsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
8-10 fresh basil leaves, torn
2 red peppers, sliced
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 stock cube dissolved in 2 cups warm water
fresh coriander leaves - 1 cup chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Flour - 2 tbsp seasoned with salt and pepper
1. Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour till well coated and keep aside. Reserve the remaining flour, if any.
2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the chicken pieces for about 5 -8 minutes making sure both sides are browned. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
3. Scrape the pan of any browned bits and add to the reserved flour. Mix the stock water into this and keep aside.
4. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and saute the sliced onions and green chillies till the onions are soft (about 10 minutes).
5. Add the caraway seeds, basil leaves, salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes. Pre heat the oven to 180C
6. Add the sliced red peppers and chopped tomatoes as well as the fried chicken - mix and then add the stock to the pot and bring to boil.
7. If the pot is oven proof and can fit into the oven, you can use the same. Else transfer the stew to an oven proof dish and cook for 45 minutes.
8. Sprinkle fresh coriander and serve with coarse bread and mashed potatoes.
For the mashed potatoes - I boiled 4 big potatoes, peeled and put them through a potato ricer (absolutely amazing for lump-free mash) and then mixed in half a cup of warm milk, a pat of butter, some salt and pepper finished with a dash of lemon juice.