Monday, 6 August 2018

Golden Spicy Chicken

I have been quite successful in resisting the urge to buy cookbooks whenever I visit the bookshop. Every time I take a walk to Popular bookshop or BookXcess, I am inevitably drawn to the cookbook section. I'm a cookbook addict.

But just the other day, I caved in. I bought this.

Yes, I already have a few cookbooks on Indian cuisine which I like to flip and then put off any attempt to cook due to the long list of ingredients. But somehow, I was drawn to this book due to the way the recipe is presented. Sure, the long list of ingredients is there but it is broken down into manageable parts which makes for easy reading.

The first recipe I tried is this Golden Spicy Chicken which is the author's mother's signature dish. Even though Indian recipes have a long list of ingredients, you will realize that it is just a matter of gathering those ingredients and then grinding (a blender/mill helps) and together with sliced/chopped ingredients, dumped into a pot to simmer away.

There are two marinades in this dish - (1) dry spices which are ground and (2) a combination of ginger, garlic, Bombay onions and vinegar which are also ground to form a paste.

Then you simply marinate chicken pieces for a few hours with the two marinades and some turmeric powder, chili paste and salt. 

After that you pour the whole lot into a pot and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked. OK. There is a caveat to this dish. You have to remove the chicken pieces and shallow fry the chicken until golden. 

I did that in my non-stick pan in two batches. The recipe calls for the chicken to be cooled completely before shallow frying. But because I was in a hurry, I did not do that.

Once all the chicken are fried, you have to fry star anise, sliced Bombay onions and curry leaves and add the chicken and gravy and simmer until the gravy is thickened. I know, there are many steps here but it is entirely worth the trouble because, wow, this chicken curry is incredible.

It tastes like those dry chicken curry that are served at banana leaf restaurants. I couldn't believe that I actually cooked something as tasty as that. My only regret is adding too much chili paste (4 tbsp as per the recipe) as the curry is way too hot for me. 

As I was stirring the chicken at the final stages of cooking, I smelt something burning. Oh dear. I remember reading the author's advise that cooking should be on low heat to avoid burning. 

I was using my Dutch oven and had to use an oven mitt. Somehow the mitt was suspect and I took a sniff at it.

Seriously, I don't know how that mitt got burnt and that was the source of the smell hah...hah.... Phew!

Golden Spicy Chicken
Recipe source : Adapted from Treasured Flavors (page 23)

Ingredients :
- 4 chicken legs, cut into bite sized pieces (weight approx 900g)
- 1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp chili paste (I initially used 4 tbsp, too hot!) 
- 1 tsp salt or to taste

Marinade A :
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1.5 tsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 5 cardamom pods, use the seeds only
- 4 cloves
- 2 inch cinnamon stick, break into smaller pieces for ease of grinding

Note : Use an electric mill to grind all the above into a powder.

Marinade B :
- 2 inches ginger, cut into smaller pieces
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 big Bombay onions, cut into smaller pieces
- 2 tbsp distilled vinegar

Note : Use a blender to blend all the above into a paste

For frying/tempering :
- 1 big Bombay onion, sliced
- 1 star anise
- 5 sprigs curry leaves, use the leaves only

Method :
1. In a large bowl, add chicken, turmeric powder, chili paste, salt, marinade A and marinade B. Mix together to combine and leave to marinate for 2 hours.
2. When ready to cook, pour chicken and marinade into a Dutch oven (or any suitable pot) and cook covered over medium heat until chicken is cooked.
3. Turn off the flame and remove chicken pieces. Leave the gravy to sit in the Dutch oven.
4. In a non-stick pan, shallow fry the chicken pieces until golden but do not fry until crispy.
5. Since I used non-stick, I cleaned the pan using paper towels and used the same pan to continue the next step. You may use a clean pan to do this.
6. Heat oil in the pan. Add star anise and fry till fragrant.
7. Then add the sliced Bombay onions and curry leaves. When the onions are wilted, pour the contents of the pan into the Dutch oven and add the fried chicken.
8. Simmer over low heat until the gravy is thick and oil seeps from the gravy.


  1. At least your chicken looked and tasted okay. Not burnt.

    Poor mitten. How it got burnt. Lol.

  2. wow! you are slowly becoming a versatile cook who can whip up tasty dishes from different cultures. This dish is so tasty. I can eat a lot if not too spicy but only a little if it is too spicy until you also find it spicy. continue your cooking adventure to different cuisine.

    1. I have always wanted to learn Indian cooking, so it looks like I am off to a good start :)

  3. Well, you have an excuse to go shopping now....time to buy new mittens! I believe you when you say the chicken is incredible by just looking at it (looks a bit like dry rendang chicken). BTW, your non-stick pan looks like brand new (hardly used?). I wonder why there's a need to shallow fry the chicken pieces separately instead of just cooking everything in your Dutch oven itself...and having one less pan to wash! ;)

    1. hee..hee.. You are very observant. That pan has been actively used only recently. I got it when Aeon was having that stamp collection promo last year. Actually I think the chicken can be cooked without the extra step of frying. Maybe frying enhances the taste. I could try that next time and see if there is any significant difference.

  4. Now it's showtime for the mittens i gave u after yours got burnt hee hee

    1. I very sayang to use your mittens hah..hah...

  5. No need to try, just see only already can tell this is very very good - looks a bit like the Kapitan chicken I had that day - in my blogpost today.

    1. I saw the kapitan chicken that you ate. Quite different from the one I cooked some time ago.

  6. reading this reminds me how painstaking the behind-the-scenes preparation of a dish can be. i salute all good chefs, whether in the home kitchen or in the restaurant kitchen :D

    1. Some dishes are like that, but worth the time when it comes out amazing.

  7. I'm a sucker for a good cook book too - no matter how much I try to talk myself out of it - "you can find everything on line" - I still can't help myself from browsing at least.

    1. I am so glad I am not alone hah..hah...

  8. Wow! It does look incredible. Way to go PH! Indeed Indian food has loads of ingredients and maybe that's why it's so flavourful. I would also wish to skip the frying part as there indeed would be one less pan to wash and no oil splatter around the kitchen to clean up :)

    1. Thank you! I love Indian food and will attempt more recipes.

  9. I love Indian food especially their curries! So much spices and fragrance.

    1. Yes, must eat lots of rice with it baru syiok!

  10. I like to buy cookbooks too especially those with pretty photos :P

  11. Delightful! Please share this with the Food on Friday crowd over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers