September 1, 2015

Minced Chicken with Mixed Daal

"I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain; 
What a wonderful feeling, I'm happy again."
 It was raining heavily outside, splashing and pelting down the window panes. I was vacuously staring through it. Trying hard to feel and be loved with the rain. But I failed. 
Rain doesn't entice me anymore. 
I don't know. 
I flashed back to my student life…..
The rainwater streaming down through the grit and grime Lal matir rasta (the red muddy lanes) aimlessly making its way to unite with the inundated paddy fields by the road. Ignoring the alarming overcast sky a group of 5 to 6 jubilant children of 8 to 12 years, were splashing and jumping in the water and catching fish with some strainers collected from their houses. Some empty glass jars were arrayed safely with some alive fish. In celebration of an off day from school that declared a rainy day from a sudden down pour we were coddling the free spirit of childhood.
                                        Being an incurably romantic rain lover, I had never missed a single rain. Even if it was in the midnight, you would find me by the window trying to hold the rain drops. The charm of the rain at night was spellbound for me. The reflection of the street lamps on the closed window glass, I could see melting down with the slushing rain. The darkness of the room and the pitter-patter music from the pour used to create an enchanting and mystic atmosphere. Stealthy, I used to elude from my bed so that my parents should not object my date with the rain at the oddest hour of the dark night. I used to open the window with an expert hand making sure not to make any noise and sneaked my hand to touch the rain. In no time the rain drops were dancing on my palm and a shiver flowing down through my body. I used to try hard to hold the rain drops and store it forever. The joy of the tiny little enthralled soul was different and beyond explanation. 
                                                         We used to have a wide view of a vacant land, yards after yards. And that view became like a blessing for us during the Monsoon. At night I loved to watch the drama of the lightning in interval, sparking and cracking the whole sky and tearing down the silence of the pitch-dark night with its roaring mighty rage. Moreover a nagging croaking sound of the frogs would bewitch an eerie sensation. In the day time the entrance of the dark cloud sprang us to rush and sit in the covered balcony to watch the bleary rain racing to us from the distance. The thrumming sound and the brumous view, the wild wind happily swaying the trees, were so enchanting that the feet used to tap with the rhythm and I hypnotically used to go out to drench myself ignoring my parents. My Parents kept on shouting behind me, but their voices never reached to my ear or I was then the most arrogant girl who didn't pay attention to her parents’ commands. I dared not to think what would happen next and how much scold was waiting for me. I just had the moment which I wanted to enliven it forever and ever. I slopped and dirt myself. Or sometimes I would take a ride on my cycle and speed behind the floating cloud and the pouring rain, singing aloud one of Kabiguru's (Rabindranath Tagore) Monsoon songs. I would hear my parents' voices slowly fainting, calling my name to return back home. But I was then totally in a different world. Yes for me the life was like this, basking in the free spirit of childhood with the nature. 
                                                                                  Rain then was for me everything, my love, my passion, my play-mate, my soul-mate et al. My tears poured down and coalesced in the rain so many times. I danced in the rain, I laughed aloud in the rain. It was only the rain who had witnessed my joy and my sometimes the sad spirit of mine. My mother had locked me so many times to shun the rain. But every time I took out a chance to touch the rain at least for a second. RAIN WAS FOR ME NOTHING BUT LOVE FOR WHOM I WAS THE CRAZIEST GIRL OF THE WORLD.

I woke up in the morning and went to the Balcony. I saw the narrow lane by my house was half merged in water. A glance of the clogged water made me giddy in no time and a shiver with the thought how I would go out to do my daily chores!! Storming my brain with the morning blues I tried to remember when did it rain so heavily? A sarcastic smile brushed my face. Ah, I was then snuggled peacefully in my bed with the full on AC. How come the sound of rain would reach my ears? And if it was then it would not make me happy any more. My daughter has to go to school where Rainy Day is an obsolete word, My Husband has his office. Where would I hang the piled up clothes resting in the washing machine. I wondered - Am I not in love with rain any more? The other day I was travelling on my car to my daughter’s school. It was raining heavily and splashing down on the car. I tried to feel it from the core of my heart. I tried to avoid all the honking, the rustling bustling of the busy city life. But I failed. I just found a worried mother's heart who was desperate and tensed to reach to her daughter’s school on time. I wondered - Am I not in love with rain any more? The other day the sudden rain made me race and climb the three storied house to the roof top to fetch the wet clothes lined up for drying. My maid was out for some work. I tried to rescue the almost dry clothes from the rain. I achieved to a certain extend. At the same time I found myself totally drenched. I didn't find myself happy. An utter disappointment started to hover my mind. Where I would hang the wet clothes now!! I wondered - Am I not in love with rain any more? The other day my daughter wanted to experience the rain and drench herself. The worried mother inside me burst out and restricted her instantly. I dared what if she would catch cold and fall sick and would miss the school (missing a day means every day a shout out for low attendance). At the same time the city pollution has given my daughter a gift of suffering from a nagging cold and cough what makes the Mamma's heart always overprotective. That day I found my eyes welled up. I was failed to bring back my childhood to her. The free spirit to grow up embracing the nature. I found I was not in love with rain any more. Or maybe I am, my love for rain now floats through the stories of my childhood to my daughters that my parents tell them. Because the city life has caged my heart, petrified the soul and buried them under the mechanical city life that I am leading now.

Now let us move on to the recipe that today I am going to share. Its very tasty and healthy. You can have it with rice but it matches perfectly with roti. So here is the recipe:
Mixed Dal - 1 cup 
(Black lentil, Chana Daal/ Bengal Gram split, Arhar Daal/ Split Pigeon Pea, See Notes)

Minced Chicken - 200grm
Onion - 1 large
 Tomato - 1 large
Garlic - 6-7 cloves (Whole)
Ginger Paste - 1 tspn + 1/2 tspn

Turmeric Powder - 1/ 4 tspn + 1/2 tspn
Cumin Powder - 1 tspn
Coriander Powder - 1 tspn
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tspn

Cumin seed - 1/2 tspn
Whole red chili - 1 -2
Bay leaves - 1- 2
White Oil - 2 tbspn (or less)

Garam Masala Powder - 1/4 tspn
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup (Chopped)

Cream - 2 tspn (optional)

Salt and Sugar as per taste
1. Put the Pulses/ Daal in a pressure cooker. Add 2 cups water, 1/4 tspn turmeric powder, 1/2 tspn ginger paste, 1/4 tspn red chili powder and salt to taste. Cook till 4 - 5 whistles blow. Reserve.
2. Finely chop the onion and tomato separately. Reserve.
3. Take a small bowl. Add all the powdered spices except the garam masala powder. Add sufficient water to make a semi - thick paste.
4. Now take a deep dense pan or a Kadai. Heat the oil. 
5. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaves and whole red chili. Add the whole garlic cloves when the cumin seeds start to splutter.
6. Wait till the garlic turns light brown. Then add the chopped onion. Cook till the onion turns brown and looks perfectly caramelised.
7. Add the tomato and cook till the it starts to loose oil. Then add the minced chicken and the masala paste.
8. Mix all together nicely by giving good stir. Cook on high flame for 3 - 4 minutes. Now add the Cooked Daal to it and cook till the juice evaporates and gives a dry texture to the dish. Check if Salt or sugar is needed to be added.
9. Add the Garam Masala Powder and the Coriander Leaves. Fold nicely and cook for a minute. Add the cream (Otional) and then serve hot with roti or rice.
1. You can more varieties of pulses in it to make it more healthy.
2. It tastes great with with-bone chicken too. But then the recipe is a bit different, which I share soon.

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