The Lockdown has stirred up an array of beautiful memories over the last one month. The journey so far has made it possible to reflect on these beautiful times spent with parents and friends. It’s a grand collection of choices and decisions that we cherished and a few that we regretted. The interesting thing to notice here is how they have shaped us.
From one such journey down memory lane, I remember the time when my father had invited one of our close family friends for drinks and a special lunch of butter chicken. My father was passionate about cooking and hosting people. When it came to buying the ingredients he was very particular. The owner of the butchery store considered my father a valued customer as he knew the right cuts and knew exactly what part to buy for the dish he was making. If someone could have seen him picking tomatoes it would remind them of a king holding jewels in his hands and enjoying their glitter. We had a special spice box containing spices bought from the spice gardens of Kerala. This box would see the light of day only when my father would step in the kitchen to cook. Some of the condiments whose flavors I can still recall distinctly include aromatic nutmeg, cloves, whole black pepper, green and black cardamom. Trust me when I say it was special, because this box of spices found a place in our safety locker with my mother’s jewellery.
It was a Sunday, and Ajit uncle (my dad’s friend) reached our home by around 11 am in the morning. Both of them were passionate drinkers, so they started with beers that had popped right out of a water bucket filled with beer bottles and ice. Everyone was home today including my mother, my elder sister and brother, and we were all looking forward to butter chicken for lunch with excitement. As per today’s plan, my mother was the cook and dad had decided to enjoy his drinks with his friend. Although he would step into the kitchen from time to time to make sure that everything was going as per his recipe.
By 1:30 pm the chicken was almost ready and my dad was very happy with how it looked. The whole house was filled with the butter chicken’s delectable aroma that left our stomachs growling. My mother served some chicken in a bowl for us all to taste, it was so delicious that we couldn’t help ourselves from asking for one more serving. We asked for another serving in the next 15 minutes and by then my mother could manage to save only one piece for Ajit uncle. Despite all the appreciation for his recipe, dad was horrified when he saw us polishing off the chicken. He swore to save the day and more importantly, the lunch
The Master Plan –
Dad came up with a master plan of upping the drinks in order to buy my mother some time to cook another lot, as quickly as possible. As per the plan, the two men moved on from beer to a new bottle of whiskey. Preparation of the butter chicken’s second serve took another hour. By now our guest was sufficiently drunk and could barely differentiate between the aloo jeera or the special butter chicken that he had come for. For us, it was time for a second helping and a good laugh over the turn of events that afternoon.
I can still remember the smell & flavours as I go back into the kitchen of our one-bedroom flat that we called home, and where we spent some of the best times of our lives.
So I’ve decided to bring back our beloved butter chicken from my childhood to my kitchen.
STAY TUNED TO KNOW HOW I MADE MY FAVORITE BUTTER CHICKEN
BUTTER CHICKEN IN NOT SO EASY STEPS
I went to open the main door to find our neighbor Mr. Bhutani from the 8th floor looking very tense, he blurted out aloud that “your stuff has been flying off your balcony for some time now”.
Sharing about the fond culinary experience from childhood in my last blog got me thinking about that time and, of course, the butter chicken. Since we were also running out of groceries, I decided that it was time for me to step out against all odds.
Trekking with kids is the best gift you can give. nature is the best teacher and gives us boundless joy.