Cheating Chicken 65
This is a magic dish, arrived on the Hyderabad scene maybe about fifteen years ago, but is now utterly popular - as a snack to go with drinks, rather than a main - and you can get it everywhere. Why is it called 65? This is what Wikipedia says about its origins in the Hotel Buhari in Chennai:
"Although Chicken 65 is well established as being the invention of A.M Buhari of the Buhari Hotel chain, its popularity as a dish has spawned several myths about its origin. One account claims that the dish emerged as a simple meal solution for Indian soldiers in 1965. Another account claims that it is a dish containing 65 chilli peppers devised by an enterprising hotelier. It is also claimed to relate to a requirement for the meat to be from 65-day-old chickens. Still others claim that it means 65 pieces of chicken".
I tried this recently - the evening of Adeline and Alex's wedding - mainly because I had cooked too many dishes, made mutton for Tammy, and hadn't left enough time for the chicken which Adeline wanted. So this was a quick cheat, making it up as I went along from memory and combining multiple cooking steps into one (it works!). And it turned out so good, and was so easy that it's worth recording.
1/2 kg. Boneless chicken - best to use thigh, deboned (Indian shops with a meat section will do it for you). Cut the meat into cubes or long thin strips (I prefer the latter)
3 or 4 tablespoons corn flour
Garam masala powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Jeera powder - 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1
Dried red chillies - 4 or 5
Karyapak (curry leaves) - a good fistful
Oil - 5 or 6 tablespoons
If you have time to marinate the chicken (the longer the better, obviously) do so in the G&G paste and all the powders. Then roll the pieces in the flour. If you don't have time, just add the G&G paste and all the powders into the flour, roll and mix the chicken pieces into this.
Put a frying pan on a high fire, when hottish, put in the oil, let it get hot, then keeping the flame high, throw in the fenugreek and cumin seeds, when they splutter, add the red chillies, leave for half a minute, then the karyapak, let them get crispy if possible. Now reduce the heat a bit and place the floury chicken pieces singly onto the frying pan (if necessary do it in two batches). Make sure thee is enough hot oil around them - don't let them get too crowded. Let them brown - ten minutes?, then turn each one over and cook for another tennish (don't put a lid on at any time - it will get soggy).
And that's it.