Cooking for One
Andhra Chili Chicken;as the name suggests has lots of chilies and is hot! I live in Andhra and when someone says I am sweet…I say I am spicy, like the cuisine here is famous for! Spice is nice! For most of us Indians, especially in the south, a dish lacking in spice or without chillies is incomprehensible; like my house help who refuses to cook if there are no green or red chillies in the pantry! My food is mild compared to hers with half a dozen chilies in every dish. Whether you are an Indian or a tourist in India, your palate is inevitably subjected to a pleasurable or a terrifying encounter with the good old chilli, depending on how you take it.My friend Jenna, from Chicago, surprised me with her capacity to eat chilis and i had great fun watching her tuck into all the spicy curries and even a chili fritter. We Indians use chilies liberally and we are proud of it.
Andhra cuisine is renowned for its extremely spicy dishes and the chilli responsible for this is the Guntur Sannam – S4. Known for its heat, unless one is used to such a high level of spiciness, you will find yourself smoking from your ears and tears running down when eating mouth-watering Andhra food. Guntur Sannam is one of the most famous types of chillies and has a huge demand throughout the world and I live right here where it is grown.
The word Sannam stands for thin in Telugu and I was sannam a few decades ago, haha!! I have grown up eating the spiciest and hottest pickles and chilli fritters but still I shy away from eating them now. My delicate tummy refuses to take so much chilli.
When you live in a place you should start eating and cooking the local cuisine, isn’t it? I do not eat chicken anymore but I do cook occasionally. My sister-in-law is not home and I wanted to cook something special for my brother who loves good food. I remembered this Andhra Chili Chicken I had learnt from a friend and decided to cook it. It is no way similar to a Chinese chilli chicken, mind you!
This chicken recipe may look a bit complicated but it is actually quite easy to cook and my bro just confirmed that it was delicious. and i am feeling mighty good about that. I go a bit easy on the chillies but if you have a tough tummy then you can add more chillies to make it hotter!
Andhra Chilli Chicken
For the Marination
500 grams chicken
1 tsp ghee or clarified butter
2 medium sized onions chopped finely or paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
¼ tsp. red chili powder
½ tsp. garam masala powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
½ cup fresh coriander leaves or cilantro
2 green chilies
1 tbsp oil
1 sprig curry leaves
¼ tsp cumin / jeera
2 to 3 green chilies slit
Wash and soak chicken in buttermilk overnight and refrigerate or if you are soaking in the day then it would be at least 4 hours. Drain off the buttermilk fully before marinating. Why do you have to soak the chicken? Just to tenderize the chicken.
Make a paste with the coriander leaves and green chili, set aside till you use it for seasoning.
Mix all the ingredients for marination and rub the marinade all over the chicken pieces. Set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour
Cook chicken in a pan or wok on a medium flame till tender and soft. If needed, you can sprinkle a little water (I let it cook in its own juices). If the chicken oozes out excess then, evaporate by cooking on high.
Time for tempering once chicken is cooked. Heat a pan with oil, add cumin, and curry leaves and green chilies. Let the leaves turn crisp
Add the cooked chicken and ground coriander chilli paste and sauté.
Mix well and fry for about 3 to 5 minutes on a medium flame, till you begin to reel under the aroma that wafts through the air.
This Andhra Chili chicken can be served as a starter or as a main course with roti-leavened flat bread or even rice.