And as I was lazing a few afternoons back with a cup of jasmine tea and a book, musing about how I got pulled into a world of culinary wonders, I got drawn to the days of yore. Sweet nostalgia. A flood of memories. And blissful catharsis. The answers came easily.
My first inspiration has to be my mother. The magical touch that conjured divine delicacies from the simplest of ingredients. The art that transformed left-overs to mouth-watering meals. The ease with which she controlled the chaos in the kitchen. The smile with which she whipped up a scrumptious lunch for twenty odd suddenly-showed-up guests. In a world of coal-fired earthen ovens. In a world that still did not boast of make-life-simple electronic gizmos. And definitely no supermarkets that stocked exotic inventory.
And the second inspiration had to be Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. One Sunday to the next was an agonising wait. Fighting with my brother for the TV remote as the clock neared the showtime. Even if India was playing Pakistan. Armed with my diary and a pen. Lapping up every word the chef spoke, scribbling his tips, taking copious notes of every step he demonstrated.
And before I realized, I had graduated from my small-town humble Bengali cooking roots to a make-believe world of international cuisine. Turkish kebabs. Cantonese chicken. Spanish paella. English puddings.
Today’s recipe is an as-easy-as-it-can-get chicken tikka. Inspired by what I learnt many Sundays back from the great chef.
Easy Chicken Tikka
- 250 g chicken boneless, preferrably chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 green capsicum cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 red bell pepper cut into bite size pieces
- 1 onion cut into bite size pieces
- 1.5 tsps ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp green chilli paste
- 3 tbsps hung yogurt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
- 2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- oil for grilling
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry. Marinate the chicken with green chili paste, ginger-garlic paste, yogurt, lemon juice, garam masala powder, ground black pepper, sugar and salt to taste.
- Keep in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Overnight works even better.
- Add bell pepper and onion pieces into the chicken marinade. Add the olive oil to the chicken and mix well.
- Arrange the chicken, onion and bell pepper pieces alternatively on a skewer.
- Heat a non stick tawa, grease with a little oil, place the skewers and cook over a low flame.
- Once the chicken pieces are slightly brown, turn the skewers over. Cook till uniformly brown and a skewer inserted into the chicken comes out clean.
- Serve hot.