Culinary still seems to be an evolving art with innumerable experimentation happening at every home around the world. I think this is one art which has very few barriers and restrictions as long as the preparations are edible!! One of those very few barriers may be a stanch vegetarian, teetotaler Brahmin like me preparing non-veg food!!
It was around 7 on a Thursday evening. I checked the refrigerator for vegetables. We had mint leaves (pudina), 2 or 3 tomatoes and onions. I had experimented on 2 different dal varieties the previous 2 evenings and today wanted to cook something else. Thought of different combinations until the unthinkable thought came to my mind. Preparing a non-veg delicacy!! I knew that if I have chicken I can prepare a good dish with it, for my friends of course!!
I tried putting the thoughts aside and sat in front of the TV to watch the football match. A picture of the chicken item that I wanted to make however had already formed in my mind. My mind was busy working on the recipe. By 9:30 that night I had constructed the recipe and had also visualized the final picture!! The only imperfectness in the picture, I preparing a non-veg dish. I quickly brushed the thoughts aside, went to sleep after having curd rice with pickles.
The untried recipe was still there in my mind and I had again started thinking about it on Friday evening. “What if I marry a girl who is a non-vegetarian?” This was the strongest propeller and I finally decided that I go ahead and experiment on the recipe I had drawn!!!! But I did not want to touch meat and could not even think about it. And without touching an ingredient there was no way I could prepare something. I checked with a friend, if he will cut the chicken and put it in a bowl the way I wanted it which he immediately agreed on!!
So there I was ready with a non-veg recipe and the ingredients needed for it except for the main ingredient, the chicken!! I did not want to buy meat and in future too, if the girl I marry wants meat she has to touch it herself. I will just accompany her and pay for it!!
I put all the ingredients on the kitchen table. Cleaned the mint leaves and put them in the grinder, added jalapeno pepper and garlic. The chopped onions were fried in oil with mustard and pinch of turmeric. Put the mint and pepper paste into the fried onions, once the onions had turned light brown and left it on low flame constantly stirring it. I then added finely chopped green pepper into it and stirred it well. Then I put the masala powder, jeera, pinch of asafetida and salt. I then called up one of my friend and checked with him if he can bring the chicken. He was surprised to hear ME asking for chicken!! I asked him to bring boneless chicken and gloves, to wear while stirring the preparation!!! By the time he arrived with the chicken and the gloves I was ready with the gravy. He put the chicken on the table. I could see the meat through the transparent plastic cover. I could not even touch the cover leave alone touching the meat. I called my friend to prepare the meat. He washed the meat and cut it into small pieces, added salt and turmeric to it and put it into the gravy. We closed the lid and left it on a medium flame. After about 15 minutes I added cut coriander leaves for seasoning.
All friends tasted it and said it was good!! The look and the color of it felt good to me too!! I was happy about myself for having successfully cooked a non-veg dish and not have touched it. I could not think of a name for it nor knew if any chicken item is prepared that way!! I suddenly realized that I had not cooked anything for myself. After spending 1-1 ½ hours in the kitchen I had cooked something which I don’t eat!!
I had curd rice and pickles for dinner for myself while my friends had chicken. But I was happy for having come up with a new recipe!! My friend named it “pudina chicken”!! So for the second time in the week I had a dinner of curd rice and pickles, but this time I was more contented than before!!!
I have put in only the names of the major ingredients here. So do not try it at home!!