Hungarian Chicken - our style!
We have recently formed a WhatsApp group among our cousins, scattered through the globe with different time zones. My mom and aunt are also a part of it. It’s a lovely place to reminisce about past memories (“remember the time we went to Pondy” to “remember the time M sat on T’s lap”) and we mostly end up talking about food. And cats, for some reason.
These days, I wake up to images of breakfast spreads and discuss about what to cook for lunch and dinner. The most common question is “What’s cooking today?” And then we steer the conversation towards cats, thanks to my cat-loving cousin and cat-unloving sister.
Yesterday, while chatting with our cousin Julie Baidew (baidew for elder sis), I suddenly recalled a dish she had taught us years back – Hungarian Chicken! There was a bunch of us who had learnt that from her, one of our first continental chicken recipes at that time, and we went ballistic over it. So much so that Jil Da, her brother in US who had missed out on the dish, had to ask “What is Hungarian Chicken?”
Now, we all have come a long way regarding the food scene in India. For instance, today we know that the Chinese would tear out their hair if they have Chinese food in India. My cousin Mainoo Ba chose to reply to Jil Da’s query and she hit the nail on the head. In her own words:
“This is like that scene in the movie Queen, starring Kangana Ranaut, where she makes French toast and serves it to her room-mates, one of whom is a French. The guy asks what’s that and she says French toast. He is aghast and says I am from France and we don’t have anything like this in France. Kangana is unperturbed and says India mein toh aisa hi hai – you get this French toast only in India.”
So, in case you are from Hungary and have stumbled onto my blog, here is my disclaimer – you get this Hungarian Chicken only in India. Only in our homes.
There, now we can proceed towards Julie Baidew’s Hungarian chicken. I could not remember her recipe totally and hence added my own twists. Nonetheless, the result was absolutely lip-smacking and this is by far one of the easiest chicken dishes I have cooked.
500 grams chicken, cut into medium sized pieces, washed and patted dry
2 teaspoons cornflour (or refined flour/maida)
2 medium sized onions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon ginger juliennes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Kashmiri Mirch powder
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
Butter for cooking
Salt to taste
Heat some butter in a pan and sauté the sliced onions and ginger juliennes till they turn translucent. The onions need not caramelize much or crisp up. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
Sprinkle the cornflour and pepper over the chicken and toss well so that the pieces are well coated. Now, heat some more butter in the pan and add the bay leaf and Kashmiri mirch powder. Tip in the chicken pieces and stir well.
Cook the chicken on high heat for a few minutes so that the flavors are sealed. Add salt, reduce the heat, cover and let the chicken stew in its own juices.
Remove the lid after around 15 minutes and tip in the tomato ketchup. The chicken should be almost cooked by now and the aroma of butter would be too enticing not to pop a bit into the mouth.
Next, pour in a small cup of water and let it come to a simmer. Now, gently add the sautéed onions and ginger and cook for 5 minutes so that the onions turn slightly mushy and thicken up the gravy.
Remove from heat and serve this absolutely delicious chicken with any carb of your choice. Enjoy the tons of flavor imparted by the butter, the tangy-sweetness of the ketchup and the earthiness lent by the bay leaf. The brownie point - this dish requires hardly any effort, skill or time. And yet you will end up with the most amazing chicken dish on your table.
I am sure I will be cooking Hungarian Chicken more often now. How about giving this a taste test, then? Do let me know if it worked for you, too!