Good Morning World: Cooking Ginger Chicken with the kids

So I cook once in a while. And since I get bored with following recipes, I don’t: I make up stuff depending on what’s available in the kitchen and refrigerator. Some times it works, some times it’s not that great. But after 30 years of trying, it’s mostly edible.

But more than the taste, it’s great fun for the kids – they love talking food, and washing vegetables, stirring, generally cooking … and they are game for anything. Naturally, we have a good repertoire of our own recipes now, but it’s the approach that is coming very handy right now in a lockdown situation.

So for a Good Friday column, here’s a food recipe that is easy to make, doesn’t require too much and: it came out of a conversation with my youngest child.

“Why do we always have to have chicken in a curry?”

“Who says so? We don’t.”

“Can we make chicken with tomatoes?”

“Yes, is that what you want today?”

“Yes. Only chicken and tomatoes. Nothing else.”

“We can do that.”

I had boneless chicken with me, so he helped me wash it. Then I placed it on the chopping board and took up my knife.

“I want small pieces. Round small pieces. And not too fat.”

I nodded and cut the first chunk out.

“I changed my mind. Can you make it oval? I don’t want round pieces.”

“Yes we can.” And with a bit of slanting we had nice oval bite-sized pieces. He had been learning shapes and I was happy he didn’t say star shaped pieces.

“How do you want the tomatoes?”

“Hmm, cut it like you did that day – triangle shaped.”

“Okay. Those are called quarters but yes they do look triangle shaped.”

Then I took some ghee in a shallow pan and slid the chicken and tomatoes in.

“I love that smell! And it looks so red!”

“How about some salt?”

“Yes put some salt. And: put haldi. I like haldi.”

So I put salt and haldi.

“Ginger. And black olives. Can we have black olives please? I like black olives.”

So I reduced the flame, quickly washed, peeled and cut the ginger into thick strips and plonked them into them pan and stir-fried on a high flame.

“What about the olives?”

“They don’t need to cook, so we can add those in the end.”

And which is what we did. Sliced olives tossed in at the end and then two minutes of stirring and dished out.

If you have 400-500 grams of boneless chicken handy, this dish takes 20-25 minutes to prepare. The oval cut makes it cook faster. The tomatoes (2), ginger (a large piece say about 20 gms), haldi (1 teaspoon) and salt (1 teaspoon) gives it the foundation and it’s a moist dish which goes well with buttered rice or noodle soup. After you put everything into the pan, cooked covered with a lid. How many olives? Depends on you. If you don’t have olives, do without, or use some black grapes if you have some.

Good Morning World. Cooking – like life – is super fun when you make up a recipe with ingredients your children suggest!

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