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Surprise your guests and family with your culinary skills for a memorable Bijoya or Diwali. Go Chinese with this enhanced version of Hot Garlic Chicken


An excerpt from my diary 22.september 1987

“September and there is alot of activity in the city. The majority being in markets and shopping centres and naturally so because in a few weeks time will arrive the much awaited Pujas. A five day fanfare of festivity and veneration throughout Calcutta. The time of the year when it is said that Parvati or Durga the consort of Lord Shiva descends from their heavenly mountain abode to visit her parents. She will return on the fourth day”

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The Five day mega event that every Calcutta looks forward too is just two days away when Mahashoshti will be heralding in the sound of the dhakis and of course Calcutta streets will be bursting at the seams with crowds thronging restaurants along on Park Street which is still and will always be a huge tradition. But for me October means the captivating smell of the Pala Sundal tree that blooms during October and gives off a strong scent similiar to betel nut. It also means we are two months away from winter. Thank God!!

A nice way to avoid the crowds at shopping centres and new market is to make your gift purchases online. You may be late for Durga Puja and Dussehra but Diwali is still a few weeks away.  Rather than the bigwig portals, you can get some really nice items produced in various craftsmanship styles of India like terracotta kitchen products and kalamkari crafted apparel.

Show off your culinary skills to your guests with this easy but enhanced recipe of Garlic chicken

For many during the five days of a fantastic vacation, there will be guests coming over. Rather than purchase food, It would be a much nicer fact to try out your culinary skills if its a small family group. Kolkata dotes on Chinese and has had a long-lasting love affair with Chinese cuisine from time immemorial. With this in mind, here is a nice recipe and my own take on garlic Chicken. This is unlike the common chicken pieces in red gravy served in some restaurants but a much nicer version as you can see from the picture.

Hot garlic chicken

   500 /750 gms Boneless chicken diced (preferably the leg portion)
·         4/5 florets Broccoli,
·         4/5 pcs Canned Babycorn (cut in half and again half slit along the length)
·         Chopped spring onion (2 inches length)
·         4/5 canned button mushrooms sliced*
·         1 and ½ cup chicken stock or chicken soup
·         3/4th tbls dark soya (no 1)
·         3/4th tbls white soya* (C)

*I always use the Veg Fresh brand of button mushrooms as they are extremely good quality. I usually make my purchases in New Fancy Stores located in the cobble stone path of the masala and stores range of New Market Kolkata. While most people use a common soya sauce, I always use both which is No 1 or for flavor and colour and is referred to as dark soya and C soya sauce which is the salty type but adds no colour.

For the paste

·            3 to 4 fresh tomatoes
·         Chopped garlic (use your own discretion according to your liking of garlic)
·         3 piece dry red chili, add more of you want it hot
·         1 tblsp Kashmiri chilly powder
·         3 tablespoon tomato sauce
·         1 tablespoon sugar
·         In a mixer blender make a paste of the tomatoes, tom puree/sauce, chilli, half the portion of chopped garlic, chilli powder, salt and sugar.



Mix the diced chicken pieces with some dry flour at least three tablespoons and a tablespoon of cornflour, then deep fry for a minute or so till a very light brown. Set aside
Heat oil in a deep non stick pan or small wok. Add two teaspoon garlic paste, then the chopped garlic. Add the paste and sauté abit. Then add chicken and all veggies except spring onion, add the soya sauce, and salt (not too much) Now stir fry for 1.5 minutes on semi high to high flame. Add the stock and let it simmer on low flame till cooked…you will not need to add cornflour solution for thickening as the paste itself will be very thick.

Just before it’s done, cook on high flame to reduce gravy to a desired thickness…add the spring onions… use your discretion in adding chilli. You can add abit more sugar to get the desired level of sweetness too…When I made this dish I did not use MSG. the trick to make a good dish is not to follow a recipe to the letter. Always use your own sense of taste and discretion at what may enhance the dish according to your palate. That’s what I do.

Some tips on choice of products

Your Garlic Chicken is best served with Chinese Fried Rice. Just a tip. Most restaurants use Basmati rice for fried rice but authentic traditional fried rice in the days of Fat Mama, Fried rice was made from small grained rice. Use good quality Miniket or Dudeshwar rice. High quality Baskati is also great. If you are more comfortable with Basmati then obviously choose what suits you best.

What you cook in also makes a difference. Try out these non stick kitchenware at Kraftly.com as they do seem of premium quality at affordable prices. So have a feast and Shubho Bijoya.