15 July, 2013

Sunday Rocks : Hunger Games, Chicken Liver Masala & Pancham

Pasha of the Remote

When does a man truly appreciate bachelorhood? The answer to this is simple... only after he is married. The understanding would never come otherwise. What if he finds himself into this state again...albeit briefly...when the superior half has gone out...wouldn't that time be savoured? Most definitely.  Am I an exception to this general caveat? It would be a lie if the answer was yes.

And where would men like these generally love to spend their time...at home of course, being the sole lord and master of the space; enjoying the rarest of rare experiences, the total and absolute control of the TV remote. Just imagine, you can get to any channel without any sounds emanating from the side that subtly direct you to the channel that has soaps and not sports or news that you wanted to catch. You can now watch all Sci-Fi, Horror, Crime or Action movies.

The Movie

And here I was doing exactly that...watching Hunger Games; a movie that we had missed seeing on the big screen. I was riveted by the actor playing Katniss Everdeen – Jennifer Lawrence. I had briefly caught her in one of the X-men movies but here was she being absolutely terrific in the part. The gravitas that is needed for the character was embodied by the young actor in such a sublime style that it is little wonder that the movie had such a huge opening weekend as it did. Now I certainly have to see her Oscar winning “Silver Linings Playbook” with Bradley Cooper.

But that’s by the by because after a leisurely morning and a late chai-biscuit session at 11.15 am had nothing to eat after. Hunger Games had begun at 1.00 pm and it was nearly 2.20 pm now. The good part the movie was on HBO, why good because the commercial breaks on this channel are endlessly long. Today they would help me explore the makings of my lunch without having to rush back and forth for the movie.

The freezer yielded a packet of frozen Chicken Liver about 300 gms, and the breadbox had half a sliced bread packet of Wibs in it. Bread and Liver it was. The other compartment of the refrigerator yielded fresh coriander, green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and garlic paste, tomatoes. In the kitchen cabinet found Maggi Vegetable stock cubes, a large sized onion – the last one in the basket and that completed my list of ingredients. 

Making Music and Chicken Liver Masala

After gathering all of these in one place, went back to Katniss trying out her whistle for the mocking jays. The movie proceeded and I looked at the ingredients once again.  

Chicken Liver : 300 gms
I large/medium size  onion
3 cloves of Garlic or alternately I/2 tsp of Garlic paste
¼ inch fresh ginger or ½ tsp of Ginger paste.
1 medium sized tomato
2 inch long green chilly
½ tsp red chilly powder or flakes
1 vegetable stock cube powder ( Maggi)
Curry Leaves 8-10
Fresh Coriander , a small bunch
Three tablespoons of vegetable oil ( groundnut, sesame works just as fine)
Salt to taste

Clean the fat and skin away from the liver. Wash it clean. Draining the water from it and keep aside.
Chop Onions, tomato, green chilly real fine.
If using fresh Ginger, cut them into thin slivers and crush the garlic cloves with the flat of the knife blade.
Separate out the curry leaves and set aside.
Clean the Coriander leaves on stalk and keep aside. I use the stalks chopped finely to garnish, they have as much and more flavour as the leaf

Preparation methodology

First and foremost came the music ;  R D Burman is my man for this.  Kishore Kumar started on ‘Hum Tum GumSum’ song from Humshakal and Asha bhosale raised the sensuality bar witha high note that had me swaying alongside the jhoom na sounds , the string and percussion started, lifted up and filled the kitchen . The energy level of the place rose up several notches and I felt RD Burmans presence as if he was peering over my shoulder laughing loudly...Ahaaaa Leeebhhhaaarr , the pronounced accent never having left him, and me nodding at him with a smile.

1.       Sprinkle some salt on the liver and add the ginger and garlic on to it and rub it gently together and set aside for ten minutes in a lidded container where the flavour remains trapped in. I didn’t want garlic on my breath till I had Jennifer Lawrence in the room with me, but to each his own
2.       Take a thick bottom pan and set it on a medium flame and pour 2/3rds of the oil on to it and as it heats up add the onions and chillies. Saute them till the chillies pop and the onions grow soft and golden brown on the edges.
3.       Add the tomatoes and sauté the mixture till the tomatoes blend in and with a wooden ladle puree them in the pan with the onion.
4.       Add the stock/tastemaker cube/ powder and blend it well into the puree
5.       The liver marinade is now poured into the mixture in the pan. The pan is well and truly hot and you can add the balance oil into the pan. Toss for about 1 or two minutes. Chicken liver should not take longer than that to cook. Be precise in this because the longer it stays on the pan the tougher it becomes and changes colour. You don’t want that. Remove pan from flame.
6.       Shred the curry leaves by hand and toss it into the hot pan. Cover and keep for a minute. The Liver lets go some juices and they keep the mixture and masala moist and fresh.
7.       Garnish liberally with coriander and if you are a greedy pig like me...Take the pan straight in front of the TV and eat it from the pan by soaking your bread into the juices. Tastes good with either Chappati or Pav...I prefer bread.


In the unlikely event the you have it left over, one option is that you can always have it the next day . But you can change its form. Chicken Liver when cooked is soft and with the flat end of a spoon you can blend it into a rough paste. Not too fine.  Cover this mixture tight and refrigerate it. For a lazy day, just fish it out and with a butter knife spread it on your bread slice, make a cuppa chai and your snack is set.

The special ingredient is love...mah friends

I had R D Burman , Asha Bhosale, Kishore Kumar and Jenny Lawrence keeping me company. It is my belief that great things happen in the company of greatness and it did. The Liver turned out to be spectacular, people only pay attention to the ingredients while cooking forgetting the most important factor that makes for a great dish, is the Chef. Love and Energy come from her/him and find itself into the dish, sample it savour it and at the end of the meal do be sure to thank the cook if you are outside and hug her if she is your own :-)


SA said...

Maybe some day I would be your guest for this delicious treat :)

kau kau goes the crow said...

You are welcome anytime Shazia...the door remains always open for our friends dear girl...

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