Go Local…Go Free-Range

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With so much ongoing debate regarding what to eat and what not, I wonder why don’t we just look back at our ancestors and learn a thing or two instead of relying entirely on scientific research. Coming from the research community one thing I can say for sure research never ends. Every now and then, someone comes up with new findings and it either disturbs everyone or fuels hope for the future. Nowadays what ends up on our plate is usually industrially manufactured rather than grown on a farm. Take, for instance, the chicken.

Growing up I don’t remember buying chicken for our meals.  Our backyard had a chicken coop with different colored chicken. I remember eagerly waiting for a new batch of eggs to hatch. Running after the chicks and feeding them was so much fun.I wonder if my son would ever enjoy these simple pleasures.

Commercializing the chicken has lead to the rearing of a few selected varieties of chicken under a controlled environment. Even though the supermarket aisles are flooded with different kinds of chicken, at times I feel they all taste the same. Throughout my student life, I mean in hostels, we were only given the regular commonly available chicken. However, when I started cooking I decided to explore my options. Luckily, our neighborhood local fruit and vegetable and the animal market sell free range chicken and it’s not a hybrid. It’s a variety that is indigenous to this place. Not just meat and fish, its always best to have vegetables and fruits grown locally. They are fresher with fewer preservatives.

The recipe I shared is a very basic recipe, requires very few ingredients. We, Assamese predominantly use mustard oil in our recipes. It adds a different flavor to the dish. However, if you are not a huge fan, you can substitute it with refined oil and splutter a few mustard seeds. I ground ginger and garlic cloves to make my own paste, the fresher the better (slogan slamming in…) The chicken takes a little longer to cook however it is totally worth the wait.

For me, it’s revisiting my childhood memories hope you enjoy making it and for your family. It tastes great with a steaming hot plate of rice. Enjoy.

P.S: I shall post more recipes for local free-range chicken, so watch this space for future updates.

Simple Local Chicken Curry

Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Free range Chicken 1 Kg (bone in)
Ginger paste 1 tbsp
Garlic paste 1 tbsp
Black pepper ½ tsp
Onion 1
Cumin seeds 1/8 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Turmeric ½ tsp
Red chili powder ½ tsp
Salt to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a pan add the cumin seeds and when it sizzles, add onion
  2. When the onion changes color, add in the ginger, garlic paste along with the powdered spices.
  3. Add very little (around 2 tbsp) water and keep stirring. When the spices and oil start to leave the sides of the pan, add in the chicken pieces. Let the chicken cook without the lid for some time or till they turn brown on the edges.
  4. Next add the potato cubes, crushed black pepper, salt and water (2 cups) and cook with the lid on for 8-10 mins
  5. Reduce heat and cook till the meat is tender or for another 10-15 min. Add more water in case water level decreases. Add chopped coriander and remove from heat
  6. Garnish with chopped chili, ginger, and more coriander (if you like)
    Note: to thicken the gravy, you can mash few pieces of potato;  you can use refine oil of your choice instead of mustard oil.

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