(The Humanitarian Social Network)
Necessity is the mother of invention. Plato said that by the way...sort of.
What's locally available is what you end up cooking with. On my first field mission, I lived in the small town of Ampara, which at that time Lonely Planet said to skip since there was no reason, ever, to stop there...it went as far to say, don't stop there if you can help it. I was a New York City girl who lived in a small town with no Whole Foods or a corner bodega that sold Tofutti Cuties and vegan chocolate chip cookies. My corner expat shop randomly sold whole grain mustard.
And lots and lots of meekiri (curd). ( I heart meekiri)
I had a hand blender.
I had some chillies.
I had a whole chicken.
I had people coming over for dinner (none vegan, thankfully).
Voila! I had a new recipe.
Oh, meekiri, how I love thee.
1 whole Chicken (skin on or off, your choice. I am a believer in the goodness of natural fats and so I leave the skin on)
Chicken can be subbed for Tofu (hard, not soft)
2 cups curd (or yogurt)
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons oil (your choice based on your belief of what oil is best for you...olive oil while touted as the best, isn't great at high temps. Butter (real butter) is my choice).
2 green chillies (again, based on the heat you can handle)
2 garlic cloves (crush them by holding them under the flat side of a big knife and banging on it. Releases the flavour)
Salt to taste
Wash and dry the chicken. Yes...dry it. You need the mixture to stick to it. Recipes always tend to say, dry the chicken. They say it for a reason. Set aside. Throw everything into a blender or pot for hand blender. Blend into a paste. Pour over chicken. Stick in oven at 300 F (do your own celcius calculations) mark for 40 minutes covered for the first 30 and uncovered for the last 10. Tada. You are done. How's that for a time and energy efficient culturally appropriated home cooked meal?
The reason I LOVE this recipe is the variations. Variate away. You can throw anything into the blending mix. My main ingredients always are the curd, mustard, garlic and green chilies. I have done variations by adding fresh cilantro, cumin seeds, tumeric, honey, miso...seriously--ANY other spice you want. You want to put aromatics in the cavity, go for it. Onion, bay leaf, more garlic, half a lemon or orange, cinnamon sticks...the choices are endless. I tend to also cut potatoes and other root veggies and toss them into the pan with the chicken covered in the sauce and let it all cook together.
Cooking it in the curd gives it a great sauce and tangy flavour. This is my signature field dish and much loved by all who have tried it. And somehow, so far, wherever I have traveled, I have always managed to find grainy mustard. It's one of those bizarre things like Pringles that is always just sitting there on the shelf. Fab thing to have in your kitchen, especially when making salad dressing as well...
What other field tested recipes are out there? I know there are...if anything, we know how to be creative within limited options. You can either comment or write your own post with the tags: field tested, cooking, food and the country. Can't wait to test out some of your recipes.