Ajoy Joshi’s Chili Chicken has gone vegan and made our tastebuds dance with A-joy! When Dad came to see us some months ago, we booked him in for a cooking class with Ajoy Joshi –the chef and the owner of Nilgiri’s. We thought that would be a great present for him; 1. He does the cooking at home and is a huge fan of Indian cuisine 2. He met Ajoy before, he knows what kind of a worldclass chef he is, and he loves the food at Nilgiri’s. So why not? We told him that we had a surprise for him. He didn’t know what kind of a culinary expedition he was just about to embark on, bless him. When we turned the corner to Nilgiri’s, he thought we were going to book for the next Sunday Buffet. You should have seen his face when he realised that he was going to spend the afternoon cooking with Ajoy. He came back with a renewed enthusiasm for the complex alchemy of Indian food which we all enjoy immensely.
When Dad came to visit us again last month he and I cooked a dish each from Ajoy’s cookbook, Indian Home Cooking for dinner. Dad cooked a mushroom and corn dish and I converted Chili Chicken recipe. I will post the other recipe at some stage too.
As for the converted Chili Chicken recipe, there is a few things you need to know as I had to modify a few things… First of all, the chicken in the original recipe is baked and I actually marinated it and wok-fried. I fried the vegan chicken pieces after they were marinated as we all know, our faux meats behave differently and that is the reason why, Lamyong soy nuggets need to be defrosted. Second, I used cardamom seeds instead of pods. Third, although I reduced the ingredients by half, I still used more tamarind concentrate as I didn’t quite taste that prominent tanginess with a lesser amount. Now that I clarified all the important points, let’s get cooking.
½ pack Lamyong soy nuggets, thawed
4cm cinnamon stick
1 tsp cardamom seeds
1 tsp whole cloves
½ tsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
12 fresh curry leaves
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tsp finely chopped fresh green chili peppers
2 tsp finely grated ginger
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp tamarind concentrate
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste
• In a spice grinder, grind cinnamon, cardamom seeds, cloves and peppercorns to a powder. Transfer spices into a food processor and add fresh coriander, curry leaves, lemon juice, chili pepper, ginger, garlic, tamarind, turmeric and salt. Process to form a paste.
• Place defrosted Lamyong soy nuggets into a glass bowl and add spice mixture. Mix well to coat and set aside to marinade for 10-15 minutes.
• Heat the oil in a large pan, wok or kadhai (even better) and cook the marinated pieces until they are all cooked thoroughly and fragrant. Serve immediately.
Sukhi Bhava peoples!