When the wife got stewed


Chicken stew is something my mom used to make when she would come back really tired from work (try travelling four hours in a bus in Calcutta. I wonder how she managed cooking in any case day after day.)

Later in life I came across the Parsi and East Indian stews and then the English stew recipes and figured out that my Mom’s ‘stew’ was not quite the version that you would find in the cook books.

I made it once years back when the wife did not feel like eating anything. I did not really know my mom’s recipe so had to conceptualise it. I think the end result was quite close to what she made.

The result was a bit of a miracle. The wife who did not want to eat anything at that point, had a bit…and then had quite a bit more. I think the simple, well flavoured, hot broth worked well for her.

I have shared the recipe with a few others over the years and they have liked it too. It’s very simple really. Here’s the core recipe:

Ingredients:
Ø Pressure cooker – very important as the flavours mix well in the closed compartment
Ø 500 g chicken (ideally legs)
Ø 1 medium size tomato – cut into 4
Ø I Onion bulb – cut into 4
Ø 1 split green chilly
Ø Half a tea spoon of pepper powder
Ø Salt
Ø Vegetables – take you pick – 1 finely chopped capsicum/ carrot/ beans/ sweet corn
Ø Water
Ø 2 potatoes peeled and halved – the high point
Ø A spoon of ginger/ garlic paste - optional

Put everything into the cooker and switch on the cooker. Reduce the flame after three whistles and let it simmer for 12 minutes. That’s it.

You can add a bit of butter to it if you want. It is quite tasty even otherwise as the chicken stock, pepper and tomato combine well taste-wise while the potatoes are soft and give a nice, warm, reassuring counter taste. Goes well with crisp toast and butter