Robert Frost is one of my favourite poets in English Literature. “The Road Not Taken” is perhaps his most infamous of poems, but he wrote many others just like it. He is particularly known as a “Nature Poet” because of his consistent and constant use of Natural scenes, elements and his expressions of sensuous pleasures he derived from nature. One such poem of his is called “October” which is an Ode to Autumn and it goes as follows;
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
Autumn calls for hearty and healthy dishes that are rustic, robust and comforting in flavours. It’s just the season I tell you; autumn demands cordial, earthy and soupy recipes, that will warm your soul. Autumn foliage is in its full glory during this time of the year, with amber, rust, gold, caramel and blazing fiery colours spread across wherever Autumn breathes. It’s phenomenal, the Mother Nature, where your whole being recognizes and understands the chill of the weather yet your sight is seeing a canvas of fiery ablaze. It’s a gorgeous sight to see.
This gorgeous Amber Gravy is exactly that, autumn in a bowl with its perfectly spiced curry encompassing a soupy character, once swallowed, it warms your soul to the core. Believe you me! not only will you be enjoying this with rice or Naan bread, you will be slurping it down like soup as well. The curry is Exuberantly luscious and the colours of the dish is caramel glory. The caramelized onions in the dish cooked with yogurt adds a caramel tang to the gravy aided and imbedded with mulled spices like, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorn and all spice. The kick to the gravy, however, comes from the green cardamoms which is quite outstanding in the whole dish. Therefore, those little green pods are essential for that exquisite aroma to the gravy while also packing in a punch of flavour, don’t leave it out.
The recipe is quick and easy where once all the ingredients are added, it’s one of those dishes that cook themselves. The perfect compliment to the dish is a brown onion salad; washed and soaked in salty water for 10 minutes and that’s it, just raw onion with a sharp tang is this gravy’ s best friend. This is a family favourite in my house and one of the very first dishes I learned to cook when I first started out cooking. It holds a lot of memories that I hold dear of my aunt who is no longer here but in a better world than here. This dish is her legacy. That’s how I remember her, always hearty and happy, cooking and innovating with a big heart for hospitality, her food was as warm as her love.
The dried red chilies that bless this curry with its spicy kick are not just pretty to look at but also fiercely fragrant and flavoursome. There are two different types of dried red chilies used in the Indian Cuisine i.e. Whole round dried red chilies which when grinded gives you the red chili flakes and the other one are these dried finger red chillies which when grinded gives you powder or used as pastes. These are an integral part of the curry which cannot be substituted or omitted.
In my family this soupy curry is known as “Soul Curry” just because of the reason I mentioned above. This is one of my daughters most favourite of curry which she innocently calls “Soul Soup” as she dips her naan bread into the curry and soaks it explicitly before diving into it. I have actually learned that from her, those soaked Naan Bread pieces are extremely delectable to eat. Needless to say, this will give your taste buds a warm soulful feel.
This sensuously striking dish will be the heart of your dinner table on a cold chilled night. It is a perfect autumn dish.
Cooking time – 30 minutes
1. Chicken on the bone — 1 kg
2. Naan Bread — To server with
~Gravy Whole Spice Mix~
1. Garlic cloves crushed — 4
2. Bay leaf — 2
3. Dried Red chillies — 2
4. Whole Cloves — 6
5. Black Peppercorns. — 8
6. Cumin seeds — 1 tsp
7. Green Cardamom — 6
8. Black Cardamom — 2
~ Gravy Mix ~
1. Oil — 4 tbsp
2. Onion — 2
3. Yogurt — 1 cup
4. Salt — 1 tsp
5. Red chilli powder — ½ tsp
6. Turmeric Powder — ½ tsp
7. Coriander Powder — 1 tsp
8. Garam Masala Powder -To garnish
9. Water — 2 cups
~ Method ~
1. Prepare the Onions
a. Dice the onion.
b. In a frying pan, heat enough oil to shallow and add the diced onions.
c. Fry the onions until brown in colour and strain out onto a kitchen paper towel.
d. Let it dry and crisp up.
e. Once crisp, blend it with the yogurt in the blender.
2. Prepare the Gravy Mix
a. In a cooking pot, heat oil and add the Gravy Whole Spice Mix and fry for a couple of minutes.
b. Add the washed chicken to the pot and add the crushed garlic cloves along with it.
c. Fry for a minutes to cook the garlic and add salt, red chilli pepper, coriander powder and turmeric.
d. Fry the chicken with the spices until it becomes light golden in colour (should take about 6-8 minutes on a high flame)
e. Add the onion and yogurt puree to the chicken.
f. Fry it for another 2-3 minutes or until the oil separates from the gravy and comes to the top in an amber colour. The gravy should be really thick at this stage.
g. Add the water to the gravy and mix.
h. Cook for another 10 minutes on medium high flame.
i. After 10 minutes, Sprinkle a little Garam Masala on top and let steam on low flame for 5 minutes.
j. Serve with Naan Bread/Boiled Rice, Onion and Cucumbers.