Proper mock chicken curry
It was my sister in laws birthday party this weekend just gone and one of the things I heard people talk eagerly about was the food. More specifically, the meat dishes. I made the chickpea curry, but it was undeniably the meat that got the hands rubbing with the the jack-in-the-box walk going towards the trays of brightly coloured animal curries. So I had a good look at them.
They looked like thick and happy curries…the sort where you know balanced spices had infiltrated the meat. One was green…but the green looked fresh and healthy, not bitterly blackened. The other was juicy and red and looked quite luscious, full of aromatic spices. I watched cousins and friends tuck in with both hands…lots of mmm’s and aahs. ‘You don’t know what you’re missing’ they said shyly in between sucks and unrestrained noshing. So it got me thinking, why do people just love a chicken curry?
I converted to vegetarianism at the age of 12, so I do remember what a chicken curry tastes like and I know my dad made a scrumptious one. But why is it a national favourite? Why do I people get hankerings for it, define it as their weakness and why do mouths salivate at the thought of chicken curry?
Is it the texture? You know, the fact that is has a bite and oozes with curry juices with every mouthful? Is it the flavour of chicken (eww), or is it that chicken just soaks up all the flavours of a curry completely, ravenously and then generously releases then with each bite?
Being a vegetarian, I don’t miss or desire the flavour of chicken. I don’t want to eat an animal and yes I am raising my little one as a vegetarian. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like food with a bite and food that does all of those sensational things I just described with chicken curry. I haven’t yet shared a mock chicken curry recipe for a reason. I am categorically saying that I find the meat replacements available widely in supermarkets, less than impressive. They’re rubbery, rather dry and taste mushroomy. Why would I want to make a curry out of that?! Gross. Frankly, I find recipes shared in magazines using that meat replacing rather unappealing. Yuck.
Oh but the Soya and potato chunks dubbed as mock chicken in Wing Yip (oriental supermarket)…now that’s the stuff. Whenever I make a curry out of that stuff we have finger licking, sighing, leftover watching and even picture-taking in abundance. I kid you not…this is the probably the best mock chicken for a curry that I’ve come across.
Recipe for proper mock chicken curry
TKC vegetarian chicken pieces 500g
2tbsp vegetable oil
One medium sized red onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic
Thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
3 tsp sambal oelek
150ml blended tinned tomatoes
A squeeze of lemon juice
The spices; 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp paprika, salt to taste
1. Defrost the mock chicken and leave it to a side once defrosted
2. In a non stick pan heat the oil before adding cumin seeds and allowing them to sizzle. Then add the onion, salt and turmeric and sauté until the onion starts to soften. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and sauté for another couple of minutes
3. Stir in the cumin powder, coriander powder, paprika and mix well and com for another minute. Then add the lemon juice.
4. Stir in the mock chicken and coat in the paste ensuring full coverage. Add the hot water and the tomatoes and then bring the curry to a simmer before sprinkling in the garam masala and blending in the sambal oelek.
5. Turn the curry down to a gentle simmer on a low flame and cook for 20minutes.
Serve with rice, chapatti or pasta.