Saturday night dinner out was sorta like a tradition when we were small and there is this hotel in Trivandrum (where I'm from) called Horizon which was our favourite joint at that time. We used to go there every other week and had this standard fare we'd order one of which was, 'Steamed rice with chicken.'
Then we grew up, went to college and was too embarrassed for family dinners. The Taj and the Leela's set their foot in Trivandrum and Horizon was long forgotten, well at least my brother and myself did. On our visits back to Trivandrum, we always chose Taj or the newer hang outs over Horizon and always complained about the food. Horizon had the yummiest Chinese grub and my dad, till today, would only agree for a dinner out if it was at Hotel Horizon. We used to always argue with him saying we needed variety and what was so great about Horizon, any way.
I got the answer yesterday when it was pouring outside and one of those Horizon dinners came to my mind. I had this weird craving for some steamed rice with chicken and immediately called up home, in spite of it being 11pm in India. My mom had tried to recreate it at home quite a few times and even though it wasn't exactly the same, we were all mighty pleased with the outcome. Mom gave me the recipe and procedure and I created the Horizon masterpiece yesterday at home. All through dinner I kept telling Ro that the next time we head to Trivandrum, we are definitely going to Horizon and gorge on their tasty Chinese food. Dad, if you are reading this, I will never question you about Horizon ever again :)
For the marinade:
Chicken breasts- 300gms, cleaned and cut into bite size cubes
Dark sauce sauce- a generous dash
Pepper powder- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Ginger- a fat 1 inch piece, julienned
Garlic- 4 big pods, roughly chopped
Carrot- 1 medium size, chopped in circles
Green chillies- 2, slit lengthwise
Chicken stock- 2 cups
Corn flour- 2 tsp
Spring onions- 3 medium size stalks, trimmed, greens and whites chopped lengthwise
Celery- 1 stick (optional)
Soy sauce- 1 tsp
Pepper powder- to taste
Salt- to taste
Oil- 1 tbsp
Basmati rice- 1 1/2 cups, cooked as per instructions, with enough salt
These chubby chillies are from my garden..well er, actually I now have a garden because I flicked a whole lotta plants from my cousin relocating to Aussie land ;)
Marinate the chicken pieces with soy sauce, salt and pepper and keep in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
In a wok, heat the oil and add the ginger, garlic and green chillies, sauté till they turn a light brown.
Add the soy sauce and let it lightly start to boil and at that stage add the sliced carrots and mix it all together.
Add the marinated chicken pieces and on high heat stir fry for 4 to 5 minutes till they become light brown.
Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook the chicken till well done.
Mix the corn flour with the stock and add to the wok.
Season with salt (check and then add) and pepper, stir well and cook on high.
Add half of the spring onions and celery (if adding) and continue cooking till the gravy thickens a bit.
Just before you take it off the flame, add the remaining spring onions, give one final stir and serve on top of the steamed rice.
Its a perfect Autumn meal I would say:)
Notes: Its OK if you don't have time to marinate the chicken for an hr...the 15 minute or so you take to prepare the previous steps is sufficient enough
I used 2 Maggi chicken cubes, diluted it in 2 cups warm water and used as stock. Veg stock is good enough
I didn't have so omitted it.
Be very careful while adding salt, because the stock and soy sauce may have enough and more. If its too much, reduce the salt that goes into the rice.
For a veg. option, use mushrooms and corn, but whatever it is add loads of spring onions which impart that particular flavour,