Sunday, July 09, 2006

Friday Night Chicken

As I recollect my memories and write about my perception of people ... there are some experiences which deserve to go down in my book as "those good old bachelor's days" type of memories. One of the most significant of those memories is "Friday Night Chicken"

I had learnt to cook my own food as early as the age of 15. However living at home didn't provide me enough opportunities or motivation to try too much cooking. My experiences as bachelor in India didn't make much of a difference either as there were other economic options (read as canteen, mesh, cheap hotels, cooks for hire). However the USA provided an interesting twist to this story of my Bachelorhood and cooking.

My early experiments with cooking included 2 minute noodles (Maggie) and egg omlet both of which I cooked quite decently. I had picked up making Chapati too .. but despite being a hard core non vegetarian, who believed in equality, (when it came to eating I treated animals and plants alike ... i.e cook and eat both ) I hadn't tried cooking meat seriously. With the entry of Mr. Chef (refer to a separate post on him) in our room, our cooking story took a whole new turn.. Mr Chef loved the chicken (when deliciously cooked and served in his plate) and also knew how to cook and serve it like a proffesional chef.

Our first dish on chicken took about 3 hours (right from cleaning it to serving it on the table). Our master Chef started work at about 9:00 pm on the friday and we were devouring the first ever chicken curry made at our place at about 12:00 am ...For bachelors Friday night also meant boys night so for the non believers (teetotalers) we had the juices (orange) and for the believers there was beer and vodka ... Thus began our first Friday boys night (technically it was Saturday morning) complete with bachelors, movies, drinks, meat and some sides like decorated veggies, peanuts (referred to as "Chakna" - a word used for junk food that accompanies a drinkl .. also courtesy Chef). Actually the poker table was missing but none of us played poker so it was complete for us.

Soon Friday night became synonymous with cooking Chicken and having a boys night. The rest of us now began taking more interest in the cooking and even learnt to cook our own chicken recipes. Thus within next few months we had tried Tandoori Chicken, Butter chicken, gulti chicken and even rum chicken (courtesy a semi drunk Mr. Bookworm - soon to feature in another post).

Not to be left behind, I tried my hand with something unique. Being a Konkani, fish ran in my blood.. Afterall "Ek konkani ko rice or fish curry mil jave to uska life saakar ho jaye". I had often seen my mom cook delicious pan fried fish. So I used my instincts and years of observation of her cooking to cook up my first fried fish. I started right from cleaning the fish fins, too chooping it and then frying it. The shape first time around didn't quite look good, nor were all the ingredients right but thanks to our Friday night, it was well received and completely devoured.
A few lessons (i.e phone calls with my Mom and cousin sis) later my fish became a part of the "Chakna". I also mastered cooking Chapati for 7 people in a day.

Thus a standard friday night menu was really a feast and the Friday night came to be known as "Friday Night Chicken". Afterall the only thing that was constant in our Friday night feast was chicken (we often did not have booze .. but chicken was always there) ... I salute all those chickens and fish who had to be sacrificed to fill our hungry stomachs ...

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