Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spicy chicken curry for the cold night and Gift Cards

I have come to realize that shopping like everything else is a learned habit. I failed to make it to the stores early on black Friday for the 10th time in a row. It is more for the curiosity rather than a need to purchase anything and that more than anything else is the reason for my laziness. This disinterest in shopping was a direct consequence of the lack of time, even shopping for necessities like grocery or clothing was considered a chore. I certainly like visiting farmers markets, it is shopping in the super markets and malls that I abhor. Though lack of time in not a problem these days but it is hard to unlearn the years of unshopping and get to shopping again. Not that I am complaining, it is a good thing for my bank account. Don't for a minute think that my family is sacrificing anything, they are not, they get what they need and more, just that they have to put up with my cribbing to shop that's all. So,

I certainly don't understand people who'd rather shop than save for college, retirement or a rainy day fund. A neighbor once walked over and complained how he had four credit cards all maxed out. These are busy people, husband and wife who are both professionals with busy careers. What surprises me most is not their maxed CCs but how they found the time to shop.

It is the Christmas season after all, so buying is what people do this time of the year. I personally like giving gift cards, if I am unsure of what the intended recipient would like. But DH thinks that gift cards convey that you don't care and did not spend time to think of the appropriate gift. Same token buying something that the person does not like is waste of money isn't?

On the other side, I do appreciate when someone gives me a gift rather than a gift card. A gift card is appreciated too but they end up being used for regular items but that is the point isn't? to use it for something useful.

I consider a perfect gift as something useful but you can still afford to live without. A serving vessel is never one too many and perhaps this. Now that you all know what to gift me, lets get some opinions on those gift cards.

How do you rate gift cards? Did you get any good deals on Black Friday?

I have wondered several times if I should become a full time vegetarian. I give up the thought as soon as it comes to mind. We like our occasional chicken, fish and goat. As flexitarians eating vegetables during the week and non-veg once a week every other week seems to work best.

On days when the wind is howling outside and is cold and the tongue is yearning for something warm and spicy this chicken recipe is just what you want.

Spicy Chicken Curry
1. 2 lbs of chicken cut to desired size, wash and marinate with lemon juice, turmeric powder, salt and pepper powder
2. 1 Medium onion sliced
3. 8-10 garlic cloves chopped fine
4. 1 inch piece of ginger gtated
5. 4-6 green chilies slit (adjust to taste if using really hot chilies)
6. 1/2 tbsp pepper powder (adjust to taste)
7. seasonings: mustard, cumin seeds and curry leaves

for the paste
1. few cloves
2. few fennel seeds
3. star anise
4. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
5. 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
6. 1 tbsp onion or 6-8 pearl onions

Dry roast the whole spices, cool and transfer to the blender. Saute the onion in a tsp of oil and when brown add the coconut and stir.
Powder the spiced first and then add the onion and coconut and blend without adding too much water. Set aside


1. In a kadai add oil and season with spices. Add the onions and saute till translucent.
2. Add the slit green chilies, garlic and ginger and saute for a minute
3. Add the chicken and remaining pepper powder let it cook covered for about 8-10 minutes, till the chicken is almost cooked.
4. Add the ground paste and salt and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes more or longer till desired consistency is reached.

Do not add any extra water.


  1. I am exactly like you; I absolutely hate shopping. If I feel like I need/want something, I go out and get it for whatever price is on it- end of story. The whole bargain hunting, shopping for deals, coupons is not for me.

    For people that I know well, I love tailoring gifts to their particular tastes/interests (often these are handmade knits, food gifts). But gift cards are a lifesaver for situations when one does not know the person well.

  2. spicy chicken curry sounds yum! BTW, i love the word 'flexitarians'...suits us perfectly as even we have chicken only over weekends! And yes, we do love the our NV weekend meals :)

  3. Unlearn unshopping ... lol. I often think if I should try turning into a veggie .. all this different type of cooking for two does get me sometimes ... but the day I think, I start craving for some chicken or fish. :-)
    Love spicy chicken curry anyday. :-)

  4. Oh yeah, I've been accused of not putting enough thought into a person when I gifted them money for their baby! I agreed with them too, but the thought of yet another silver bowl or a set of Johnson's baby toiletries or clothes just seemed tiresome to me! I know someone who gifted new parents $1000 worth diapers.
    Sometimes the gifts that are given just go to waste - all the tumblers and cups, juice jugs and mugs - this happens mostly at weddings, I'm sure you can identify with this. :) I'd rather give money/a gift card unless I'm sure I know what those ppl want.

  5. I totally agree how can your neighbour max out 4 credit card.
    Hi hi i only have one creadit card in my name and last time i used them was when i was in India last year.It just sits there as i hate using them.
    I also think i am more good in shopping if i shop with cash than with cards :-)
    There are times when I like gift cards as i can buy what i want instead of getting something which i never use and after a while dump them.
    But then on the other hand i live gifs as it makes it more thoughtfull of the person who bought them.
    Delicous looking curry.

  6. Shopping is a planned work for me but for many its an outlet for their minds. I appreciate he gift cards more than gifts, especially the hadnmade ones.So what did u serve this curry with ? I can't stop salivating. Here too the weather is unusually chill and you know I started drawing big kolams at out appartment entrance before Margazhi started. Just started today and thats the best wayt o drive away the chillness...yes getting into the cold early morning ;)

  7. Your curry seems to be packed with flavors! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Nirmala, we enjoyed the chicken with rice. In the evening with chapathis. Tasted great with both.

  9. I hate, hate, hate shopping! Gift cards are my go-to option too most of the time unless it's someone whose taste I know. And even then, I'm not sure which store to get the card from.

    I can so relate to what Sra says. Really, how many silver cups and lamps can one use? While the thought is definitely appreciated, I have no idea what to do with so many of the same item. I've noticed in the recent past that some wedding invites specifically say, "No boxed gifts". Perfect for invitees like me.


  10. I have mixed feelings about gift cards too... sometimes it seems like the best alternative because the buyer has the choice but at other times when it's a gift & a useful one, it's something you remember & be thankful for every time you see/use it.

    I love shopping for food but anything else - am not too thrilled or good at.

  11. Yum! Love chicken..... Same here, when prepared at home.... Afternoon with rice & night with rotis..... I don understand, why r v so crazy about it & its preps......

    Anyways, Happy Celebrations!!!!


  12. I kind of like shopping but I don't like to go around the mall and shop at different stores. I also don't like going for a deal hunt or a sale or Black Friday kind of thing, that is too stressful.In fact we never bought anything on Black Friday ever.

    But have you seen the people who actually buy loads of stuff on Black Friday do not actually enjoy shopping they enjoy the "deal" part alone

    I have a few fixed stores that I am comfortable going to and I go there when I need to, but shopping all alone, later in the night does make me happy :)

    And though I don't get the time these days shopping at home stores like Pier 1 or Home Goods or Ikea is sheer pleasure :D

    I like gift cards and I like books as gifts. I think books as gift is never wasted and then there is always the "gift receipt" ;-)

    Phew what a loooooooong comment

  13. Spicy chicken curry is what i am Craving in Capitals right now, so bad that I am cooking one ;-) it started snowing here, so blame it on the weather.

    I hate shopping, not exactly becoz I hate shopping, but more becoz i feel it is a waste of time. These days I have been getting clothes/shoes for us online.. can u believe that?

    I like gift cards...I try to match gifts to ones liking and needs, but gift cards are really great if I know where that person likes to shop. I like getting gift cards rather than gifts I do not like.

  14. Oh dear! Shopping for gifts is not my cup of tea either... I have absolutely no idea how people can wait from 2 AM for Black Friday sales. Also, crowded shopping areas make me claustrophobic and gives me headaches. I do prefer shopping at small quaint stores, with not many people in it.

    The chicken curry looks darn inviting!

  15. shopping for gifts is fun if i know the person very well and have the time to do the shopping. Else its just a chore and anyway i will never get it right, so i prefer gift cards any day .. it is so practical!
    black friday shopping is so crowded that i only venture out to one or two favorite stores that day.

  16. Today made your kullu rasam. It was a such a heaty meal with steaming hot rice and a vazhakai podimas. The growing cold and rainy weathers made us crave and its amma's idea to make kollu rasam. Thanks for the wonderful recipe Indo!

  17. chicken curry looks absolutely delicious! Perfect for Winter. thanks for sharing :) I am not a fan of shopping either (except every Saturday farmers market) but I much prefer online shopping than visiting stores.

  18. I do not like to venture out of the house on black friday. OK a toaster is on sale for $5 which is normally $20. For saving $ 15, you wake up wee hours of the morning, stand in line..no no. I think I wont even save $15, because I will shop for $100, things that I may never use. I cant even stroll aisle after aisle window shopping. As far as gift carsd are concerned, it is ok for folks you don't know. If I am really good friends, I always ask what they want..problem solved!

  19. I used to enjoy shopping years ago, but now with a 4 year old in tow, it is difficult to enjoy it the same way. I really prefer gift cards especially for teachers as it is very difficult to understand their choices. But for the closest friends/family, I definitely prefer giving gifts.

    The pictures are beautifully captured by your DD. Great work!
    Loved the Matri recipe and the picture.


Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate you taking the time.
Comments embedded with links, spam and in poor taste will not be published.