The Malayali in me is always looking for new recipes or versions of older recipes using simple ingredients right here in the US. Many years ago, I found these fresh young Cornish hens at the grocery chains here, and the taste reminded me of the fresh natural chicken curry my grandmother cooked up when I used to visit her on my summer vacations. I try to incorporate most of my experiences of Kerala into my children's world, and here is a version of one of the curries I served my girls when they were growing up. The hens are first marinated to preserve their juiciness and flavor and then the spices add a real kick.
Cornish Hens- 2 small birds, cut up into large chunks
Onions- 2 sliced
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Garlic - 5 cloves
Haldi powder- 1/2 tspn
Chilli powder- 1/2 tspn
Chicken masala powder- 1 1/2 Tblspn
Green chillies- 3
Lemon juice- 1 Tblspn
Olive Oil- 2-4 Tblspns
Tomato puree- 1 cup
Salt to taste
Lots of Curry leaves- 2-4 sprigs
Tempering- mustard seeds, red chillies, fenugreek seeds (a pinch), curry leaves(2 sprigs)
1. Marinate the meat in lemon juice, chilli powder and salt overnight.
2. Crush together the ginger, garlic and green chillies and keep aside.
3. Heat Oil in a deep skillet and add onions and stir for a while until golden brown.
4. Add the crushed raw masala and saute for a minute before adding the meat.
5. Add 1 cup water, haldi, chicken masala powder and additional salt as needed.
6. Add more water until the meat is just about submerged in the gravy.
7. Let cook on slow fire until the cornish hens are well cooked and gravy is now very thick. remove from fire.
8. Heat a small pan, add oil and temper the mustard seeds, red chillies and fenugreek seeds.
When the mustard seeds splutter add curry leaves and pour over the curry. Mix well. Garnish with curry leaves.