14th August. Fluttering flags, endless patriotic songs, skits in school, shalwar qameez for even the most ‘burger’ of us. Those are my memories of Pakistan’s Independence Day. And they are happy memories. When I look back at my life, my parent’s lives, and my grandparents’ lives, I realize that we are so fortunate to be able to carve out the lives we had in the country my family chose. I am proud to be from Pakistan and my hope is that as my girls get older they too will be proud of their Pakistani heritage. If nothing, I really hope they like Chicken Ginger 😉
This recipe for Chicken Ginger came to me from a scanned newspaper clipping I found on the web a long time ago. It claims to be a copycat of the famous Chicken Ginger from Usmania which is one of Karachis older family restaurants. The fare is mostly Pakistani and mostly delicious, but when we would go there – usually with a large group of people – this Chicken Ginger is what everyone reaches for first.
I have not been to Usmania in a long time now, but I still think fondly of those happy times when in the midst of companionable laughter I would scoop up the chicken ginger with some hot naan straight into my mouth and relish the pungent taste of the fiery tomato based masala. This recipe brings back all those feelings and for that I will continue to make it over and over again.
Some of the ingredients, namely the soy sauce and ketchup, are admittedly a little odd, but when I skip them this dish seems incomplete so please try not to. Also my tolerance for sliced green chillies is a little low so I am happy with 2, but usually put 4 for my far braver husband and in laws.
Azadi Mubarak to my fellow Pakistanis, stay safe Pakistan.
1 lb boneless chicken (use more for bone in)
Tomatoes 3-4 (chopped)
1 heaped tsp ginger paste
1 heaped tsp garlic paste
1 heaped tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Coriander Powder
½ tsp Soy Sauce
¼ cup oil
2 tbsp butter
3-4 sliced Green Chillies
¼ cup julienned ginger – approx 2 inch piece
1 tbsp ketchup
½ tsp Garam Masala
½ cup yogurt
Cilantro for garnish (optional)
Slice your chicken into 1 inch strips and set aside. Now whisk your yogurt and leave it out near the stove to come to room temperature. Get your fresh ingredients ready and put a pan – a wok or karhai works best – on medium high heat.
Add your chicken, ginger paste, garlic paste, and tomatoes to the pan. Cook until the water dries up. If you have cut your boneless chicken into small pieces then it will be cooked through by now. If not add a little water and let it cook.
Then add the soy sauce, salt, red chillies, black pepper, turmeric, butter, and oil. Cook until the masala turns out a bright red hue and the oil rises above it.
Now it is time to gently mix in the yoghurt, green chillies, ketchup, chopped ginger (reserving some for garnish) and garam masala. Reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. You can have this over rice (add water to the finished dish to thin out the gravy) or bread. I like it best with bread.