Growing up, birthdays have always been very special. It was the day when I was treated like a real princess. The excitement the night before, the preparations building up for the big day and the day itself was filled with anticipation and exhilaration. It made me look forward with eagerness and feel so valued and celebrated. It would all start with the dress – “THE birthday dress” and then finding the “right” chocolates to distribute among friends. The day would begin with a visit to a temple to seek divine blessings and then the exhilaration of the day escalated with reaching school. The flurry of activity leading up to the big day made April such a lovely month for me.
But as I grow up and the child in me gives way to a more matured self, surprisingly I find myself cringing when my birthday comes up.The excitement has of course diminished and all I truly desire is a quiet evening with close friends, good food and some heart to heart conversations. And that’s exactly what I got for this birthday – great food and fantastic company. So last weekend – i.e. my birthday weekend, on public demand I went on to make Chow Mein for dinner and soon after the classic partner cropped up to mind – Chili Chicken. With everyone’s help, it seemed like a breeze and was quite a success. My first birthday meal for this year.
Chili Chicken and Chow Mein/ Mixed fried rice have always been a classic combo back home. The crisp, stir fried noodles team up with this spicy, luscious chicken dish to celebrate a party in the mouth. The combination works perfectly and is a must try. A complete and versatile meal in itself , it can very well be made vegetarian with a little substitution. The best part of this combo is that they both use similar sauces and ingredients and hence make it so easy.
A lip smacking Indo-Chinese delicacy in which marinated pieces of chicken in a spicy and tangy batter are fried till golden brown and tossed with garlic, onions and chilies.It works very well when teamed up with fried rice or Chow Mein to form a complete meal by itself.
For the stir fry:
- Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients for the marinade.
- Let it sit for ~ 2-3 hrs in the refrigerator.Tip: When kept cold, the batter sticks firmly to the chicken and makes a better coating.
- Fry the chicken pieces till golden brown and keep aside.
- In a wok, add some oil and garlic. Let it soften.
- Then add in the chicken pieces, onions and chilies together.
- Stir for 2-3 minutes on high, add in the sauces and serve hot.
Vegetarian substitute: Substitute the chicken with paneer or firm tofu and proceed as given.
Time saver tips: The chicken can be marinated and kept in the refrigerator. While planning for a party, fry the chicken pieces a day in advance. On the D-day, warm up the pieces in the oven at 300F for 5-10 mins and proceed with step 5 and 6.
This preparation is sure to wow your guests and the best part is that it can be made way in advance leaving you time to enjoy the party without slogging too hard.An overall fun way to satisfy a hungry crowd in minutes.
Photo credits: All these pictures have been taken by my friend and a talented budding photographer who was kind enough to take these lovely pictures of my dish and share it with me. A huge thanks 🙂
Have a fun weekend guys!