This recipe is a family favourite. Something my mother’s older sister (Loku Amma) makes for us whenever we visit. She’s an amazing cook just like my mum and serves this chicken with yellow rice, eggplant pickle and potato curry.
The day we cooked this we were cooking for guests. This means a thorough cleaning of the Morawakella Bungalow and unlocking the pantry cupboards to unearth the “fine china”. The set that comes out is beige with a gold line and blue accents. It’s as old as the hills and my Great-uncle Nanda recently told me about when he first saw the set.
Nanda Aththa, as we call him, came to Delwala (my maternal grandmother’s ancestral home) in search of a bride. He hailed from Kandy and this was a day’s journey, if not more. Having arrived in Delwala he was served lunch as was traditional in the fine blue and beige china. He was served alcohol, slightly less traditional but he remarked that he felt entitled to it so he asked. Then he was served tea, at this point he was worried. The bride (my grandmother’s sister Susila) had not yet appeared. I turned to Susi Aththamma, who was standing and listening, and asked her what took her so long?
She looked at me slyly over her cup of tea and smiled as she said “I refused to come out”. When I asked why, her answer was simple. “I had some better offers at the time.”
Now the story ends happily and the two did eventually marry. Maybe she came out and found her prospects were better than expected. Whatever the case may be, these blue and beige dishes have served some important events and bought together some important people.
This recipe, as you see it today was cooked on a wood fire stove. Don’t you find that amazing? No knob to control the heat, not exhaust, no light.
- 2 kg of chicken (thighs and drumsticks work best I find)
- 1 tbsp. crushed ginger
- 1tbsp. crushed garlic
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 1 tbsp. chilli powder
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 2-3 tbsp. sugar ( or to taste)
- Oil for deep frying
1. Marinate the chicken with the first set of ingredients and leave for no more than an hour (the vinegar will start to cook otherwise)
2. Place the marinated chicken in a pot with some water . When the water comes to the boil, turn the heat down and place the lid on it, cooking until the chicken is cooked through. Drain the chicken and reserve to cooking liquid, this is what will become the sauce.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and deep fry the chicken pieces until golden browns and crispy. Drain well on kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil.
Serve hot with lots of fluffy white rice!