The Mice Who Loved Me: Hara-Bhara Chicken

I started the New Year by grumpily strolling into my kitchen at an ungodly hour. I stepped on a toy, stubbed my toe, balefully glared at three weeks of mail piled up on the counter and desultorily poured myself a cup of coffee.

After my head cleared enough for me to survey the surroundings, my eyes took in a desolate loaf of multigrain bread, two rotting bananas, a bottle of gin and a mouse.

I kid you not.

I scurried away blaming it on jet lag, hunger, nerves, fatigue. You see, I was on vacation most of December. Which meant three course meals, shopping sprees, booze, friends, get the drift.

And now I was reduced to foraging for my meals, stuffing scraps of stale bread into the toaster oven. Opening my mail. Doing the bills. Buying the groceries, running the errands. So why wouldn't I hallucinate about mice?

I seriously considered checking myself into rehab when I returned to the kitchen and saw not one but two mice. And decided that this was as good a time as any to let out a blood curdling scream.

This was war. The Boy was dispatched at sunrise to procure the most evil traps imaginable to mousekind. I set off grocery shopping and came back armed with gouda cheese, grapes, fresh bread (mice like multigrain, right?). I played Pavarotti and summoned a magic mouse catcher named Rafael.

Needless to say, my forays into the kitchen have been few and far between, because I just couldn't handle the thought of watching Mickey and Minnie pirouetting while the pasta boiled.

However last week gluttony got the better of me and I made The Boy stand guard while I made a speedy chicken curry, using some hara (green) masala I had the foresight to make and freeze beforehand.

And very belated Happy 2010 to all! Consider yourselves lucky since at the rate I'm going my snail mail cards will probably get sent right around the spring solstice.
Hara Bhara Chicken

You can make the masala for this well in advance and stick it in the freezer like I did. End result is minimal work for a zingy dish that goes very well with a raita and rice.

For the masala
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves
½ bunch fresh mint leaves
4 green chillies
Juice of ½ a lime
Salt to taste

For the chicken curry
4-5 bone in chicken thighs
1 large onion
2 tbsp ginger & garlic paste
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ cup yogurt
Juice of ½ a lime
Salt to taste

Throw in all the ingredients for the masala into a blender, add water and blitz until you get a fine paste. Make sure you add the water a couple of tablespoons at a time – the resulting masala should be smooth but not runny. Set this aside.

Clean and cut the chicken. Add salt, turmeric, ginger garlic paste and yogurt and set aside.
Finely chop the onion. In a kadhai or wok, heat oil and add in the onion. Fry gently until it becomes a nice golden brown. Add the chicken along with the marinade and continue frying for about 10 minutes.

Now add in the masala. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring often. Now add ½ cup of water, cover the wok and lower the flame. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the oil rises to the top.
Squeeze the juice from ½ a lime before serving.

Serves 2-3.


  1. Yay, you're back! Hope Rafael has wielded his magic and that you're now mouse-free. I could empathize entirely with this post - I know exactly what it's like to enter a cold, lonely (and mouse-filled!) kitchen after the sunshine and warmth of India.

  2. Hey, any recipe for those rasgullas?

  3. Kamini - sadly, they are store bought.


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