The best way to do this would be to start with a photo.
More than four months this time and I’ve more to tell you than ever. This is the seventh time I’ve tried sitting at my laptop trying to force a post out of myself. And all I’ve learnt is that when you own a food blog you cannot, and more importantly, should not, force a post. A post that includes a November trip to New York. A post that includes some things that we’ve been feasted on lately. A post with a random photo of an empty dinner plate after a very satisfying Chinese meal. A post that talks of succulent chicken drumsticks drenched in marmalade and coriander.
Someone once told me that New York was magical during Christmas. Somewhere near the end of 2011, a few days before I started this blog, I came across and almost fell for (almost) a charming young man, who at the time was living in New Jersey. We exchanged a few emails, the contents of which concentrated mostly on the magic that is New York City. There were the occasional jokes and teasing remarks that you would expect to find signalling the beginning of any high-school romance surreptitiously drenched in pink soda pops. But mostly, NYC stole the show. Back then, I knew I had to start saving for it. And I did. Only, I didn’t actually know when I’d be making the actual trip or whether I’d be making it t all.
Last year while navigating through the throngs of pandaals that Kolkata throws up every year during Durga Pujas, amidst all the crowds, the lights, the excitement of going in and out of food comas with friends, I wanted to take off. Not a pleasant feeling, I assure you, when you want to laugh and smile at all that your friends are saying. When you can’t stop thinking of how badly you need a break from work and just take off on your own and you have nowhere to go. The very next day, I made it a point to check in with my bank account, as you should when you’re planning to take a trip alone halfway across the world. And then New York happened.
I want to tell you more. So much more and I can hardly wait. But I do honestly think, all the photos would do a much better job at the story than my words ever could. So I need you to wait till the next time I come around and I swear you won’t be disappointed. I haven’t however come empty-handed today, you know. I realize that you’d kill me if I did. So, here’s a picture of an empty dinner plate.
This was part of a skirt-busting dinner at Mainland China that ended with an obscene amount of raucous laughter, mounds of darsaan and a group of very serious adults enthusiastically slurping sweet-n-salty goodness off their dinner plates. We didn’t really bother with much manners that evening.
But lately, I have only been talking about these drumsticks. We’ve been eating these a lot lately and have found that they don’t joke around. They’re serious crowd-pleasers. They also turn weak-willed women like me into first class specimens of cave-women. The last time I made these, I was visiting Sangeeta for a good old-fashioned sleepover, and we tucked a couple of them into a plastic container and into the refrigerator. Next morning, I woke up before anyone else and started thinking of breakfast. By the time, the rest of the house woke up and waddled down the staircase, I had already gnawed and chewed on both of the drumsticks, smeared my face with the sweet sticky sauce and dripped a lot of it on the kitchen floor as well. Obviously I’m someone who should not be allowed to come in contact with human company in the mornings.
You start by massaging the drumsticks with a mixture of molten marmalade, vinegar…rice wine vinegar, to be more precise, and a paste made out of garlic, ginger and coriander leaves. After an overnight stint in the refrigerator, they are coated with a film of olive oil and roasted till sticky and caramelized. They’re not smoky, although, now that I think of it, they would perform quite beautifully on a grill with a light fennel salad on the side. Maybe, that’s what we’ll do the next time. Maybe at a picnic. With fennel salad and coleslaw and beer and brownies to finish. Maybe, I should just finish talking about the chicken thighs before I move on to planning picnics. Maybe it’s just the heat that’s making me talk like this. Summer is here people, before it’s time, much to all our irritation and delight.
Chicken Drumsticks in Marmalade & Coriander
– 8-10 pieces of chicken drumsticks
– 2 cups tightly packed with fresh coriander leaves
– 1 cup of marmalade (I used McKay’s but any supermarket brand will do)
– 1 green chili (use 2, if you’d like it spicier)
– 1 tbsp of ginger & garlic paste
– 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
– 2 tbsp of white granulated sugar
– 3 tbsp of olive oil (not extra virgin please. If you’re out of olive oil, try using any colorless odorless vegetable oil, like canola or sunflower)
– Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
– Wedges of lime or lemon, freshly chopped coriander, to garnish (optional)
Wash the drumsticks well and dry them with paper towels. Any extra moisture will prevent them from crisping up later. In a small pan, heat the marmalade on low heat till it turns into a spreadable consistency. Blitz up the marmalade, coriander, chili, ginger-garlic paste, vinegar & sugar in a blender. In a large bowl (or deep tray) coat the drumsticks with the blitzed up mixture. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate overnight. If you’re short on time, then at least 1 hour of marination time will do.
Pre-heat oven to 180 deg-C.
Take a baking tray or roasting tin and grease it well so the drumsticks don’t stick to the tray while roasting. Alternatively, line the tray with aluminum foil and the grease the foil. Place the pieces on the tray taking care not to let them touch. With a pastry brush or baster, dab the pieces all over with the oil. Retain the remaining marinade in the bowl. Sprinkle over the drumsticks with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for fifteen minutes. Take the half-roasted drumsticks out and re-paint them, this time with the leftover marinade. Make sure they’re coated well. Turn the pieces over and roast for fifteen minutes more. Pierce the thickest part of a drumstick with a fork and check if the juices run clear and if the drumstick’s all white inside. If yes, then they’re done. If not, then roast for five more minutes, Serve with freshly chopped coriander sprinkled on top along with wedges of lemon and a fresh salad.
These drumsticks travel well when wrapped in foil, packed in lunch boxes, in case you’re thinking about taking them to a picnic. Alternatively, barbecue them.