The original version of this was a delicious lamb fry that my Aji (grandmum) used to make to mark many a special occasion. The aromas of coriander, mint and ginger from the hot pan instantly took me back to those days – sitting on low wooden stools on the kitchen floor and waiting for the first batch to cool down enough to pop them in.
Aji served it as a side but this also makes a great appetiser. Crispy, flavourful and with a kick of peppery spice!
I prefer to pan fry the chicken but it also works well if baked in the oven.
This recipe has been a firm family favourite across generations – even our 3 year old loves it enough to ask for seconds and thirds!
400 grams chicken
75-80 grams coriander leaves
12-15 mint leaves ( 2-3 sprigs)
1 green chilli
1 inch piece of ginger
2-3 large cloves of garlic
salt to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup fine semolina or breadcrumbs
Oil for pan frying
1. Grind the coriander, mint, chilli, ginger-garlic, peppercorns with the salt to get a velvety paste.
2. Marinade the chicken in this paste and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in the pan. Dip the chicken pieces in the beaten egg. Then dip them in the semolina or breadcrumbs until well coated.
4. Shallow fry them for about 6-8 minutes, turning them when they start to brown.
5. Ensure that both sides are crispy and the meat is cooked before transferring the chicken onto a kitchen towel.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 until you have finished with the chicken.
7. Serve hot with a squeeze of lime (optional).
To bake ahead or make a large batch, you could bake these in the oven. Preheat the oven at Gas 5 (375 F) for 10 minutes, with the baking pan in it. Grease the pan well and lay the pieces on it. Drizzle some more oil over the pieces before returning the pan to the oven. Bake for about 25-30 minutes till the chicken is moist and tender with a crispy bread crumbed coating. (For the oven version, I would recommend bread crumbs instead of the semolina.)
I tried it both ways and found that the pan frying retains the flavours and heat while baking makes the dish much milder. Factor that in when you decide which option you prefer.