My mom got married when she was 22. She had spent her youth in places like Bombay, Tokyo, and London, only to find herself hitched and living in a city with a population a few orders of magnitude smaller. At the time, Columbia‘s vegetable offerings had a low ceiling — there were peas, cabbage, carrots, potatoes. Lettuce was iceberg. And cilantro was just a twinkle in some food exporter’s eye.
One day Columbia would turn into something special, a combination of college town and hippie crunchville that makes the food world easier to embrace from home. But in 1979 the first meal she cooked in her kitchen was a staple dish: chicken and potatoes. With a few spices from her suitcase thrown in.
- 2 to 2.5 lbs of chicken ( thigh portions are the tastiest but breast pieces will work too), skinned. Cut each thigh piece into two one with bone in and the other boneless.
- 2 medium onions, chopped fine.
- 4 Tbsp neutral oil (I use canola)
- 1 russet potato peeled and cut into 12 equal pieces
- 2tps. chili powder
- 2tps. turmeric
- 3 TBS. coriander powder
- 1 1/2 TBS. cumin powder
- 1 1/2 TBS. garlic powder
- 1 1/4 TBS ginger powder (for the spices, it’s best to measure them out ahead and put them in a glass to add all at once)
- 1/4 TBS. salt
- 1/8 TBS. garam masala
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro