There are few memorable meals in my life, especially because my works entails eating out as much as 4 times a week. So either the food, the company or the conversation has to be the driver for making a memorable meal. One such meal was with my dearest friend, soul sister and possibly the world's best Pastry Chef, Avanti Mathur of Sweet Nothings by Avanti Mathur fame! We met over lunch at an obscure Tibetan/Chinese bistro called Hachiba and went on to enjoy some of the best garlic chili ribs and momos this side of town! That of course was a definitive factor in making the afternoon pleasant and coupled with the amazing heart to heart we had, it became a memorable meal. Hachiba became a staple in many ways, we met there again and I took my family over at least twice a week, we even got Andy hooked on the Pork Momos. Hachiba then pulled a Beyonce by moving to a new location, 1/2 km from my house! Considering they don't do home delivery, we now go 3 times a month and more if and when we can. Our favourites include the American Chopsuey, a dish that has no geography and I suspect that the version we have is as Indian as it can get. We also leave the deceiving sounding 'Garlic Butter Chicken', nothing at all to do with Delhi's Butter Chicken and thank God for that, this is a creamy, garlicky sauce with large chunks of juicy, boneless chicken and that's it! It is shockingly simple to make and we learned that over an evening when every one was out and Ally and I were craving Hachiba. The only way out was to re-create Hachiba's Garlic Butter Chicken at home!
I don't like freezing meats or cooking frozen meats (and foods) but thanks to the dog we always have chicken in the freezer, boneless chicken is best to portion and pack in zip lock bags, so all we had to do with defrost that and figure out the flavours in the sauce. Neither of which was a tough job, the warm weather helped defrost the chicken without the micro (I hate that too!) and sauce seemed like nothing but loads of garlic and loads of cream.This is best enjoyed with a simple fried rice, the kind you make with egg! I go a bit rustic Chinese on this one. I saute thinly sliced spring onions (with a bit of the greens) and a white onion in a little peanut oil, break in 2 eggs and scramble, then add 2 tbsp of really good, dark soy sauce and 2-2/1/2 cups of cooked, cold white rice. Toss it all up on a high flame till rice warms up and gets soy coloured and egg is but just threads to add flavour!
2 tbsp Olive Oil
250 gms Boneless Chicken Breast, cut into 2" pieces
2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
10-12 Cloves of Garlic
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Cream, Amul will do, I suspect they use it too!
½ Cup Milk, mainly to peter down the sauce if you like, so check seasoning once you get the consistency you want, they keep it rather thick!
Freshly ground pepper, use white pepper if you don’t like the speckled look, Hachiba does!
Spring onion greens for garnish
Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce, just to salt and colour the meat a bit, so you can marinate it as long as it takes you to prep the other ingredients. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan, crush the garlic with the flat side of a knife to let out all the flavours, it has a bit of frying to take so no need to chop or mince. Add the garlic and saute on a low flame for 1-2 minutes, add the pieces of marinated boneless chicken, drain the soy. Fry on a high flame, stirring occasionally to evenly cook and lightly brown the chicken, this should be about 3-4 minutes, reduce the heat and slowly pour in the cream, fold it in gently, check the consistency and add milk if you like. Season with salt and pepper and gently fold it all in. Simmer covered for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, garnish with thinly sliced spring onion greens and serve hot with egg fried rice!
Serving Suggestion: If you want to add texture, try garnishing with garlic slivers baked or fried till crisp and light brown!