08/06/2013 10:55 am ET | Updated Oct 06, 2013

Tapas : Chicken Masala & Veg Fritters


Don't the simplest combinations result in exploding mouthfuls?

Vegetable fritters are a common rainy day snack in almost every Indian household. I make mine slightly differently (read -- shortcut style), but it doesn't compromise the flavor whatsoever. Masala chicken mince (or chicken keema) on the other hand, is a north Indian style curry dish, less common but equally loved, and usually eaten with rice or Indian flatbread. The combination of the two -- unheard of.

But that is where I come in. In the 29. kitchen, I am all about combining different flavors and creating bite sized delicacies from standard Indian flavors. More challenging, the better. I presented this dish to a tasting party and it worked miraculously! Better than I expected in fact. The crisp warm fritter and cool yogurt on top touches your palate first, and is only complimented with a burst of spices underneath. All in all, a bite totally worth repeating!

For the Masala Chicken
½ pound minced chicken (or turkey, pork, beef, mutton)
½ cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 green chili, finely chopped
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
1 bay leaf
2 cloves, crushed
1 green cardamom, crushed
1 plum tomato, finely chopped
½ red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
¼ cup olive oil

For the Fritters
½ cup red pepper, grated
½ cup red onion, grated
½ cup baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons gram flour
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dry mango powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
Oil to shallow fry

Make the Chicken
Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add the cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves and cook on medium flame till the spices become fragrant (approx 1 minutes). Add the onions, garlic, green chilies and ginger and continue to cook till the onions turn translucent. At this stage, add the tomatoes along with all the dry spices. Cover and cook till the tomatoes are soft and fully cooked and the oil begins to separate. Now add the chicken mince, peas and ½ cup water. Cover and cook till the chicken is fully cooked. Remove cover and continue to sauté on high flame till all excess liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and cool.

Make the Fritters
Make a batter from all the ingredients for the fritters. If its too dry, add a few teaspoons of water, but the water in the vegetables should be enough to make a thick sticky batter (one that can be shaped and is not flowy).
Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Divide the batter into small coin sized rounds, and cook each till its crisp and brown on either side. Alternatively you can also cook the entire batter as a pancake and later cut it into smaller pieces.

Add a teaspoon of the chicken mince on an appetizer spoon. Top with a warm fritter, some yogurt and fresh coriander and serve fresh. An appetizer with a difference!