• Expert By Experience

Desi Men, Let's Talk In The Kitchen - Chicken & veg combo with some rich sauce

Chicken on a plate

Welcome to the first episode of Desi Men, Let's Talk In The Kitchen.

So here we are yaar, first episode and all that. Before we dive right into it here's a brief recap on why we've started this series:

'Considering how much I love cooking it's weird to think I only started cooking 2 years ago.

Before that I was hopeless. Like other men, having grown up in a gender-binary society where gender-roles were strict I never took a keen interest in cooking. It wasn't something we as boys were encouraged to do (I am at fault here also for not challenging such narratives earlier).

Looking back I wish someone had encouraged me to get into cooking, especially during my teens, because it's one of the few ways I de-stress and centre myself during my day/evening. As opposed to before where I would hold a lot of anger and not deal with my emotions, like other men.

With this in mind, we move forward with this new series targeted at South Asian men so that we can get them cooking (exploring) in the kitchen.

Cooking is a restful joyous activity, especially when you follow your intuition.

My form of cooking intuitive (ditch the measurements, we will be using our senses) and this is what I hope to be translating into our series 🥦

Although the series is targeted at men, everyone else is welcome to join in, feedback and get involved 💛'

Right, let's begin!

For this first episode we're cooking:

  • Crispy dry chicken

  • Veggies

  • Rich coconut tomato sauce


Here's a lowdown of what you'll need ingredient wise:

- chicken thigh/breast

- carrots

- onions

- coconut milk

- tomato sauce

- greens (can be anything from spinach leaves to green cabbage)

And now grab your spices, the most important part! Here's an example of what I used:

  • Kashmiri mirch

  • 1 whole chilli

  • Tumeric

Also, please remember salt and pepper. For once I'd endorse being salty trololol

The dish I made was medium on the spicy chart. You can add more chilli if you'd like or add chilli/paprika flakes (if you wan't to get fancy). Here's some nice ones I use from Just Ingredients (not an endorsement)

Let's get cooking now!

.....Oh wait, we need to do some chopping first...the admin boring bit that can be made super-mindful.

Although chopping can be boring, it can be transformed into something more than that.

I use this section of my cooking to align my breathing. I normally tend to cook after work and due to work/life stresses my breathing tends to be all over the gaff (place).

This is why I use the cutting section of my cooking to get some deep breathing in. As a rule of thumb, I try to get my deepest longest cycles of inhale and exhale in before I start my cutting.

(This also helps to make sure I don't chop my finger off because my mind's wandering.)

Right, now that my breathing's in tip-top shape and the choppin's magically done itself it's time to get cooking - finally!

First, oil up your pan. I always use coconut oil or olive oil to cook. Coconut oil I find really good for cooking crispy foods, it really helps the meat soak up the richness of the coconut.

(You could marinate the chicken before hand if you have time, but first baby-steps!)

Here's some important tips to remember for the cooking of the chicken.

  • Put the chicken in on a high heat, let it crisp up/turn golden (takes 8-10 mins, remember to turn accordingly) - From start to finish the cooking of the chicken takes around 45 mins.

  • Add in your salt and pepper (your first serving won't be your last, you'll be tasting as you go - so start gentle. Less is more)

  • Spice based on the look of the chicken and smell of the pot (in my example I've used the turmeric to highlight the crispiness of the chicken)

I know that last line sounds quite wishy-washy, but this is where the intuitive side of cooking kicks in. As a rule of thumb (yes, I know this is my second time using this phrase), you can start with a teaspoon of each. However, as you cook, depending on the colours you want in the pot, spice accordingly so.

Now cover the pot up and turn your heat down to medium. What you cover it with doesn't need to be air-tight. As you can see mine isn't air-tight either.

While the chicken cooks, remember your chopped up vegetables?

You can put them in a pan to cook gently over a medium heat. Given that the chicken is quite flavoursome I tend to keep the vegetable flavours relatively simple.

However, to keep the taste universal and to keep things spicy, you can take some of the sauce from the chicken and put it into the vegetables.

Placing the sauce from the chicken pan into the vegetables

Now, it's time to get saucy.

Grab a deep-ish pan and put your tomato (tamartar) sauce on a medium heat. Let the sauce simmer for around 3-5 mins, add in spices, salt and pepper during this period.

At this point add in your coconut milk. What you'll end up with is a rich-thicc sauce that's dark brown in consistency.

The sauce shouldn't take more than 10-12 mins. Again, taste, taste and taste your way through (mind your tongue though).

Tomato sauce cooking with coconut milk

Once you've cooked your sauce you're ready to roll! By that I mean ready to eat!

All in all your dish should look something like this (left with the sauce, right without):

Through all the trails and tribulations you're now ready to share your beautiful creation. you did it, doesn't it feel amazing?

You've done it, you should be so proud, I sure am proud of you. You made the first step int the beautiful world of inuitive cooking.

Oh, and don't worry about the aesthetics of the dish, Instagram isn't your purpose.

Your purpose is to grow your confidence with cooking so that you can practice it as a form of self-care for yourself. This is what we're building up to together in this series.

Here's a cheeky little picture of my full dish with some roast potatoes:

What my final dish looks like, yummy!

That's it for this week folks, come by next week when we cook Karachi bun kebab *drools*.

If you have any feedback for this series please do just email in or reach out on social media. Would love to hear from you on how the presentation, description and 'how to' can be made better and more accessible.