Anglo Indian Chicken Meatball Stew
Some of my fondest memories as a little girl revolve around times I got to eat outside. I remember my grandmother helping me get settled on the steps outside her kitchen door. Tucking a checkered cloth napkin into the front of my dress, she would then carefully lower a big bowl of her Anglo Indian Chicken Stew into my lap for me to enjoy while watching the backyard flora and fauna; with no television, this was my biggest form of entertainment.
From my royal perch, I'd slowly savor the thick creamy meatball and vegetable studded stew while keenly watching the antics of the mischievous squirrels and noisy parrots up in the mango trees above. I'd have conversations with the bold crows that would move in closer and cock their heads to get a better look at what was in my bowl. And when nobody was looking, I'd magnanimously throw them a carrot or two from my stew. You see, carrots were my least favorite vegetable at the time.
Many moons later, stew is still one of my favorite dishes; to eat and to make. Though, now I eat all my carrots without any fuss. And yes, I enjoy it best when I get to eat my stew quietly, sitting down outside on my back steps.
Anglo Indian Chicken Stew
Stews are prepared all over the world, with whatever local ingredients people have on hand. So, what makes an Anglo Indian stew distinctly Anglo Indian? It's the addition of a couple of very specific dry and ground spices that are used in Indian cooking. Cinnamon, clove and peppercorns. These whole spices sautéed in hot oil release their distinct fragrances into the stew. And adding cinnamon, clove and pepper powder when making meatballs for the stew, gives flavor to the chicken mince that can otherwise tend to be rather tasteless.
Anglo Indian Chicken Meatball and Macaroni Stew
There are many version of Anglo Indian Stew, prepared with whatever is on hand. Most commonly, it starts with an onion and tomato base with dry spices, followed by chunks of meat, simmered and stewed with vegetables like carrots, peas, potatoes, beans and cabbage. And finally, the stew is thickened with a mixture of corn flour and milk. That's the recipe in a nutshell. Really easy. Best enjoyed with bread/ toast and butter or chapatis.
Growing up, that's how we would enjoy the stew the first day. The next day, my mother would boil elbow or shell macaroni and toss them into the stew for a whole different dish; Macaroni Stew!
Adding meatballs to the stew makes the stew a tad bit more special. As children, we much preferred meatballs in stew to piece of meat. It just seemed much more appealing to eat food that resembled our toys.
I've taken our traditional Anglo Indian Chicken Stew recipe and tweaked it a little bit to make one of my favorite one-dish wonders. Anglo Indian Chicken Meatball and Macaroni Stew! The vegetables are diced up into small pieces, rather than large chunks. Flavored with a lot of freshly chopped parsley, this adds a slightly different dimension to the stew. While traditionally, parsley is not a common ingredient used in Indian cooking, those in the western world might enjoy the flavor that parsley brings to the stew.
If you don't have parsley on hand, you can substitute it with mint leaves. Or just leave it out altogether.
RECIPE: Anglo Indian Macaroni and Chicken Meatball Stew
Spice level- 1 on 5
☐ 1 inch cinnamon stick
☐ 1 teaspoon pepper corns
☐ 1 cup sliced onion (1/2 onion sliced)
☐ 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
☐ 1/4 cup tomato (1/2 tomato finely diced)
☐ 2 slit green chilies
☐ 1 bay leaf
☐ 3/4 cup chopped carrots
☐ 1 cup diced potatoes
☐ 2 1/2 cups water
☐ 1 soup cube
☐ 1 tablespoon corn flour
☐ 1/2 cup milk or cream
☐ 1 tablespoon butter
☐ 3/4 cup frozen peas
☐ 1 cup raw macaroni, shell or elbow pasta (boiled separately)
☐ 1/2 lb. chicken mince
☐ 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
☐ 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
☐ 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
☐ 3/4 teaspoon pepper powder
☐ 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
☐ 1/4 teaspoon clove powder
☐ 1/2 teaspoon salt
Step 1: Fry
In hot oil, add whole cinnamon, clove, pepper corns and sliced onions. Fry for a few minutes until the onion begin to soften and turn golden-light brown. Add garlic and sauté for a minute. Add slit green chilies and diced tomatoes and fry well until the tomatoes cook down and the mixture looks oily and mashy.
Step 2: Add vegetables
Add carrots and potatoes. Fry lightly.
|Frying carrots and potatoes lightly|
Then add the water, soup cube and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then simmer while you prepare the meatballs.
|Simmering vegetables in broth.|
Step 3: Prepare meatballs
Mix the chicken mince with the diced onion, parsley, pepper powder, cinnamon powder, clove powder, salt and breadcrumbs. Roll into small meatballs (about 25 in number).
Step 4: Simmer and Cook
Gently slide the meatballs into the bubbling stew. Do not move or stir the meatballs or else they may break. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, gently move the meatballs by titling the pan slowly. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
|Meatballs simmering in stew|
Step 5: Thicken Stew
Mix corn flour in milk or cream until smooth. Slowly pour the mixture into the stew stirring gently to thicken the stew.
Add the frozen peas to the stew and take off the stove.
|Adding frozen peas|
Step 6: Final Touches
If eating with macaroni, add the boiled macaroni to the stew.
Enjoy with crusty toasted bread and butter or on its own.
If you liked this recipe, you may also like my Spicy Anglo Indian Ball Curry.
For more Anglo Indian recipes, click on the "Anglo Indian" label below or take a peek at "My Cookbook Index".