Though not authentically a Christmas platter, I thought of wishing all MERRY CHRISTMAS with this humble plate of Chicken Fried Rice with Fish Fritters accompanied by my favourite Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut. You may wonder why the cake is crumbled....its the way my family prefers when served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it. The lettuce and tomato to remind all that salads are an essential part of our meals. The lighted candle says, may there be light in all of your lives forever.
I feel that just like Durga Pooja, Christmas has an universal approach. It is just not confined to a mere religious festival. It is a festival celebrated worldwide. I have a very good childhood memory of Christmas. My childhood was spent in a small township, about 100 km away from Kolkata at my maternal grandparent's house. My mom being married at a young age was still studying at college. I had a very happy childhood among aunts and uncles. I was too pampered a child. That town had a very big church with its own school, hospital and home for the distressed. From 25th December till 1st January there was a big celebration there which I attended even after shifting to Kolkata with my parents. I remember a big fair used to held on this occasion. Few of my aunt's friends being Christian, I attended Sunday special prayers too. I really do love the calm and peaceful environment inside. I am a secular humanist and firmly believe respecting other religion does not necessarily mean downgrading mine. My marriage to an atheist taught me not to bring religion into everything. He always says religion is to keep within yourself and broaden your horizon, do practise tolerance. The main attraction of attending the Sunday prayer was after it was over. Once done, my aunt's friend would take us to their house and treat with fresh, warm home baked cakes, not fancy but tasty.
Not so familiar with Xmas baking and cooking, I thought why not wish all with something simple which I am comfortable at. Hence came up with this. Rice and Fish is our staple, so I am absolutely relaxed doing it. I had some boneless chicken and bell peppers, so thought of preparing fried rice, some fish fritters with the white fish fillets I still had. To end with a dessert made of chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.
INGREDIENTS[for the fried rice] :
Chicken[preferably breast pieces] : 200 gm
Red n Yellow Bell Pepper : 1each
Green Chilli : 2
Soya Sauce : 1 tbsp
Garlic[minced] : 1 tsp
Ginger[minced] : 1/2tsp
Onion : 2 medium
Green Peas : 2tbsp
Black Pepper Powder : 1/4 spoon
Salt : As required
Spring Onion[to garnish, I skipped as I did not have.
Oil : 2tbsp
Rice : 1 big cup.
INGREDIENTS[for the fish balls] :
White Fish fillets : 250 gm
Salt : As required
Green Chilli : 2
Garlic[minced] : 1/2 tsp
Vinegar : 2 tbsp
Soya Sauce : 1 tsp
Corn Flour : 2tbsp
Oil : 50 ml [for deep frying]
Let us do the fried rice first. Prepare rice till its half done or may be little more. Drain the water and keep uncovered.
Cut the onion and bell peppers into cubes or strips. Chop the green chillies and soak in the soya sauce. Mince the garlic and ginger. Boil the chicken till tender and shred discarding any bone.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the minced garlic and ginger. Put in the onions, fry till translucent. Now add the peas and bell peppers. Stir for 3-4 minutes, add as much salt is required, mix well. Add the chicken strips and black pepper powder. Mix well. Add the rice, stir for 1 minute and add the soya sauce and green chilli. Stir for another 2 minutes. The whole process is to be done in high heat and quick stirs.
Now the fish fritters. Marinate the fish in vinegar for 1 hour. Wash n pat dry. Mash the fish lightly with your palms. Add chopped green chillies, minced garlic, soya sauce, salt as required and corn flour. Mix well and shape into small round balls. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Heat oil in a wok. Deep fry the fish balls in oil. Drain excess oil in tissue papers.