My idea of a kitchen is a vivid visual of my mother, rummaging through the refrigerator. Almost like a scavenger on the hunt for prey, she tries to maneuver through the mountain of vegetables, meat, and spices in our refrigerator to cook up a delicious meal for my carnivorous brother and I.
Now let me tell you this: we (the tummies of my brother and I, which needless to say have a mind of their own) aren’t very easy to please – yet somehow, my ever so smothering mother would manage to whip up recipes with her magic ladle that would keep us hungry for many a serving.
When I moved to London about two months ago, I had to take on the role of my mother and cook for myself. Being the boss lady at #studentlife, my refrigerator looked and continues to look as though struck by a storm. On one of those nippy hungry nights not too long ago, the need for food to keep my stomach grumbles at bay tugged at my memory, and voila – there it was: the easiest recipe ever, that my mother used to serve up within minutes. It requires just a few kitchen staples that I luckily happened to have at home that night.
- 2-3 Chicken breast – filleted (or depending on how hungry you are, or how many days you don’t plan to cook after stirring up this meal)
- Lots and lots of Cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, feta or whichever one makes your heart melt)
- Some salt and pepper (as per your palette)
- 4 Egg whites (You could add some sunshine onto your dish if you’re a fan of egg yellowand in that case 2 eggs should suffice)
- Lots of Bread Crumbs (Cos hey, bread FTW!)
- 3 Tomatoes (as many as you’d like depending on how tangy you like your food)
- Olive oil
- A big pan
- A big ladle
- 3-4 big containers/bowls
- Now the process is fairly simple, all you gotta do is fillet the chicken breast and set it aside.
- Crack open the eggs into a container and separate the yellow from the white, throw in a dash of the seasoning and dance along as you whip, whip, whip and set this mix aside too.
- Smash some bread and crumb it to your heart’s content into a big container.
- Now once all of this is done puree your tomatoes in a grinder and set aside.
- Place your pan on the stove, add some olive oil and crank up the heat.
- Go back to your chicken fillets and one by one, dip each filet into the egg white mixture and then subsequently dip it into the bread crumb mixture. Make sure you drench the pieces with a thick coating of both.
- Once the oil is hot, add in the tomato puree and as soon as it starts bubbling add the dipped chicken fillets into the pan.
- Turn the fillets around in the pan, until golden brown and then shred in some of the cheese.
- Serve hot, and dig in!
For me, to revisit this recipe couldn’t have come at a better time. It was an otherwise lonely night which turned into one filled with hunger, realisation, good food and reminiscence of childhood memories spent back in India, quarreling with my brother whilst constantly pestering my mother about the dinner menu, and finally being served hot chicken with tomatoes and cheese. As I sat down and looked at my plate, I felt my eyes well up with tears, and my mouth grin from ear to ear…London was finally home.
Words, Devayani Bapat
Image, Luke Radcliffe-Moore – @luke.rm.design