Pot luck dinners are quite popular with some of our friends. While writing this post I found out that the etymology of the word pot-luck appears in 16th century England, and was used to mean "food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot". Interestingly to the Irish, a potluck was a meal with no particular menu. Everyone participating brought a dish for all to share. The term comes from a time when groups of Irish women would gather together and cook dinner. They only had one pot so they cooked the meal together with whatever ingredients they happened to have that day.
For me and my friends Potluck is a convenient way to have a lot of fun. Each one of us gets a dish or two so that the hostess does not have to spend all her time in the kitchen cooking/managing refrigerator space/managing household help motivation etc. I also find that when each one of us gets a dish, everything tastes really nice. A lot of effort goes into every individual dish unlike the case where you are preparing an entire meal and your attention gets divided among several dishes. Then you are a little partial to some of the dishes as compared to the others. At the end of the potluck everybody carries back a little bit of the leftovers (other one's dish) for the next day so as the host you don't end up eating the same food over the next three days.
I was at one such dinner last weekend and had made some dhaniya chicken. It is a really easy, no oil dish. Goes well with Roti/Paratha as well as Pulaos. You can make this dry or a leave a little gravy depending on your own individual preference.
I had first sampled Dhaniya Chicken at Barbeque, Calcutta. In fact a friend of ours always ordered this dish. I never got around to getting the recipe from the chef, later discovered this version in a cookbook.
Chicken: 1 kilo
Tomato Puree: 1 cup( use 1 tetrapack if using the bought one)
Dhania powder: 1/2 cup, this is the predominant ingredient
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Garam Masala: 1 tsp( I use the Roopak Garam Masala which is coarsely ground)
Salt: 1 tsp or to taste
Ginger garlic paste: 2 tsp
Sugar: a pinch
Corriander leaves: 1 cup, finely chopped
This is the part I like the best. It is just one step. Almost like baking with the additional advantage of tinkering with the dish half way through.
Mix all the ingredients( except the corriander leaves) together, add a cup of water. Bring the gravy to a boil and let it then simmer covered for about 20 minutes/till done( stir occasionally). Switch off the stove, open the lid and add the corriander leaves and mix well. Serve hot.
There was so much of food going during the pot luck dinner that we did not end up eating most of the main course. My friend tells me that the chicken tasted good and I shall shamelessly take her word for it. Inspired me to blog about it.
Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!