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Taiji's Honey Chicken Made with Love

"You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you"'......A tribute to my wonderful Taiji(Aunt), cannot thank her enough.

I have mentioned in my previous post that my parents lived away from India for 5 years. I was about 6 years old .I don’t regret it at all and I am glad that they took this step – my sister and I stayed with my grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins. Those five years, we knit very close relationships. We lived in a joint family, common in India where the whole family (including paternal grandparents, paternal uncles and their children) lives together. We don't consider my cousins as cousins but we for sure are real sisters.

My sister and I were taken care of in every way, so that we hardly felt that our parents were away. During these years we would travel to our parents twice a year and got to experience the world!

Though, my grandmother was there to look after us and feed us her delights, the person who really took us under her wings was my Aunt or Taiji , as we call her, i.e., fathers’ older brother’s wife.

My Aunt...Taiji

She had a way about her that I cannot explain in words. She was very gentle with us, giving us time as any mother would, overseeing our school work,report days, giving us treats at Nirulas (a fast food restaurant in Delhi that all youngsters would go have burgers, shakes - became the highlight of our week!) and we did not feel any differentiation when it came to my cousins and us. In fact we were made to feel very very special. We would visit her maternal home in Delhi and felt a part of the family as much as my cousins.

Those were the years!

Having specialized in English Literature, she would write scripts for us to enact plays which would be performed in front of an audience comprising of our family memebers at our terrace or small attic kind of room. For her Birthday ,we gave her a surprise by putting up a play where I was a prop!..a Snowman..:) and had to stand for the whole duration of the play in a white bedsheet. In another play I was given the part of Snow White where I was so shy I ran away once the curtains rose!

My sisters and I did have an eventful childhood!

A Mother , an Aunt , an Entreprenuer and a Globe Trotter!

We had a box full of muffins kept on a table in our living room which were by far the worlds tastiest and we would end up eating maybe 10-12 passing by and there..on a daily basis and the box would magically fill up again. Now I know who had the magic wand! We were never asked why we had eaten so many muffins or who finished them so quickly.

She would prepare apple crumble and my sister would pray a part of it gets burnt so that she would get most of it to eat (she loved the burnt bits!). And her cheese toasts were treats for us…beautiful crusted fried toasts …absolutely yum! I will share the recipe later, they were my favorite.

She was the one who brought cold coffee into my life. She would have a very pretty silver glass in which her cold coffee with lots of ice would be served to her daily. In those days when usually in North India, adults drunk tea...this was a refreshing change!

The best part about her was the way she would host her parties. Fine linen on the table, beautiful crockery, amazing appetizers, main course and desserts , fresh flowers …the living room looking immaculate .

My Stylish Aunt

If there was a dish that she felt would not suffice for the party she would quietly whisper to us the letters “F.H.B”…that meant "Family Hold Back!". We would love it since we felt we were a part of a secret plan!

I can never forget those five years of my life in which I was cherished for being who I was. Never judged, never differentiated....only loved, which I thank my Aunt and Uncle for.

One of her dishes, which I would like to showcase today was Honey Chicken. This was especially made for my cousin Minna and me and we could eat the entire dish if allowed! And another version for the parties she hosted.

So, if you do have children or nieces and nephews do try out my Aunt's Honey Chicken and feed them with all your love …as we would feel her love for us with every morsel we bit into. I prepared this dish for my children and it was gobbled up in a few seconds with my son giving it a thumbs up!

I remembered my aunt serving us this delight and could relate to how she must have felt when we did the same.

Taiji’s Honey Chicken


1 full chicken cut into 8 pieces

2 tbsps tomato ketchup

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp ginger and garlic paste

1 tsp soya sauce

Pinch of red chilli powder

1 tsp of oil or butter

Salt to taste

To prepare:

1. Wash the chicken pieces, preferably the drumsticks , thighs , breast pieces and pierce them with a fork, so the marinade seeps into the flesh .

2. Marinate for at least 30 minutes with tomato ketchup, honey, soya sauce, garlic and ginger paste, salt to taste, a pinch of chilli powder and oil or butter.

3. Transfer all into a "Kadhai" (wok shaped utensil), stir a bit & cover. Let the chicken cook on slow fire so that it cooks in its juices. Once tender, leave on the flame just long enough to dry any excess water.

4. Serve and garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley or coriander.

Another version of the chicken that she would prepare for parties is this:

Taiji’s Quick low fat Sautéed Chicken for parties


1 full chicken cut into 8 pieces

1 tbsp whisked Yoghurt

1 tsp ginger and garlic paste

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

Garam Masala to taste

1 small onion, cut into rings

1 small capsicum, cut into rings

1 tbsp of oil

Salt to taste

To prepare:

The Marination

1. Wash the chicken pieces , preferably the drumsticks , thighs , breast pieces and pierce them with a fork, so the marinade seeps into the flesh.

2. Marinate for 30 minutes with yoghurt , garlic & ginger paste , salt , coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala to taste.

3. Heat the oil. Stir fry the chicken pieces in a " kadhai" till the pieces brown a bit, adding the marinating juices leftover from time to time. Continue till tender.

4. While still hot, add some onion & capsicum rings, cover the kadhai and let it cook for a while on a slow flame.

5. Before serving make sure that the chicken is dry.

6. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander.

Quick and Easy

I will keep cooking these dishes to remind myself of those years when I was cherished and truly loved without expecting to give anything in return...

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