I LOVE this time of the year and I also HATE this time of the year. Why so, you might ask ? Come September and I am on a spinning spree socially. It begins with Hubby's Birthday, Pujo, Halloween, Kailpujo, Diwali, loads of other Pujo and parties and parties, rolls on to the Holiday season. Every weekend is booked, tied and we are on an endless rush. I am a party animal so why should I hate this time of the year? Well, these days, I get tired faster. Moreover some of these parties also happen at my residence. And playing host, is also a tiring job, when I cannot sit for long at one place. So I really want time to rush and run by. I start looking at the watch when I go for a party these days. I feel exceptionally drowsy after Bhog has been served at the Pujo. And poor Deb has to tag along, keeping up with the uber hormonal me, trying to fathom my feelings at every step. He had suggested quite coyly that we can skip Kali Pujo, as I am so tired. But I would not even hear that. I have to attend all the social dos.

Parties mean a lot of hors d'oeuvres. One actually gets exposed to a lot of creativity from the kitchen where appetizers are concerned in this festive season. Kebabs, twice baked potatoes, grilled shrimps, stuffed mushrooms continue to be the favorites. I always binge on kebabs so much, that by the time, either I am serving dinner or someone else is, I am already full. I am a  self confessed Kebabo-holic. Often during my Delhi days, I dined on Kebabs and rotis days at a stretch, ordered from the neighborhood Kebab Corner, or picked up from the Jama Masjid area, after work. Needless to say, whenever someone serves up one variation or the other of a Kebab, I am a happy woman. 

It was a party this Summer and my ILs were in town. Lunch was a lengthy affair and MIL wanted to contribute to all that was being cooked by Deb and Moi. She suggested that she would take care of hors d'oeuvres along with her son. Her suggestion: Haryali Chicken Nuggets. A close cousin of Haryali Kebabs, but these were fried, or could even be baked for a healthier version. Interesting. Deb took care of some grapes he was turning into a tasty hors d'oeuvre, to pair with the Chardonnay we were about to serve.Both kinds of hors d'oeuvres flew off the plates even before the wine was over. Being the hostess, I was controlling myself, as to how much I lapped up. The Nuggets  had a very fresh taste. Mint and Cilantro and along with Yogurt, is always such a great combination, for any kind of meat. MIL added some Thai Chilies, Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice to the party. Kicker, absolutely !!!  As MIL was doing the prep work, for the Nuggets, she coyly(not her usual tone, at all) asked me, whether  I would like this recipe, to be featured on my blog. I got the hint. So amidst all the cooking I was doing, I made sure that I documented the steps. She seemed happy and I smiled a smile to myself. Not all was bad at the household that day.


Boneless Skinless Chicken: 1 lb: cubed into 2 inch pieces.
Canola Oil for Frying
Plain Yogurt: 1/2 cup
Lemon Juice: 2 tbsp
Lemon Zest: 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves/Cilantro: 1 1/2  big bunches (which would yield around 1/2 cup of paste)
Mint leaves: 1/2  small bunch
Salt: To taste
Thai Chilies: 2 (according to heat preferences)

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a blender or food processor, adding little or no water. You might have to scrape the sides of the blender and then blend again. The marinade should be a bright green. The proportion of cilantro to mint leaves should be 1: 3, so adjust it to your convenience.

Marinate the chicken, in this mixture, at least for a few hours, or overnight, if possible, in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

If you are planning to fry them, then heat oil, in a pan for deep frying. Let the nuggets come to room temperature, before you start to fry or bake them. That ensures that they are cooked evenly. Fry the nuggets in batches, till they start  changing color to a light golden, on both sides. Over frying them, might make them bitter.

Drain them on paper towels and serve hot.

If you are planning to bake them, then you could bake them on a greased baking tray at 350F in a pre-heated oven. Do not bread the nuggets, as that would mask the subtle notes of the cilantro and mint.

Goes very well with medium to full bodied White Wines.

Bon Appetit !!!