Ashwin is now 7.5 months old and he is growing fast. He has started crawling, standing up and squeals with delight when he sees us after his nap or when R comes home from work. While everyone is happy for us, they are also concerned about our, “open adoption”. I decided to talk about it a little bit. A few questions we get asked
1. Do you “have” to keep in touch with Ashwin’s birth family?
Yes, that is a choice we made. In our opinion, Ashwin needs to know where he came from. And it is only healthy that we talk about it openly.
2. Are you not uncomfortable when they meet Ashwin?
Absolutely not. We are happy that Ashwin gets to meet them, while he may not understand it now. He will cherish the pictures and memories we have for him. His birth parents have given us a blessing, why should we be uncomfortable?
3. Is all this good for Ashwin?
We are doing what we think is best for him. Only time will tell, but from the research we have done, we think it is good for him.
4. So who are his parents? Where are they from?
While we say open adoption, it means open among us – Ashwin, us and his birth parents. We want to respect their privacy.
This was the analogy I gave my friend when I was explaining about open adoption. When we tell a child, don’t go into that room or don’t touch that- the child only wants to touch or go into that room more than he ever wanted. But if you let the child into the room or touch a particular object, his curiosity is satiated and he will not sneak behind your back to see what is in that room. That is exactly how adoption is. If you want to keep his birth parents info from him, he will wonder why and want to know more. It is his right to know about them, Period!
Every adoption situation is unique and we have been extremely lucky that we are able to have this open relationship.
Now what does all this have to do with Chicken Biriyani? This is what I cooked when Ashwin’s birth father came to visit. It was a success I think. It definitely was on the spicy side. If you are looking for a quick recipe, you should stop reading further on. This is time consuming, but well worth the effort. You know what, make an extra batch and freeze it.
Chicken thighs – 1 lb ( can be boneless or with bone in) cut into 1-2 inch bite size pieces
Cilantro – ¼ cup, roughly chopped
Ginger – 1 T, minced
Garlic – 4-5 pods
Yogurt – 1/3 cup
Cloves – 1
Green Cardamom – 4
Green chillies – 4 (Serrano or thai)
Salt to taste
Basamati rice– 2 cups
Cardamom – 3
Star Anise – 1
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Cloves – 3
Saffron – 1 tsp
Milk – ¼ cup ( warm)
Oil – 3 T + 2 T
Red onions – 2, thinly sliced
Cashew nuts – 2 T
Bay Leaf – 1
Cilantro – 2 T, chopped
Mint – ½ cup
Fennel seeds 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Tomato paste – 3 T
Salt – to taste
- Grind all the items marked, ‘to grind” to a smooth paste and add it to the chicken. Let it marinate for at least an hour to overnight in the refrigerator. Easy tip : add everything in a zip lock freezer bag, and it’s easy to mix without making a mess
- Heat oil in a sauté pan and cook until the onions are caramelized. Cook it on medium low.
- Add rest of the ingredients and sauté for a minute or two on medium low and set aside.
- While the onions are cooking, cook the rice
- Heat a large pot with water and when the water comes to a boil add whole spices and rice. Cook until the rice is done. ( cook rice like you cook pasta)
- Drain all water and set the rice aside with the whole spices.
- Heat 2 T of oil in a Dutch oven or a heavy bottomed pan with a lid
- Sauté the marinated chicken until it is almost done. Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving a little bit on the bottom
- Add a layer of cooked rice and over it the onion mixture, repeat until all the chicken, onion and mixture and rice is over.
- Add saffron to the warm and slowly drizzle that over the rice
- Cover the pan with a moist towel and then cover with a lid and cook on very low heat for 20 minutes
- Serve warm with raitha