I was delighted to get an email the other day from my friend Irving Ong in LA. We're always amused by the ways various cultures translate other group's dishes. Irving is particularly fascinated by Indo-Chinese food. Nearly every Indian regional cookbook has a section dedicated to Indo Chinese recipes, particularly Gobi Manchuria. Now Irving puzzling over the origins of Gobi Manchuria (a great favorite with Indian friends in LA) led to a discussion of another legendary dish, the legendary Chicken '65. Yes, it does sound like a minus third rate poultry-oriented spy flick from the days of go-go boots and beehives.
No one seems to know where Chicken '65 originated, the legends are legion. What does the 65 mean? The year the dish was created? The address of the restaurant where it was first served? The Number of spices in the dish? The number listing the dish on an unreadable menu? Who knows. What I do know is the dish is HUGELY popular and that's not an understatement. Irving told me that it was something that I simply had to try. Karan, Suvi, Shreyas, all sent word from LA, I had to make this dish. I would not regret it.
Easier said than done. Besides all the legends surrounding the dish, the number of recipes for it are equally long. After trawling the internet looking for clues, I finally decided on one that seemed to fit the bill from The Tiffin Box. Straightforward, simple, and above all fast because with all the boxes and wrapping going on around here I don't exactly have time for slow food right now. —Kathy Gori