For this endeavor I actually had an idea and a recipe. Chicken Machni is an Indian or Pakistani dish that I have had a couple of times and I have quite enjoyed. Though of course a few of the times I had Indian or Pakistani friends telling me "that's not how it really is..."
So I really have no clue how chicken machani is really supposed to taste! I have had, however, some excellent food made by Sufian-Bahi's wife who is one of the best cooks I know, so I know how good Indian food is supposed to taste. She even taught me how to make daal ka paratha which is my absolute favorite! Unfortunately I never learned how to make other foods from her, which is one of my major regrets!
So I hatched a plan to make some tasty chicken and gravy dish "like I had at Sufian-Bahi's house" knowing full well I had no idea how to do it. I surfed online looking for a recipe that called for things I had in stock (as I'm on a budget!) and mentally went through all the things I knew about food.
Cooking was kind of fun. I spent most of the time reading the ingredients and instructions and looking at what I had infront of me, making many, many decisions on the fly. "I dont need a whole box of butter! Good lord! I need more cilantro! I'm out of milk.... Ooh! Powdered milk, and it's organic: score! I don't really have gravy yet, thank you, cousin, for the cornstarch to thicken it up."
And on and on. Finally at the end of it I had something that wasn't too hot and spicy so my cousin could eat it, but something I found uber flavorful. And it certainly wasn't chicken machani, but it really tasted like Indian chicken I have had before. I was going to make alo paratha with it, but I was just tired by the end of it and broke out the insta-rice.
Maybe next time I will have all fresh ingredients too. I like cooking well on a budget.