Monday, 28 December 2009
About the food:
This is a classic Bengali dish, but beware friends, this food is not for weak hearted people. This is a food which is very hot. This uses mustard oil and seeds, which have a strong flavoury smell.For those who do not know, black mustard seeds are much more stronger than the white ones. I recommend, if you are cooking for guests, try it out for yourself sometime earlier, as I don't want to be blamed for your guests crying over the food. But believe me,if you do not mess up the mustard seed proportions, this dish is heaven!
I have a particular experience with cooking this food and messing it up. I was newly married at that time, and was just learning to cook. I invited my cousins to my in-laws' place, and have ventured cooking this dish. The proportion of the mustard seeds has gone horrendously wrong, I used only the black mustard seeds, about 7-8 spoons, instead of about 1 spoons, as far as I remember. The dish looked deliciously rich, with the chicken pieces floating on the mustard sauce.
What happened when everyone started eating was a nightmare.There was a sudden commotion, with someone running for the wash-basin, someone gulping jugs of water, someone crying with their eyes out, and someone chocking.
I was so utterly horrified at the result, that I could not gather myself to cook this dish once more for many years. And the most pathetic part of the story is, it's been more than a decade now, but my in-laws and my cousins never forget what a horrendous cook had I been, despite of so many goods foods I have served them later!
I believe you would definitely not have the same experience. Happy cooking and enjoy the food!
Ingredients (serves 5)
1 kg skinless chicken thighs and legs
3 tbsp Mustard oil/ Vegetable oil
5 big onions, made into paste
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
4 whole green chilli, split through the centre
1 big tomato, finely chopped
1 tspn whole garam masala ( 4 cloves, 4 cardamon pods, 1/2 inch cardamom stick,broken in pieces)
1 1/2 tbsp black mustard seed paste
4 tbsp white mustard seed paste
1 pinch of turmeric
1 tbsp sugar
salt to taste
1. This dish is best prepared with mustard oil. The oil has a very strong smell, which adds the typical mustardy flavour to the dish. But you can go ahead with vegetable oil as well, if you prefer.
For making the mustard pastes, you can mix the black and white seeds together, either dry grind it, and then add a little water to make a paste; or you can wet grind them.
2. Wash and put the chicken pieces in a big bowl. Add the onion, ginger and garlic paste and mix it well. Cover and set it aside for about 1 hour.
3. Heat pan. Pour the oil, and when it smoulders, put the sugar and let it char. It will give a beautiful golden colour to the food. Next add the whole garam masala in the oil and let them crackle. Put the green chillies and fry a little. Put the chopped tomatoes, taking care, as it might splitter. Fry over gentle flame for about a minute.
4. When the tomatoes have formed a gravy, put the marinated chicken into the pan, taking care as it might splitter. Keep the heat low, and keep on frying. It would take about 15-20 mins, depending on the flame. This is the most time taking and crucial part of the cooking. Keep on frying, often tossing and turning the chicken on low heat, until the oil separates out. Add the salt and turmeric.
5.When chicken gets a golden colour, and the oil separates out, add 100ml (1/2 cup) of water. You can add more water later, if the gravy becomes too thick. Cover the pan and simmer for about 20mins, or until the chickens are cooked. Toss and turn the chicken pieces in between to avoid their sticking to the pan.
6.when are chicken are cooked, add the mustard seed pastes to the curry, and mix it well. Let it boil for a minute. your food is done.
7.Pour the curry to a serving tray and enjoy the meal.
Accompaniment: Best served with plain basmati rice.