Recipe by Jabima
As the sun came shining through the windows and casting dramatic shadows on the floor, Jabima began cutting her vegetables and preparing all her ingredients for this meal. We sat on the floor with her as her story tumbled out slowly while the tomatoes and carrot were diced, cauliflower cut, and spices measured and set aside.
Bengali Chicken Chaap
Chicken chaap has become a dish very special and unique to Kolkata. It found it's popularity into Bengali kitchens in the early 1900's as a result of of Mughal influence in this region of India. This dish is characterized by the use of cashews, white poppy seeds and yogurt which creates a thick and creamy sauce.
- 2.2 lbs (1 kg) chicken - cut into large 2-3 inch pieces
- 3 Tbsp chaap masala
- mustard oil (or other vegetable oils)
- 2 Tbsp ginger & garlic paste (approx. 2 half-inch pieces ginger, 4-6 cloves garlic)
- 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to heat tolerance)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1-2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 onion
- 5-6 Indian bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- Cut chicken into large pieces. Jabima made a whole chicken with bone in. Traditionally, this dish is made with the chicken leg, thigh and drumstick still intact. If you choose this route, you will need 4 large chicken legs for this recipe.
- In a large bowl, mix chicken with chaap masala, 1 Tbsp of mustard oil, ginger & garlic paste, red chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and yogurt. Marinate for at a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large pan, add 5-6 bay leaves.
- Add onions and fry until soft.
- Add chicken and all the marinade to the pot or wok and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add 1.5 cups of water and simmer on low or medium for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Cover to cook.
- Season with salt and sugar. Serve with rice, naan, or roti.