Monday, April 23, 2012

Chicken Tadka Dal - Dhaba Style

After the Bengali Egg tadka dal turned out to be the most viewed recipe in my blog, among all, I decided to post a few more variations of tadka dal, the kind which is very popular across Kolkata, especially in dhabas of West Bengal.

Chicken tadka dal is one of my favourite items whenever I dine in dhaba. It has that rustic flavour which is very soul-touching. In fact, whenever I visit Kolkata, among all the foods listed to be had during my stay, chicken tadka dal is one of the must-haves. It is one of those items you cannot avail anywhere else other than Kolkata.

Note: In case if anyone does not know what dhaba is, dhaba is that small shack or local restaurant across the highways of Indian states, very popular for serving local cuisines with typical rustic flavour. 

Ingredients:                                                  Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
ü  200 gm boneless chicken (chopped into small pieces)
ü  250 gm of tadka dal or whole green gram
ü  1 large tomato
ü  1 big sized onion
ü  5-6 green chilies or more as per your tolerance
ü  3-4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
ü  1 tsp of ginger paste
ü  2 tsp cumin powder
ü  2 tsp coriander powder
ü  1 tsp nutmeg powder
ü  1 tsp red chilli powder
ü  1 tsp turmeric powder
ü  2 tsp garam masala powder
ü  20 gm of butter
ü  Salt to taste
ü  1 tsp of ghee
ü  1 tsp dried kasuri methi
ü  1/2 cup of chicken stock
ü  White oil for cooking
For sauté:
ü  2 dry red chillies
ü  1 bay leaf
ü  1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1) Soak the dal overnight for at least 6-7 hours before you cook it. Now in a pressure cooker, cook the dal with turmeric powder, butter and 2 cups of water till 1-2 whistles. (Measure the water according to your need for cooking the dal. It should not be over the limit. )
2) Meanwhile, grind tomato, onion and green chilies into a smooth paste.
3) Heat oil in pan. When oil turns hot, add the ingredients for sautéing. Allow them to sputter. Add chopped garlic and brown them a bit before adding the chicken. Shallow fry the chicken. When the chicken is shallow fried, add the onion tomato paste.
4) Also add the spices - cumin powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, nutmeg powder and salt. Add ginger paste also.  Now sauté till oil begins to float on the surface. (Note: sautéing is an important part to make any Indian curry. The taste of a dish depends on it. So please spare some 8-10 minutes for sautéing. Add a bit of water or chicken stock in case the mixture turns dry.)
5) When the spices are well incorporated into the gravy and chicken is tender, pour the dal in. About this time you may add chicken stock again measuring the consistency you want. Since the dish is with thick and dry gravy, the quantity of chicken stock to be added would be minimal.
6) Mix in garam masala powder and kasuri methi. Give the dal a good stir and cook covered on low flame for about 5 minutes.  
7) Finally stir in the ghee and switch off the flame. Serve hot with roti, naan, paratha or rumali roti.

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