There is a very famous traditional Muslim restaurant in one corner of Old Esplanade in Kolkata where I first tasted Chicken Chaap as a side dish to the most authentic flavoursome Biriyani. One of my friends threw a treat in celebration of her b'day in Aaminia giving me an opportunity to enjoy the most luscious plate of Mughlai cuisines ever. Aaminia, though famous for its food, is very simple in presentation, devoid of flamboyance and hence might lose out to the fashionable trendy restaurants offering a perfect cozy environment to their patrons. Unless you are a stickler for fancy decor in an eatery, you might like to have a dining experience in Aaminia which has an old appeal of traditional Kolkata.
I have prepared the Chicken Chaap in a traditional Mughlai way. But as opposed to the traditional Mughlai preparation, I have used minimal ghee in proportion to my taste bud. So you may adjust the same according to your palate.
Ingredients: Cooking time: 1 hour
ü 750 gm chicken (on the bones, large size breast and leg pieces)
ü 1 onion
ü 1 heaped tbsp ginger-garlic paste
ü 5-6 green chillies
ü 1 tbsp kashmiri red mirch
ü 3 tbsp yogurt
ü 3 tbsp poppy seeds
ü 2 tbsp melon seeds or charmagaz
ü 3 tbsp cashew nuts
ü 3 tbsp grated coconut
ü 1 tsp garam masala powder
ü Salt to taste
ü 1 tbsp caraway seeds or shahi jeera powder
ü 1 tsp rose water
ü 2 tbsp lime juice
ü White oil
ü 2 green cardamoms
ü 5 cloves
ü 1 inch cinnamon stick
ü 1 bay leaf
1) Grind onion and green chillies into fine paste. Keep aside.
2) Marinate the chicken with salt, lime juice and ginger-garlic paste. Place it in the refrigerator for an hour.
3) Grind poppy seeds, melon seeds, cashew nuts and coconut into fine paste. Transfer it into a mixing bowl, Add yogurt, kashmiri red mirch and shahi jeera powder into it. Further add rose water into it. Combine well. You will need this masala paste while cooking.
4) Heat oil in a wok. When oil turns smoking hot, add the ingredients for sauté and allow them to sizzle.
5) Next add the chicken pieces and brown them a bit on all sides. When they are browned, scrape out the remaining marinade from the bowl and add into the chicken.
6) Add onion and green chilli paste. Saute the chicken for 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
7) Then add the masala paste and mix it well with the chicken. Cook covered on low heat for 30 minutes. Chicken will release sufficient water to get itself cooked in it. However, if in case the curry becomes dry, add boiling water in small measure to the chicken. Stir sporadically to prevent the chicken from burning at the bottom.
8) When chicken is tender, sprinkle garam masala powder and add ghee. (I added 1 tsp of ghee, you may add it according to your taste bud. Ghee adds to the taste, so you are allowed to be liberal with it.)
9) Simmer away for 1 minute before turning off the flame.
10) Serve hot with biriyani, paratha, rumali roti or simple chapati.