My Rustic Chicken
This is a rustic dish. A simple dish. The key is the preparation method for the chicken. This is how spices were prepared and used in villages. Only here I’ve used a food processor rather than the traditional stone grinder used back home. Its called a Shil Batta/Nora.
My shoulders are buggered but otherwise I would have happily blended it the traditional way including using fresh turmeric I always have in the fridge.
I remember watching family members making the spice pastes in villages in Assam and at times I would blend the spices during my visits the old fashioned village way.
This recipe was born out of trying to replicate those methods with some adjustments to take into account current lifestyle, family and geography!
Its a punchy spicy number. If its done properly and bhuna-ed over a good length of time, the taste developed is intense and full of flavour but it does need the real thorough lengthy bhuna period otherwise you will have a raw pungent smelling sauce.
This is a thick sauce, it should be clinging to the chicken. Rich and aromatic when finished. My kitchen smelt tantalising. Enough so that my middle daughter who is off chicken commented she was going to have some sauce with rice. It had lured her!
I hope it does you too!
To Make Spice Paste:
1 large tomato (diced)
1/2 a small red onion or shallot diced
8 garlic cloves
5 green chillies
1 inch fresh ginger
10 black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
4 dried red chillies
To Make Rustic Chicken:
3-4 Tbsp Oil
2 Tej patta/bay Leaves
3 dry red chillies
2 onions finely (sliced)
2 tsp salt
1 whole baby chicken
Above spice paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 tbsp tomato puree
Pinch of cardamom powder
Pinch of cinnamon powder
Firstly make the spice paste. Put all the paste ingredients into a mixer and blend to a smooth paste.
Next in a karai add your oil and then the red chillies, bay leaves into the oil till little darker then add sliced onions and cook till crispy and caramel.
Now add the spice paste, turmeric, salt and cook till oil splits. Then add the tomato puree.
This is the important phase. You really need to cook out the ingredients in the paste. Do this by adding splashes of water and letting the oil separate each time. This is the bhuna-ing phase and needs to be done till the spices start to lose the rawness. You will smell the difference when it gets to that stage, mellow and caremalised with a fragrant spiced aroma as opposed to the raw onion paste. You should not have any raw undertones.
Now add the chicken and continue to bhuna both the chicken and spices covered on low heat till the chicken is 80% cooked. The chicken will release some juices but add splashes of water if needed. Do not let it catch or burn.,
Now add a cup of water, cover and simmer till the chicken is cooked and you have a thick sauce.
Garnish with pinch of cinnamon and cardamom powder, stir and serve with rice or roti.
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