I found this dish in my mother’s recipe book, which she had copied from her grandmother’s. I do not know if this dish is actually made in Calcutta 🙂 My great-grandmother hailed from Thanjavur, and her family were closely related to Vedanayagam Sastriar who was a Samasthana Kavignar (court poet) during King Serfoji II’s reign. I assume this recipe would have come through the court’s cooks as she was unlikely to have come across a Calcutta dish through other channels. It is very easy to prepare. My great-grandmother made this dish with mutton, but I tried it with chicken and found it to be vastly superior to the mutton version. This can be served with Khamiri Roti or Pooris.
The Calcutta Chicken Curry is a high protein high energy dish. The chicken provides 18g of protein and 200 Calories per 100g. The khas khas provides 21g of protein and 525 Calories per 100g. The coconut provides 4g of protein and 644 calories per 100g. The khas khas and coconut are used in much smaller quantities, but still contribute to the energy value of the dish.
- 1 kg Chicken, skinned and cut into medium-sized pieces
- 1 large Onion, diced
- 3 sprigs Curry Leaves
- 1 tsp Lime Juice
- ¼ C Vegetable Oil
- ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
Grind together (1)
- 6 Green Chillies, deseeded
- 5 cm piece Ginger
- 12-15 Garlic Cloves
- 10 Sambar Onions (Shallots)
- 1 T Coriander Powder
Grind together (2)
- 4 tsp Khas Khas (Poppy Seeds), soaked in hot water for an hour
- ¾ C Coconut scrapings
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan.
- Add the onion and fry till translucent.
- Add the ground masala (1), turmeric powder, and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir and fry till a nice aroma arises.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat well.
- Fry for a short time. Add 2 cups of water and the salt.
- Cover the vessel, and boil on low heat till the chicken is cooked.
- Add the ground masala (2), stir gently without breaking the chicken pieces and boil for 5 minutes.
- Add the curry leaves and lime juice, and remove from heat. Serve hot.
- Soaking khas khas in hot water helps to soften the seeds and makes it easy to get a smooth paste from grinding.
- Grind the khas khas and coconut scrapings together. If the mixture is not smooth, add a tablespoon of water and grind again. I pulse these in my mixie/blender for 10 seconds at speeds 1, 2, and 3.