Bengali Five Spice Chicken
(Inspired by Antara's Achari Murgh)
This week our star is Antara of ' Antypasti ' I met Antara in my initial days of blogging It was my first Kolkata Food Bloggers' meet and it was great fun to meet this vivacious person. She runs a travel cum food blog and to me it is quite apparent that she loves the landscape and food from the North East region of India which is very fascinating for someone such as myself who has neither been to the land of the Seven Sisters and has practically no knowledge about the cuisine from North East except for the fact that one gets excellent pork in Meghalaya and as I have learnt from her blog and other food enthusiasts that the entire region makes excellent pork dishes.
Having said that the only time I have been to the North east was way back in 1996 as a child and what I remember is staying at a family friend's house where the grandmother of the house made some excellent dish out of squash which is a type of vegetable.
Anyway moving on to our star of the week. I had initially decided on her Pork curry which was extremely simple and which reminded me of the chicken curry that my friend Elizabeth from Mizoram had prepared for me a long time ago.She is my college friend and when she was studying in Kolkata I had the good fortune of visiting her in her hostel where she made this lip smacking chicken curry and I was extremely surprised when she shared the recipe which hardly contained any spice at all and yet it remains one of the tastiest chicken curries that I have ever tasted. Antara's pork curry is exactly like Elizabeth's chicken curry and so initially I had decided on that but then I am traveling to Delhi for a trip and so I had to opt for some other dish and the Achari Chicken caught my attention mostly because it uses the Bengali five spice and I have never used Bengali 5 spice to make chicken curry and this intrigued me greatly and so I quickly adapted the recipe to suit the ingredients I had at home and the result was lip smacking chicken curry which vanished in no time.
To be fair the way I prepared it makes it appropriate to be taken with Rice but then you can always adapt this to suit your requirements. I wanted it really hot and used a lot of yellow chili power which happens to be my latest obsession.
Do take a look at Antara's Foreign Returned Achari Murgh .
Before I begin let me assure you that the Bengali five spice varies from home to home and while some use cumin seeds others use a local spice 'Rahuni' which has its own unique flavour
400gm chicken with bones (preferably from the leg an thigh)
1 tbsp Bengali five spice( An equal amount of mustard seeds ,Fenugreek seeds, Rahuni , Kalonji and Fennel seeds)
2 tbsp mustard oil (I used spice mustard oil since I always keep a jar of homemade Spice mango mustard oil 'Aaam tel' at home but otherwise the normal mustard oil would do)
1 tbsp smooth ginger garlic green chili paste (I used 2 hot green chili)
2 heaped tsp yellow chili powder or Paprika or Kashmiri red chili powder
Salt as per taste
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp whisked curd
Pinch of turmeric
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
Marinate the chicken with the curd ginger garlic chili paste freshly crushed black pepper and salt for 2 hours. Heat the oil and when it reaches its smoking point reduce the heat and add the 5 spice and once they splutter add the chicken and seal its juices on high heat for 1 minute stirring it constantly and then add the yellow chili powder and a bit of water and cook covered on low heat till the oil separates taste an a salt if required and add the finely chopped cilantro and enjoy it with hot steaming rice.
Reducing the heat once the oil reaches its smoking point ensures that the spice does not get charred