Monday, September 15, 2014

Chicken Chaap / Chicken Chanp

I love histories behind food. They make such a lovely background and I keep wondering how an accidental recipe or addition of a typical ingredient slowly became famous and then became a norm. Interesting..right??
When I first made my attempt to make Chicken Chanp/chaap I read its story for the first time. I made this a number of times, sometimes just to have a devouring dish or sometimes for a small get together in our home. Every time I make this Chicken Chaap/Chanp it brings back my Biriyani memory of Kolkata. As much as I loved KFC, I loved Biriyani as well...and Biriyani is never complete without Chicken Chaap/ Chanp. A slow cooked chicken leg or breast piece with a tasty and velvety gravy with oil floating on top of it..its a sight..we Bengalis know how tempting it is!!
Mughals brought their rich food culture in India which slowly became an important part of the Indian cuisine and in many ways it influenced the local dishes as well. It was the Mughal effect that lead to the use of nuts, saffron, mace and cream in making dishes. It was during the early British ruling period that the Nawab Of Awadh came to Bengal to live permanently. He was a grat patron of food and brought with him many cooks with divine cooking skills and great knowledge. Mainly because of his influence Mughlai food became popular in Bengal and gave birth to a new fusion.

Chicken Chaap/Chanp basically a Mughlai dish, found its recognition in Bengal. Compared to other states and region, this particular dish has found its niche and desired fame in Bengal. My memory of this dish started from college days when I was allowed to go there with my friends. And eating out always meant Biriyani for me. There are a lot of restaurants in Kolkata who serves great Chicken Chaps. Arsalan, Aminia, Rahmania, Alya are just to name a few. Previously they were all centered around Park Circus, but gradually they started opening their branches in South and North Kolkata, giving an opportunity to all the Kolkatans to have a taste of their lovely aromatic dishes. But in Abidjan, there is only one Indian restaurant "Delhi Darbar", and the quality of the food is really crap!!! So, there is only my kitchen left, where I can depend and hope for some good food. In that hope, I made Chicken Chaap/Chanp. I hope, you enjoy it as well.

Chicken Chaap / Chicken Chanp
Serves 3


  • 2 large chicken legs / 750 gm of chicken
  • 1 large onion /2 medium onion - paste
  • 5-6 large garlic cloves - paste
  • 3 inch ginger stick - paste
  • 1 and 1/2 cup yogurt - beaten
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 2 inch 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 whole start anise
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 small nutmeg and 1 mace - grind to a fine powder
  • 1/4 cup cashew and 2 tbsp poppy seed - make a fine paste using a little water
  • 2 tsp kewra water
  • 2 tsp rose water
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup ghee/oil
  • Marinate the chicken with yogurt, onion paste, ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, kewra essence, rose water, nutmeg and mace powder and garam masala powder for 3 to 4 hours, preferably in the fridge. If you are in a hurry, marinate for at least 30-45 minutes.
  • After marination, heat the ghee in a pan and the green cardamom, cinnamon sticks, cloves, start anise and black peppercorns. Sauté a little allowing the ghee to be fragrant.
  • Take the chicken pieces from the marinating paste, taking off the excess marination paste from the pieces and put it into the ghee. Fry the chicken pieces, flipping to another side after 5-7 minutes, until they become golden from both the sides.
  • Now add the kept aside marinating paste. Coat the chicken pieces evenly with the marinating paste and cover to let it cook.
  • When the gravy starts bubbling add the cashew and poppy seed paste. Mix and let it cook again.  Do not add water. The chicken, yogurt and onion paste will release enough water to cook the chicken itself. However if you are using a little chicken add a little water when you see the masalas are starting to stick to the bottom of the pan. Do not add excess water. By doing that you will compromise with the flavor the dish.
  • Cook in this way until oil starts to ooze out and starts floating on top of the gravy.
  • Serve hot with Biriyani.:)


  1. I came across your blog while looking for some Indian food recipes and liked a lot. How amazing! I will keep an eye out for all your recipes :)

  2. Thanks a lot for your feedback and I am glad that my work has been able to help you...