Friday, August 5, 2016

Sylheti Chicken Curry

Although my mother and my late grandmother had a strong Bangladesh connection, I never ever went to Bangladesh. I grew up only listening to their “Bangal Bhasha” in home and eating their excellent food. They belonged to Dhaka and they used so say so many things and some local proverbs about different places of Bangladesh. One that I remember vividly was about the place “Borishal”, and the saying was like “aayite shal jaite shal, tar e naam borishal”, which literally meant the people of Borishal liked to trouble others. About Sylhet they said, their language was distinct. Only a sylheti could understand what another sylheti is saying. But now when I listen to a proper Banglal Bhasa, I can’t understand even that also!!

how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

That said enough...sylhet is popular for their yummy cuisine as well...which comprise mainly of chicken, rice and meat. Very spicy and heavy use of onions and garlic...is their speciality. I was searching for the recipe of Goalondo Chciken Curry, when somewhere in the comment section I found this recipe. This recipe is as good, as it can get. The magic trick is the addition of garlic in the end, which makes all the difference, and gives just another rustic regional chicken curry a drastic makeover!!

how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures


Step by step process:

how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Make a paste using some garlic cloves, ginger and the dry red chillies.
how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Marinate the chicken with this paste, chopped / sliced onions, turmeric powder, salt, vinegar / lime juice and mustard oil.
how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Heat the oil and fry some pounded garlic cloves.
how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the marinated chicken and cook covered until all the moisture evaporates.
how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Then add water and cook covered again until you have soft and tender chicken pieces.
how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Simmer until you have the right consistency and then add the paste of the remaining garlic paste. Mix and simmer for a minute and then put off the flame.

Sylheti Chicken Curry
Serves 6

how to make Sylheti Chicken Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

Ingredients:
1 kg chicken on bone
3 onions – finely chopped / sliced
1 head of garlic / 12-15 fat garlic cloves
1 inch ginger – minced
6 green chillies – paste
2 tsp turmeric powder
¼ cup of pure virgin mustard oil
2-3 tsp vinegar / juice of 1 lime
Salt

Method:
Make a fine paste using all the dry red chillies, 4 garlic cloves and the ginger.
In a big bowl take all the chicken pieces and add in the turmeric powder, salt, vinegar / lime juice, half of the mustard oil, vinegar and the prepared dried red chilli paste.
Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes to one hour.
Take 4-5 garlic cloves and roughly pound them with mortar and pestle.
Heat the remaining oil in a pan / kadai and add the pounded garlic in it.
Sauté the garlic on low flame until lightly brown and then add the marinated chicken into it.
Put cover and cook on low to medium flame until all the moisture is evaporated.
Now add 2-3 cups of water, because this curry generally has very thin gravy.
Put cover again and cook until the chicken becomes soft and tender.
Stir every 3-4 minutes, so that nothing can stick to the bottom of the pan /kadai.
When the chicken is cooked, open the lid and simmer on medium flame until the curry has your desired consistency with oil floating on top of it.
Take the rest of the garlic cloves and makes a smooth paste of it.
Add this garlic paste to the curry and gently stir to mix well.
Simmer for another one minute and put off the flame.

Serve hot with steamed hot rice.

5 comments:

  1. Dearest Subrata, thank you for this recipe. I have been following your blog from California for a very long time and really enjoy the step-by-step directions and regional differences you explore. I had to comment to ask where you found this recipe because I am half Sylheti (other half of Khulna) and have never seen a Sylheti recipe where the piyaj is not first browned and the spices not koshano. I am totally intrigued! I have tasted a delicious Sylheti torkari sans garam masala, but not jeera and dhone. It was my understanding that Sylheti recipes are known for cooking down their spices for quite some time. I am definitely going to try this recipe. Gorgeous color. ~Mohua

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  2. Hello Mohua, First of all thanks a lot for all the kind words and your appreciation. Yes you are right that "koshano" is an integral part of Sylheti Cuisine, that is what I also knew and most of the recipes that I have seen so far adhere to that process. I have seen this particular recipe in a foodie group in Fb called Sikandilious Cuisine. Pritha Sen described this recipe in the comment section of a discussion. She said she got this recipe from an aunt who resided in Sylhet. In many discussions a lot of people described a sylheti chicken curry which has fried flakes of garlic and had a pungent garlic flavour. This recipe has that exact smell and everything.As we all know every household has their own versions of recipes...and this might be a case like that. But I would love to know about your version of Sylheti curry.Do share if you can. Love and regards...Poulami (Subrata is my husband whose email I have used for the blog.)

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  3. Well, isn't that embarrassing - thank you, Poulami. :)

    I will definitely check out the group. I am just starting to really get into deshi cooking, but have figured out that that the regional differences tend to be in the formula of spices and order of things. Ex: Khulna - 1 part jeera to 2 parts dhone vs. Sylhet - ~1.5 parts jeera to 2 parts dhone plus addition of paprika... Chilies at the end vs. with the onions... Lots of cilantro in Sylheti cooking.

    I do not know how to write recipes despite trying in vain to learn by watching and writing (deshi teaspoons are not really teaspoons), but I can certainly try to share the Sylheti chicken torkari I was taught. One caveat - I cook with significantly less oil than what is traditionally used, so I add my tomatoes to the spice paste as you do instead of adding it with the green chilies. It does change the taste of the curry slightly, but I don't like adding water to my spice paste with this recipe.

    1 kg. chicken on bone
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    1 small head of garlic, minced (about 1/4 c.)
    3 T. ginger, grated
    2-3 smaller tomatoes, chopped (I use 2 roma)
    2 heaping t. coriander powder
    1.3 heaping t. cumin powder
    1 t. turmeric
    1 t. chili powder
    1 t. paprika
    8 green cardamom pods, crushed
    6 cloves
    2" piece cinnamon, broken into pieces
    2-3 bay leaves
    1 t. sugar
    2 green chilies (I use 2 large serranos, quartered)
    veg or canola oil
    cilantro

    Fry onions in enough oil to brown lightly (3-4 T. usually). Add ginger and garlic, fry until fragrant, and add the ground spices. Stir until spices are well coated in the oil and add tomatoes and crush/stir tomatoes to create a paste (~3 min). After the tomatoes and spices have come together (you will smell the dhone), add chicken, and then cook uncovered until water is released. Add water to almost cover, whole garam masala, and salt, stir, and cover for about 20-30 min, stirring occasionally. Add sugar, salt to taste, green chilies, and cook uncovered for 5-10 min. Remove from heat and sprinkle chopped cilantro over top.

    I married into a family from Rajshahi/Pabna fairly recently, so I'll be sure to share if I find anything really special.

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    Replies
    1. And, I'm sorry for writing you a novel!!!

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    2. Hello Mohua, fret not...as a tale of a recipe or food is no lesser than a novel. So I am glad that you have written me a novel! I will definitely try this recipe and share my experience here on the blog. Hope to hear more from you soon of more recipes and your journey towards "deshi cooking"!!

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