Monday, November 7, 2016

Goalondo Murgir Jhol

Referring dishes with their name of its origin is a popular way of giving a dish a new name owing to its particular flavour and taste. Like railway mutton curry, dak bunglow chicken curry and Madras club Qorma...goalondo steamer curry or goalondo murgir jhol also got its name from its place of origin. Goalondo is a small ferry station in Bangladesh, situated at the confluence of Padma and Brahmaputra, which in the pre-independence era was used as a hub for the people travelling to East Bengal, Assam or Burma. It was an overnight journey and the chicken curry cooked by the Muslim Boatmen was served to the passengers during the course, which later became famous as Goalondo Steamer Curry.

how to make Goalondo Murgir Jhol recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

A rustic chicken preparation with thin red curry and oil floating on top was made with basic ingredients but still the tales of Bengal roars with emotion that, that chicken curry was the finest of all. Asking my Bangladeshi relatives even came of no help...and most of the Bangladeshi bloggers term this curry as a village style chicken curry made with minimalist ingredients which is spicier than the regular chicken curries. I came across Pritha Sen’s article that got published in Times of India and her post on a FB foodie group...where she shared the secret of that unique rustic flavour.

how to make Goalondo Murgir Jhol recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Fry the potatoes until golden and then keep them aside.
how to make Goalondo Murgir Jhol recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the chopped onions to the remaining oil.
how to make Goalondo Murgir Jhol recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the prepared ginger-garlic and red chilli paste.
how to make Goalondo Murgir Jhol recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Stir and cook them until the onions turn golden.
how to make Goalondo Murgir Jhol recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the chicken pieces to them and fry the chicken until they change their colour. Add water and cook on low flame until the chicken is half cooked. Add potatoes and cook until the chicken is tender and the curry is thin with the oil floating on top of it.
If you have ever been on the steamers across the Ganges in Bengal, specifically will see the small fishing boats scattered around the river. If you are lucky enough to pass a boat when the men are cooking in a small stove inside that boat you will know how they cook and what it feels like. Under the open sky and with almost anything that they come across which can be used in cooking. Basically these curries are very rustic and spicy with a red tinge in the colour of the curry. The garlic and gingers are also not very finely minced or made into a paste. They are just roughly pounded which in Bengali we call “chyacha”. According to Pritha Sen’s recipe the curry makes the most of dry red chillies, mustard oil, fish sauce and dried prawn paste. Dry red chillies are abundantly used in any Bangladeshi dish whereas mustard oil is a staple among Bengali households. Dry red chillies are hassle free to carry which was their first priority as they will not wilt and stay put for a long time. The dried shrimp paste is also useful to carry in the water as they will not rot. So...when deconstructed...the recipe gives a full view of what they with only the necessities. And sometimes you see...less is more.

Goalondo Murgir Jhol
Serves 4-5

1 kg chicken on bone
1 onion - finely chopped
2 medium potatoes – peeled and halved
6 garlic cloves
4-5 dry red chillies
½ inch ginger
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp dried prawn paste / powder
2-3 tbsp pure virgin mustard oil

Marinate the chicken pieces with salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and fish sauce for about 1 hour.
Make a paste of the garlic, ginger and dry red chillies.
In a kadai heat the mustard oil and shallow fry the potatoes until golden. Then take them out of the kadai and keep aside.
Add the chopped onions to the remaining oil.
Add the prepared garlic-ginger and dried red chilli paste to them. Stir and cook until the onions turn golden.
Add the marinated chicken and mix them nicely with the masalas.
Fry the chicken pieces on medium flame until they change their colour. It will take around 3-5 minutes.
Add 2 and half cups of water and cover the kadai with a plate or lid.
Simmer on low to medium flame until the chicken pieces are half cooked.
Add the fried potatoes and the prawn paste / powder to them and make sure that the prawn paste / powder is nicely mixed with the curry.
Cover again and cook until the chicken is nice and tender from the inside.
This curry should have a soupy thin red curry with oil floating on top of it.
So adjust the water according to that.
If the curry has become thicker while cooking add some water and simmer until the curry has the right consistency and if the curry is already thin then simmer until you have the right consistency.
Once the chicken is cooked and the gravy is right, taste and adjust the seasonings.

Switch off the flame and serve hot with steamed hot rice with lime wedges and fresh sliced onions.

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