I have a few friends who have, knowingly or unknowingly, introduced me to some of the most amazing food items ever. It’s pretty strange because usually I’m the one to tag people along to newly-opened restaurants and order the most offbeat items on the menu. But then exceptions are everywhere. One of them is N (who blogs at The Bong Kitchen). Now N and I date back from a time before either of us was born. Our mothers went to college together and they still remain fast friends. As a result a lot of my childhood was spent in her house building blocks and playing doll’s house. But very soon they left Calcutta and ever since then N has lived all over the world. N and I share a common love for food, books and sarees (in fact she has accompanied me to buying my most expensive saree EVER). When N decided to get married in November 2011, I was super pepped about the food that’ll be served at the wedding. It was the first wedding that I attended which was catered by 6 Ballygunge Place. And it was the first day that I tasted their Gondhoraj Chicken. I was bowled, I was totally mesmerised. I instigated my friends to get married and book them as caterers. And for the last 3 years I waited and waited to attend another wedding where I would pick up the shredded chicken pieces by handfuls and shove them in my mouth.
And that opportunity came to me this February in my friend A’s wedding. A comes from a food family. Every single meal that I’ve had at her place is etched in my memory. Her erstwhile cook P di was a phenomenal cook and all of us used to literally worship her. I was eagerly waiting for A’s wedding as I knew that apart from meeting up with old friends, I would also get to fulfil my dormant wish of biting into that Gondhoraj Chicken again. And boy, did I not live up to the occasion! I stuffed myself so much with the GC that by the time we sat for dinner there was hardly any room left in my tummy. I did eat everything though (yes, I’m a glutton like that!)
A’s was the last wedding of the season and I had again relegated myself to the idea of waiting till next year for somebody’s wedding when I stumbled upon Anwesha’s blog Peanuts on the Road, where propelled by exactly the same reason she had put up a recipe of Gondhoraj Chicken. It got me excited again and this time I decided waiting an entire year for 6 Ballygunge Place was too much to ask for. And holy heck, a few days on it sat on my dinner table! Gondhoraj is a typically Bengali lime which is difficult to get anywhere other than Bengal. You can substitute it with Kaffir limes. I couldn’t find Gondhoraj leaves, so used the zest. Also, I added a little garlic juice to the marinade and shallow fried the chicken. And the outburst of flavours, the zing of the lime and the subtlety of the salt and pepper completely left me craving for more.
Serves: 5-6 (as starters)
Chicken (boneless), cut into medium sized pieces: 500 gm
Gondhoraj Lime/Kaffir Lime: Juice of 3, zest of 2
Garlic juice: 1 tbsp
Salt: to taste
Pepper: 1 tsp
Cornflour: 1 tbsp
Vegetable Oil: 4-5 tbsp
1. Marinade the chicken pieces with everything listed as ingredients other than the oil and refrigerate for 4-5 hours or overnight.
2. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and when it starts to splutter add the chicken pieces one by one along with the marinade. Fry covered on medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning now and then. Uncover and stir on high heat for another 5 minutes till golden brown, crispy on the sides and completely dry. Fry in batches, otherwise all the chicken together will drop the temperature of the oil. You may also choose to deep-fry, for which you’ll need more oil of course!
3. Drain on a kitchen towel, sprinkle some more lime juice on top and serve hot. I had mine with rice and masoor dal in the first instance and garlic bread in the second.
Eat Like a Bong: Day 9
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