This dish doesn’t evoke any particular memory in me. It is not associated with my childhood, it doesn’t bring in its wake the smell of Pujo, neither is it something that anybody I know has ever cooked. The only memory I have of this dish dates not even a week back. One random evening, when I opened Facebook I was bombarded with five pictures — pictures of Murgi-r Bhorta from different angles and in different get ups. My blogger friend Priyadarshini (of Let’s talk Food) had cooked up this delight from Opaar Bangla and was now luring us with pictures. Apparently this is a dish that Kasturi (a Bangladesh speciality restaurant) is famous for. I’ve never been to Kasturi, so I didn’t have a benchmark as to how the end product should taste. And that is something out of which I get a huge kick…when you don’t know how you want your dish to taste, but just go with the flow..and most of the times are pleasantly surprised with the outcome. 🙂
Now I already had my Eat Like a Bong itinerary chalked out. I had made a precise list of all that I wanted to cook and write about over the next 30 days, and anything that I wanted to cook apart from the items on my list should technically wait for a month. But no! The impulse to cook this was too much to resist. I was lucky that this this was a Bengali food item and immediately I sat with my list, struck off one item and decided that I must include this in my Pujo special series. And thank God I did that, because I don’t think I ever need to go to Kasturi to have the real deal!
Recipe adapted from Priyadarshini’s Let’s Talk Food (find original recipe here)
Chicken keema/minced chicken: 800 gm
Onion paste: 4 tbsp
Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Ginger paste: 1.5 tbsp
Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
Red chili powder : 2 tsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Cumin powder: 1.5 tbsp
Coriander powder: 2 tbsp
Vinegar: 4-5 tbsp
Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
Salt, to taste
Sugar: 1 tsp (optional)
Besan (Bengal gram flour): 1 tsp
Green chillies, chopped finely: 5-6
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped: 2 generous handfuls
Mustard oil: 4 tbsp + for drizzling
1. In a blender, pulse the chicken into a fine paste. Do this in batches please. I tried blending the entire quantity together and the mixer had started emanating a strange smokey smell.
2. Marinate the finely pasted chicken with onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, mustard oil, vinegar, salt and sugar (if using). Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight. As always i kept it overnight.
3. Allow a heavy-bottomed pan to heat up. Once it is hot, add the marinated chicken along with the liquid marinade. On high heat mix well, bring to a boil and then cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
4. After 10 minutes, remove cover and continue cooking on medium heat. The juices should gradually dry up. Now add the chopped green chilies and coriander leaves. Mix well with the chicken mixture and continue to cook on medium heat till oil separates. Keep frying for the next 30-40 minutes to allow the chicken to dry up as much as possible.
5 You may sprinkle a few drops of water now and then if it gets stuck to the bottom of the pan, but I didn’t need to.
6. Just before you’re going to turn off the heat, add the besan and mix well.
7. Drizzle some mustard oil and serve hot with plain rice.