Sunday, 27 November 2016

Bengali Chicken Stew

These days, I am busy with two things. Other than admiring the weather, that is.
One, completing all my half done knitting projects. I just completed a baby blanket for a cousin's newborn. And am almost done with another poncho .... just the final sewing and finishing is to be done.
You can check out both on my handiwork blog .... soon.
Two, wading through the few thousands of photos to select, edit and put up along with my writings on my travel blog.
A mammoth task ... I tell you. What with three phone devices and one camera, it is not an easy job.
I just hope I will be able to round up and start writing before the feel of the trip wears out.
And I lose my mojo to write about it.

As far as the weather goes, it is getting beautiful by the day. We are getting a good winter this year.
Pune has seen temperatures as low as 10 and 9 degrees already.
And we are getting beautiful sunsets too.
I can smell the lovely smell of winter when I step out into the balcony after dusk.
Clear skies; bright, warm sun make the day. And the sudden cool just after sunset, mixed with the smell of leaves and dry air and earth and smoke from afar .... all make up that nostalgic, beautiful smell of winter.
I am planning some Bori and achar sessions soon. Let's hope the sun stays this warm for now.

Winter was setting in in the US of A too, when I was there recently.
As you step outdoors, the sharp, very clean air hits you and almost takes your breath away for the first few seconds. You breathe in and the sharp cold reaches the very insides of you.
Freshens you up like never before.
But you cannot smell winter.
Everything is sharp, clean, clear. And antiseptic kind of cold.
I am so glad to be back and take in our winter to the fullest .... complete with all kinds of fresh vegetable parathas and achars and stews and soups, et all.
Yes, I am a desi to the core.

Winter memories from my childhood come loaded with the smells and flavours of all kinds of food too.
While, at Dadu's (grandpa ) house it meant numerous kinds of pithe that Thamma (grandma ) made, at our house Ma had her own signature dishes.
Like the different kinds of soups and salads and mutton roast and her signature Russian salad. I hope to make a post on it this winter. On other days, there would be the Soru chakli pithe with a light potato curry. And the Luchi and ghugni at other times.

But my most favourite breakfast memory is of sitting outside in the lawn with a book, the sun on my back, along with my cousins visiting for the holidays. Ma would make poached eggs with lots of butter and crisp, toasted and buttered bread for breakfast. Along with would be a mug of hot chocolate.
How I loved that breakfast!
How I loved those mornings!

This light, Indianised chicken stew is another of Ma's creations that we loved. It has all the fresh root vegetables that are available in winters. And some fresh green peas too.
And while it does have the masalas like ginger and garlic and some garam masalas, this is not a jhol per se. Which means it goes better with bread than with rice.
But of course, you can try pairing it with some buttered and herbed rice and see how it goes.

The light, soupy gravy is redolent with the flavours of garlic and garam masala, perfect to keep you warm during the cold months of winter.
Works wonders for the months of rains too, as it turns pretty cold here.
Great to soothe the soul if you have a sore throat or the sniffles ... in which case do use big sized
bony pieces ... the juice from the bones are the real medicine.
Extremely warming, comforting with all the goodness and the healing properties of chicken, this stew is perfect to deal with the change in weather.

Need :

Chicken pieces with bones - 500 gms
Curd / Yoghurt - 1 cup
( if you do not have curd, use lemon juice or vinegar )
Black cardamom - 2 pieces
Cloves - 3 pieces
Cinnamon - a small piece
Whole black pepper - ½ tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Ginger paste + garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Fresh vegetables - I used potatoes, carrots, french beans and green peas
Fresh green chillies - 2 pieces
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Cooking oil or Butter - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste
Water - enough to make a runny, soupy gravy

How to :

Marinate chicken with the curd ( or lemon juice or vinegar ).
Keep aside for 15 minutes.

 Heat a heavy bottomed pan or a deep wok / kadahi.

Lower heat and add the oil. Heat it well. 

Now add the black cardamom + cloves + cinnamon + whole black pepper + bay leaf.

Now add the chopped onions and fry till they turn translucent.

Next, add the ginger + garlic paste.
Fry on low heat till the raw smell goes away.

Now add the marinated chicken and stir well.

Add the vegetables

You can use tomatoes too ... I do not.

Add salt + sugar + turmeric and the fresh green chillies.

Give a good stir till everything mixes well together.
Add water.

Cover and cook till chicken is tender and well cooked.
Check for consistency of the gravy ... if it is too thin, dry it up by boiling it on high flame without covering.

You can make it in the pressure cooker too. But I prefer to make this on the stove ... slow cooked.

When done, remove cover and give a sprinkle of lemon juice.
And you are good to go.

Pair this with chunky pieces of bread or rotis.
Makes a fulfilling meal .... either lunch or dinner.

And stay warm all!


  1. এই রেসিপিটা আমার খুব কাজে লাগবে, শর্মিলা। থ্যাংক ইউ।

  2. While reading this recipe, I felt as if you have wrapped me with a warm, snuggly blanket...such is the magic of your words! Welcome back Sharmila...missed you a lot.

  3. Thank you so much for the recipe. I was looking for simple chicken stew and stumbled upon your blog. It looks so delicious and easy. I love using fresh veggies and herbs and let's see what avatar your chicken stew takes in my kitchen. Now, googling all over your blog!!


Thank you for sharing Kichu Khonn( a few moments ) with me in my kitchen!