Wednesday 25 January 2017

Bengali-Style Masala Roast Chicken.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Alhamdulillah, finally it's a new recipe!
I've been a little quiet here this past week, because we have had a lot of internet trouble.
It's driven me crazy so please allow me to rant a little about it here. If you want to skip ahead, I won't mind one bit.
Our internet has usually been pretty good but last week, it started going on and off all the time. Like it would be on for two minutes and then off for fifteen. This carried on all day for a few days. So, you can see how it made uploading and posting a blogpost an absolute nightmare. Anyway, we have been in touch with the company who are, Insha Allah, on its case. In the meantime, it's doing this new thing where it's on all day and then goes off around 7pm which means an early night for us all. And, early nights are my new favourite. So  alhamdulillah, for a hidden blessing among all the annoying things.
Internet rant done. Now, onto this Bengali-style masala roast chicken. First off, this is not a traditional oven-baked roast chicken. Instead we marinade our chicken before browning the pieces off really well in hot oil. In the same, now spiced oil, we cook our masala and then add the chicken pieces back in to simmer on the stove until they're cooked.
I've always loved any Bengali food that I've tried. I think it's most definitely an untried cuisine by many and so I will try to post more Bengali recipes in the future. This masala roast chicken, which I adapted from one of my favourite Bengali cooks, is a good introduction to those who've never cooked any Bengali food before. Don't be afraid of the amount of turmeric and green chillies in this chicken. And, be sure to try serving it with chips as we did. So good!

A Simple List of Ingredients:

For the Chicken Marinade:
1. Greek Yoghurt
2. Curry Powder
3. Ground Turmeric
4. Ground Coriander
5. Salt
6. Red Chilli Powder
7. Large Chicken Legs

For the Masala:
1. Vegetable Oil
2. Cinnamon Sticks
3. Bay Leaves
4. Green Cardamoms
5. Onions
6. Garlic
7. Green Chillies
8. Ginger Paste
9. Salt
10. Curry Powder
11. Ground Cumin
12. Ground Coriander
13. Ground Turmeric
14. Red Chilli Powder
15. Water
16. Fresh Coriander

Bismillah, let's begin!

Our first job is to marinade the chicken. I like to mix everything up in a bowl then add to the chicken.

You can use either plain or Greek yoghurt.

So, to the bowl, add in 3 tablespoons Greek Yoghurt.

1 teaspoon Curry Powder

1 teaspoon Ground Turmeric

1 teaspoon Ground Coriander

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder

Once everything is in, mix well.

Then, grab the chicken. I used 4 large Chicken Legs, skinless, on the bone and slit. Ours were on the bigger side so if yours are smaller then adjust the spices as needed. Plus this recipe can also be made with boneless chicken like I did here.

Add in the spiced yoghurt paste.

Using a spoon or with gloved hands, rub the paste into the chicken.

Cover the chicken well and leave to marinade for at least a few hours or overnight.

When you're ready to cook, take a large pan and place it over a medium heat. You'll want a pan that can fit all the chicken pieces. Pour in a good few tablespoons of Vegetable Oil.

Let the oil heat up. You'll want quite a bit to brown the chicken.

Even though this pan can take all the chicken at once, I browned them in batches. We want them to brown well not steam.

So, fry the chicken in batches for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and sealed.

Like this!

Set the chicken aside until needed. I put it back in with the marinade because it will be cooked properly later on.

Next, make the masala. You can add more oil, if needed. 

Then, take 2 Cinnamon Sticks, 3 Bay Leaves and 5 Green Cardamoms.

When the oil is hot, add in the whole spices and fry for a few minutes until fragrant.

Meanwhile, take 3 medium Onions.

Peel and slice them.

Also, take 10 Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced.

When the whole spices are fragrant, add in the sliced onions and garlic.

Give everything a good stir-fry.

Cover the pan on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Then, uncover. The onions should be on the softer side now.

Next, throw in 5 Green Chillies, cut in half. You can add more or less, as you prefer.

Stir-fry again until golden brown.

Next, add in 1 heaped teaspoon Ginger Paste.

And, 1 teaspoon Salt.

Stir-fry for a minute.

Next, the dried spices. Take:
2 teaspoons Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder

Add them all to the pan.

Stir-fry in until everything is well coated in all the spices.

Pour in a Splash of Water. This will help loosen everything up and make a masala. You may add as much or as little as you want.

Once the oil begins to rise, the masala is ready for the chicken.

Add in the browned chicken pieces along with any of the extra marinade.

This is called a roast chicken but it's not actually cooked in the oven but on the stove. You may pop yours in the oven, if you prefer.

Bring everything to the boil then cover with a lid. Turn the heat right down and place a heavy object on the lid. This will help to steam the chicken.

Let the chicken simmer away until it's fully cooking, turning the pieces over halfway. How long it takes depends on how big your chicken pieces are. Ours were on the bigger side so took around 2 hours.

Once the chicken is cooked, we can serve.

I like to remove the chicken from the pan.

Then, take Fresh Coriander and Green Chillies.

Add in as much chopped fresh coriander and sliced green chillies as you like. This is a Bengali-style recipe after all and they enjoy their food on the spicier side.

To serve, I place the masala into a dish and then pop the chicken on top.

You may serve this chicken with boiled rice, naan and our personal favourite ever since my cousin suggested it, chips!

We also served a simple tomato salad on the side. This is made by tossing tomato wedges with thinly sliced red onion, chopped fresh coriander, plenty of salt and pepper, a splash of red wine vinegar and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil.

I love this recipe because it's something different. It does take a little planning ahead but is so worth it. The chicken goes heavy on the green chillies and turmeric - something which I've always found in many Bengali dishes. If you've never tried Bengali food, this is a good place to start.

Bengali-Style Masala Roast Chicken.

Prep Time: About 20 minutes + overnight, to marinade
Cook Time: About 2 hours + 30 minutes.
Serves: About 4 people.


For the Chicken Marinade
3 tablespoons Greek Yoghurt
1 teaspoon Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
4 large Chicken Legs, slit and skinless

For the Masala
Vegetable Oil, as needed
2 Cinnamon Sticks
3 Bay Leaves
5 Green Cardamoms
3 medium Onions, peeled and sliced
10 Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced
5 Green Chillies, cut in half
1 heaped teaspoon Ginger Paste
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
Water, as needed
Chopped Fresh Coriander, to taste
Chopped Green Chillies, to taste

Marinade the chicken:
Mix together everything except the chicken. Add the marinade to the chicken pieces and rub in well. Cover and leave to marinade for a few hours or overnight. If you're in a real rush, you might just get away with cooking the chicken straight away.

Brown the chicken:
Take a large, deep pot. Heat a good splash of vegetable oil until hot over a medium heat. You'll need quite a bit of oil to get the chicken browned properly. Add the chicken pieces into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides - about 3 minutes per side. Fry in batches, if needed, and then remove from the pan. Set aside until needed.

Make the masala:
Add more oil to the pan, if needed. To the hot oil, add the cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms and bay leaves. Fry for a few minutes until fragrant then throw in the slices onions and garlic. Stir and cover for 5 minutes to soften. Uncover and add in the green chillies. Stir-fry until golden brown.

Add in the ginger paste, salt, curry powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric and red chilli powder. Stir-fry and add a splash of water to begin making the masala sauce. Cook until the oil rises to the surface.

In goes the chicken:
Add in the browned chicken pieces, in a single layer, if you're able to. Bring the sauce to a boil then cover with a lid and turn the heat down. Place a heavy object onto the lid to help the chicken steam. Cook the chicken like this until it's fully cooked, flipping halfway - ours took around 2 hours because the chicken legs were on the bigger side.

Time to eat:
Remove the chicken from the pan. Stir in the fresh coriander and green chillies to the masala sauce. Serve the chicken and masala with chips, boiled rice or naan.

{adapted from afelia}

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Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your masala roast chicken!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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