Desi Kukuda Jholo ( Country Style Chicken Curry )
If I ever had any inkling of doubt about the total chauvinist leanings of our society , those have been effectively squashed by the Supreme court and Delhi High Court verdicts. 'Hindu son can divorce wife if she tries to separate him from aged parents' sermonizes the first one, only to be backed by an equally regressive and undoubtedly fawning subordinate which rules 'Denying sex to husband for long period ground for divorce'. If it had been a fair world, all these words like 'son', 'wife', 'husband', etc would have been ditched in favour of the all encompassing 'spouse', thus giving equal rights to both parties in a marriage.
Now some may cry hoarse that there are many women-centric laws and evil women use those to harass hapless in-laws. Some of them even get helpless men arrested on charges of rape, harassment, stalking and so on. But I have rarely come across any cases of 'groom burning' nor have I seen lascivious groups of women stalking/teasing the poor guys in bus stands, metro stations or even as they avail public transport. So, I do not care much about laws that protect the endangered male species. And with that I rest my case.
Coming back to business as usual ( do I even have a choice ? ), today's recipe is a simple but amazing Country style chicken curry from Odisha. Since country chicken has a texture that mimics mutton and also take quite longer to cook as compared to farmed 'broiler' chicken, it's preparation is similar to that of a mutton curry. It is pan cooked for a long time till the chicken gives up some juice and takes on a shiny texture. We called the process 'kasha' in Odia and that is usually the key to the final taste of the curry. Too less 'kasha' means that one can make out the rawness of the ingredients while too much 'kasha' gives a blackish color to the curry and changes the aroma for the worse.
Read on for the recipe -
Preparation Time - 1 hour 20 mins
250 gm country chicken (desi kukuda)
1 medium sized potato
1 large onion + 1/2 of a medium onion ( the chopped onion should be equal in volume to the mutton pieces )
1 1/2 tbsp coarse garlic paste
1 1/2 tbsp coarsely chopped ginger
3-4 dry red chillis
1 big cardamom
1 bay leaf
2 2" cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
6 tsp mustard oil + 1 tsp for the marination
Preparation - Wash the chicken pieces and drain away all the water. Add salt, turmeric and 1 tsp mustard oil. Mix well and keep aside.
Cut the onions into medium sized pieces. Crush lightly using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.
Also crush the ginger and garlic in the same way but just a little more fine.
Cut the potatoes into big chunks.
Cooking - Heat the oil in a pressure cooker.
Add the potatoes and fry till golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
Add the red chillis followed by the cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon sticks to the hot oil. Fry till they turn fragrant.
Add the onions, ginger and garlic. Fry them on low flame till they turn quite red in color. (This is a sign that the onions have started turning sweet due to the caramelization process)
Next add the chicken pieces. Fry them till they stop oozing water. You do not have to stir continuously. Keep the lid on the cooker without completely closing it. Stir once every few minutes. This process takes a long time so keep patience ( grab a snack/drink something if all that heavenly smell is making you hungry ).
Once you see that the chicken pieces start leaving oil ( a sure sign that the water had dried up ) and take on a shiny coat, add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of boiling water along with the fried potato pieces. Adjust salt. Close the lid and cook for 1-2 whistles. Remove from flame.
Allow steam to escape before opening lid. Check if the chicken is done. Else add another half cup water and cook for another 1 whistle or two.
Note - If you do not want to use pressure cooker, use a thick bottomed copper vessel for best results.