I used to always think that the meaning of the word ‘bland’ is something which does not have any flavour and is tasteless. Over the years I have, however, been proved wrong – 'bland' means something which does not have chillies. I may find something without chillies quite tasty, but those who know better wonder whether I have taken leave of my senses. Whenever we visit Pune,
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we make it a point to visit the Chinese Room at East Street. I have eaten there several times and the food is quite good. Once as I was
If you are wondering why I am going on about all this, it is because thanks to the increasing association of chillies with taste, one dish which has taken a beating is the chicken/mutton rezala. I had heard about this dish but never had the opportunity of eating or even tasting it. Then I visited Oh!Calcutta, I noticed mutton rezala on their menu. I was thrilled and did not waste much time in ordering it, unfortunately it was not available. When I wanted to know the reason for its unavailability, the answer stunned me into silence, there were apparently no takers for the dish because almost everybody considered it bland as it did not have chillies, although it did have black/white pepper powder.
Out of frustration I decided to do a bit of research and cook it myself. What I have cooked is not exactly chicken rezala as it does not have cashew nut paste. I have named the dish White Chicken. It tasted yummy. I have not specified the measurements for the yoghurt and poppy seed paste, you can use your judgement in accordance to your taste.
- Chicken (600 gms) chopped into pieces
- Yoghurt (curd as we Indians call it)
- Paste of 2 medium sized onions
- Poppy seed paste
- One tablespoon ginger paste
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- One green cardamom
- 3 cloves
- Approximately an inch of cinnamon stick
- One bay leaf
- White/Black pepper powder to taste
- Salt to taste
- Required quantity of oil
Wash the pieces of chicken and marinate in a mixture of yoghurt and a little ginger paste. Keep aside.
Heat required quantity of oil in a vessel, add the cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom and bay leaf to the oil.
Add the onion paste. Fry till slightly brown.
Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for a little while.
Add the marinated chicken to this and stir.
Add salt to taste.
When the chicken is partially cooked add the poppy seed paste.
Add a little water and cover and cook till done.
Beat the yoghurt, I did not use hung yoghurt, if you want a thick gravy use hung yoghurt.
Add the yoghurt to the chicken before switching of the flame, sprinkle pepper powder, preferably white pepper powder (you may use black pepper powder).
Switch off flame and let the chicken remain on the hot stove for a while before serving.