lonka holud murgi

Fresh spices are beautiful. I would spend hours in the local market, not just for buying stuff, but just for the pleasure of running my fingers through fresh groceries, and inhaling the sights and sounds of a busy marketplace. My favorite greengrocer sometimes gives me fresh turmeric, which sort of forms the base of this recipe, which I developed one fine day. Although, you can always make your version with turmeric powder, but the paste made from fresh red chillies, fresh ginger and fresh turmeric makes this a superb dish.

Start by applying a tablespoon of lemon juice and a big pinch of salt on about a kilo of chicken with bones, washed and cut in medium-sized pieces. While that is sitting pretty, combine a large knob of fresh turmeric, 7-8 fresh, hot red chillies, and 1.5 inch fresh ginger together, and make a paste of them in water. I prefer water over vinegar, although, you can technically make this paste in vinegar and store it for weeks in the fridge. Apply this all over the chicken, and leave it alone for an hour at least.

Heat 5 tablespoons of Mustard Oil (refined oil works too, but Mustard oil is the key), add a few whole green cardamoms, a couple of whole fresh red chillies (you can use dry), and a stick of cinnamon in it. To this, add 1 cup chopped onions, a pinch of salt and sugar. Let the onions cook over medium-low heat, till golden brown in color, about 10-15 minutes. Add the chicken, turn up the heat, and cook for 7-8 minutes over high flame, or till the chicken is seared on all sides. Add a cup of water, let it boil up, then simmer, cover and cook till the chicken is soft, about 20-30 minutes, depending on the cut of chicken. Turn up the heat to let the excess water dry up a bit till the oil separates and floats on top. Adjust salt and if needed add a bit of sugar, stir to combine, and serve. I like eating this with thick parathas, but feel free to add your carb of choice.

The good news is, you can totally make a paste of ginger paste, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder with water in lieu of the fresh stuff if you don’t have any. But then again, the freshness of the spices add a totally different dimension to this dish.

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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