My memory of Chicken Bharta always took me back to the college days or more specifically, the period when I have completed BSc and was struggling with the Master’s course. That was for the first time I left a metro city to study Rural Management and was based in a suburb of West Bengal, Kalyani. I used to back to the city at the weekend devastatingly. The weekends used to be fun with time for me, with Sudipta and Sumit Sir, my partners of several crimes. The former is a college bestie while the later is my “Sakha” with whom I have the relation of something alike Draupadi and Sri Krishna. The three musketeers used to visit our favorite small joints whenever I / Sudipta needed to pay for the food and the bigger one whenever it was Sumit Sir’s turn to pay the bill.
These two had and even today has played the role of the “friend in need” in my life starting from sharing the food together to supporting me during the initial phase of my marital life just to mention a few. Okay, that is a separate story altogether. In case you wanted to know you can read it here. Coming to the Chicken Bharta, we used to visit a tiny place near Jagu Babur Bazar (and our college) called “Bhoj” and I have had tasted the best Chicken Bharta over there only. The joint is not in existence now but I tried to create the Chicken Bharta, just like our beloved “common Shosurbar (sasural)”. Yes, we used to treat that place like our future in law’s place at that time!
The combination of Chicken chunks, Egg and Indian rich gravy is deadly for me each time I taste the Chicken Bharta. I am not a big chicken fan until the chicken is the “Desi Chicken” with the earthiness loaded but there are a few dishes, I have cherished all through and Chicken Bharta is obviously one of those. The Chicken Bharta or Chicken Bhorta probably took the essences from the North Indian “Bharta” and Bangladesh “Bhorta” to make itself the best of its kind with its origin in Kolkata. Yes, the city of joy has its special version of Chicken Bharta which is influenced by both North-Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine.
A true blue Kolkata style Chicken Bharta earthy with the flavors of Indian spices, charismatic with the presence of Egg and as prepared with boneless chicken or the chicken strips it controls the ruthlessness with poise. Am I really talking about a Chicken dish, I doubt, I strongly doubt! However, coming to the recipe, the presence of Egg I already have mentioned along with the absence of bone in the meat, the thick gravy is dominated with the tempering that is done with Kasuri Methi, Punjabi Garam Masala and a bit of Tandoori Masala given Chicken Bharta in Kolkata is strongly influenced by the Punjabi cuisine. Some people prefer to use boneless chicken chunks while some use chicken strips, while I use a combination of both to make the Chicken Bharta. For the rest how about going through the detailed recipe!
- Boneless Chicken: 1 Kg
- Egg: 5
- Tomato: 1
- Onion: 4
- Ginger Paste: 2 Tsp.
- Garlic Paste: 2.5 Tsp.
- Green Chili: 5-6
- Cashew nut Paste: 2 Tbsp.
- Char Magaj (Melon Seed) Paste: 1 Tsp.
- Hung Curd: 4 Tbsp.
- Fresh Cream: 3 tbsp.
- Butter: 1 Tsp.
- Refined Oil: 3 Tbsp.
- Bay leaf: 2
- Kasuri Methi: 1 Tsp.
- Red Chili: 1
- Clove: 3-4
- Cinnamon Stick: 1"
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Red Chili Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Sugar: 1 Tsp.
- Punjabi Garam Masala Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Chicken Tandoori Masala: ½ Tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Wash boneless chicken cubes and boil those with ½ tsp. of salt and water for 5-6 minutes and strain the water keep it separately.
- Leave half of the boiled chicken cubes as it is and cut strips out of the rest.
- Roughly chop Onion and Tomato
- Hard boil Eggs and discard the shell of the boiled eggs.
- Take Oil in a Deep bottom pan and temper the oil with Bay Leaf, Red Chili, Clove, Cinnamon Stick and Kasuri Methi ( for the Kasuri Methi use ⅔ for tempering).
- Now add chopped onion and fry till the onion turns translucent in color.
- Add chopped tomatoes, ginger and garlic paste and slip green chili and cook till oil separates from the mixture.
- Now add Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder, Chicken Tandoori Masala, Sugar, and Salt to taste and cook for 1-2 minutes in low flame.
- Add Cashew nut Paste, Char Magaj Paste, Hung Curd and Fresh Cream and cook till the nutty aroma as well as the smell of curd emits completely.
- At this point add both boiled chicken cubes and chicken strips and mix thoroughly and cook in low flame for 5 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the water that was used for boiling the chicken and after covering the pan with a lid and cook for 5 minutes or till you reach the desired consistency.
- Take three boiled eggs and separate the yolk and mash it and roughly cut the Egg white into long strips.
- Add both mashed yolk and Egg white to the Chicken Bharta and give it a thorough mix.
- Now add butter, rest of the Kasuri Methi and Punjabi Garam Masala and mix.
- Cut rest of the eggs into halves and lightly fold with the gravy.
- Serve Chicken Bharta with Roti, Nan or Paratha.
Other Chicken Recipes from Debjanir Rannaghar: