I was planning to write about Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry since long; however, I was a bit confused with the available resources and details. Every single recipe available was claiming to be authentic! I never had this dish of chicken while growing up. In fact, I for the first time had Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry aka Chicken Dak Bungalow at Bhojohari Manna, the famous Bengali restaurant.
I then decided to dig into the “Chicken Curry” for my own sake. I talked to one of the owners of Bhojohari Manna Mr. Siddhartha Bose a few months back. I didn’t come up with the recipe even then (blame it to my lethargic nature). In the recent month (just before pujo actually) for a video project, I finally decided to cook Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry. At this point, I contacted food historian, Ms. Pritha Sen.
What is Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry? (Chicken Dak Bungalow Origin)
I have decided to quote One restauranteur and one food historian instead of writing the details myself 😊😊. And why not especially when both of them have something interesting to share about “Dakbangla Murgi”!
Here’s Siddhartha Da’s version!
“When we were starting Bhojohori Manna way back in 2003, our team member Goutam Ghose, the famed film personality narrated the experience of people reaching the dakbangla’s in some remote rural areas at what is considered late evenings in such zones and if asked what could be served. The Dakbangla caretaker would offer to go out into the darkness of the night to find a fowl for a paltry sum and make a curry out of it and serve it with steaming rice and a few green chilies. Absolutely mouthwatering stuff.
We then got into exciting discussions on the subject..and then Goutam added…lets do this and add a whole chicken egg into it as well. That would define value for money for the customers. That’s how Chicken and Mutton Dakbangla evolved at Bhojohori Manna. Today we find many experts writing about the origin,recipe and a whole lot of other things on the subject. For us it happened through an evening session of excitement over food. We also find all categories of restaurants and hotels naming any kind of curry as Dakbangla!”
He also mentioned; “We never linked it with any authenticity
Pritha Di’s version is also in the similar lines.
“Debjani Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry aka Chicken Dak Bungalow is a simple chicken curry the Dakbangla caretakers used to cook.
You must understand what for the dak bungalow meant for. During the British period the rest houses in the “dak” route were reffered as dakbangla or dak bungalow.
This curry has never been about elaborate cooking or exotic spices back then. Instead, it was cooked with the basic spices available at the remote points.
They used to add Potato but Egg was a later inclusion. Basically, it is a wholesome chicken curry prepared with basic and easily available spices.”
Debjani’s two cents on Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry aka Chicken Dak Bungalow!
Let me start with the definition of Dak Bungalow. These are nothing but Government-owned rest houses located in the remote areas. Dak means Post. These houses were initially developed to make the process of postal service easy and to give lodging and food to the officials traveling for work. The houses were having basic ration to cater the need of the food and a few personnel such as a gatekeeper and a Khansama (cook). They used to cook with the limited resources available and also at times with no prior intimation about the guest coming.
Hence, no marination; no fancy spices; use of locally available ingredients and to come up with a wholesome dish. This is how Dak Bungalow Chicken came into existence.
Keeping in mind the informations I ended on cooking the Dak Bungalow Chicken. I did not use a paste of onion; instead, I used roughly chopped onion. I though have used a paste of Ginger and Garlic along with a few basic spices. Also, I have used Cumin, Coriander, and Garam Masala.
I wasn’t sure whether curd was part of this curry then; however, I have used it. Last but not least, I have used both Potato and Egg along with Chicken. Rest is nothing but slow cooking.
For me, Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry aka Chicken Dak Bungalow is a Bengali style chicken curry cooked with basic spices along with egg and potato.
Here I must mention, I don’t believe in authentic “this” and authentic “that” when it comes to food. Hence, This recipe is not an authentic one but a practical one matching with the details available.
Here’s how I cook Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry aka Chicken Dak Bungalow at Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Serves: 6 People
- Serving size: 200g
- Calories: 560
- Fat: 21.7g
- Saturated fat: 4.4g
- Carbohydrates: 31.1g
- Sugar: 6.3g
- Sodium: 637mg
- Fiber: 4.5g
- Protein: 58.1g
- Cholesterol: 293mg
- Chicken: 1 Kg.
- Potato: 4
- Green Chilli:4
- Egg: 6
- Onion: 3
- Ginger Paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Garlic Paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Curd: 100g
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Cumin Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Coriander Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Chilli Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Sugar: 1 Tsp.
- Mustard Oil: 2 Tbsp.
- Bay leaf: 2
- Cinnamon stick: 1"
- Cardamom: 3
- Red Chili: 2
- Turmeric Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Cumin Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Coriander Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Chilli Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Sugar: ½ Tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Mustard Oil: 4 Tbsp.
- Wash Chicken chunks and marinate with Curd, ½ Tsp. of the Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder Coriander Powder, Chilli Powder, Sugar, Salt and also Mustard Oil.
- Chop Onion roughly and also peel the skin of the potatoes. Cut those into halves.
- Hard Boil Eggs before adding to the curry.
- Now heat Oil in a pan.
- Sprinkle some turmeric powder coupled with salt over the boiled eggs and potatoes.
- Fry Eggs for a few minutes.
- In the same fashion Fry potatoes as well.
- Temper remaining oil with Bay leaf, Cinnamon stick, Cardamom and also Red Chili.
- Add chopped onion and fry till those turn golden brown in color.
- Now add ginger and garlic paste and cook till the raw aroma goes out.
- Now add Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Chilli Powder, Sugar and also Salt and mix properly.
- Add chopped green chilies too.
- Furthermore; reduce the flame and stir vigorously.
- Now add marinated chicken chunks and cook over low flame for 5-7 minutes.
- Add fried Potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook over low flame for 5 minutes.
- Open the lid and add two cups of boiling water.
- Add Fried boiled Eggs.
- Cover the pan and cook till Chicken and potatoes cooked properly.
- Switch the flame off and serve the curry hot with steamed rice.
You may reduce or increase the spices based on your preference.
Also, you can replace Mustard oil with vegetable oil however that will not give the distinct pungent aroma of Mustard oil to the dish.
Video Recipe of Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry!
Other Chicken dishes from Debjanir Rannaghar:
- Chicken Chaap (also known as Chaap Bhaja)
- Aam Kasundi Murgi (also known as Bengali Style Chicken in Mango Mustard Sauce)
- Pish-Pash aka Pish Pash,
- Doi Murgi | also known as Kolkata style Doi Chicken
- Bangladeshi Chicken Roast | also known as Biyebarir Chicken Roast
- Robibarer Murgir Jhol (also known as Bengali light chicken curry)
- Desi Murgir Dum (also known as Bengali Country Chicken Curry)
Have you tried the Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry aka Chicken Dak Bungalow Recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do let me know how it came out. Also, I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here on email@example.com. Meanwhile, on Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.