Kachalonka Dhonepata Murgi (Chicken with Coriander and Green Chillis)

Would you believe if I told you that I started baking only after I started my blog (which is roughly six months)? The sight of gooey, chocolatey, fruity delights in all the other blogs I read propelled me to try my hands at baking, and since then it grew to be an addiction. But I was always a savoury cook, someone who likes to play with her meat and fish. It's scary that the last time I cooked chicken was back in May.
So when one of my best friends D (who has come down from Amsterdam for a month) decided to drop by for lunch, I found the perfect opportunity to cook up for her a quintessentially Bangali spread (I know phoren-returned people always crave for the Maa-r haater ranna type Bangali food). More so because I've recently been trying to cook more Bengali fare to assert my Bong-hood to the world who thinks, and rightly so, that I haven't cooked a single Bengali dish all my life.
Now D loves chicken. So I read all of Bong Mom's chicken recipes, scanned my recipe folder through and through, sneaked at fellow bloggers' chicken recipes in the hope of finding the perfect chicken dish. And then I remembered this amazing Kachalonka Dhonepata Murgi (catered by 6 Ballygunge Place) at my friend A's wedding last winter. And immediately I found what I was looking for. Kachalonka Dhonepata murgi it will be. Now began a renewed search to hunt down all recipes of the same. Finally I bumped into the perfect recipe in Bong Mom's cook book. I added my own touches to it, but largely I stuck to what she had instructed. As with her Doi Maachh, this too was a foolproof recipe. I had to adjust the heat a bit keeping in mind my parents' and D's heat tolerance. Personally though, I would have added 5 chillies more to the recipe to huff and puff and allow tears to roll down my eyes as I savoured this amazing Bong chicken delicacy.
Serves: 5-6

Ingredients:

Chicken, cut into medium sized pieces: 1 kg
Green Chillies: 15
Coriander leaves: 1 cup
Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Ginger paste: 2 tbsp
Onion paste: 5-6 tbsp
Onion, sliced finely: 1/2 cup
Lime juice: 1
Mustard oil: 1 tbsp
Vegetable oil: 2 tbsp
Cinnamon: 2 sticks
Green cardamoms: 4-6
Salt, to taste
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Ghee: 2 tsp

Method:

1. Make a paste of 10 green chillies, coriander, 1 tbsp each of ginger and garlic paste, lemon juice, mustard oil and a little bit of salt and marinade the chicken pieces with it for 2-3 hours or overnight.

2. Heat a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan and add oil. Once it splutters, add the cinnamon and cardamom and stir till they release aroma.

3. Now add the onion paste, ginger and garlic paste and saute for two minutes. Add the remaining 5 green chillies (slit), onion slices and saute some more till they become translucent. Add salt and sugar and continue to saute till oil is released.

4. Now pour the chicken pieces with the marinade and cook for 5-6 minutes till the chicken starts losing its raw colour. Now cook covered on low-medium heat for another 10 minutes or so.

5. Add half a cup of warm water if you want a little bit of gravy, but I personally prefer it on the drier side. Allow to cook for another 2-5 minutes on high heat till the gravy thickens.

6. Sprinkle the ghee, give a final stir and serve hot with rice, pulao or parathas.

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