Chicken Chanp (Juicy Spareribs in Thick Spicy Gravy)

4:34 AM

I am a very easy kind of a person and luckily have got a husband of the same sort. Both of us are happy with small things and little efforts. We hardly complain about anything. More or less put us in any situation, give us any food that’s edible and seasoned right, we are happy. We love to experiment with food and have a vast palette and variety is always welcome. Generally we prefer to have one dish meals for dinners on weekdays. Mixing rice with dals with subzis is little cumbersome when after a hard days work even moving a finger seems like a job. Rather we find it relaxing to have our meal from a bowl. That way rice based meals are quite filling. Make a quick fried rice, pulav or khichri and have it while watching the TV. Often I make a quick soy briyani and prefer to have it with raita (spiced yogurt) at the sides.

But my family is quite opposite, they cant even think of having Biryani with raita. They need a side dish, that too something elaborate. Give them Alu ka paratha (spicy potato stuffed flat bread) and raita and they will look at you quizzically, "what should I eat this with" would be their question. So on Maa’s birth day when I planned to make mutton biryani and chicken Chanp, Hubby was quite surprised. But that’s how things are here. The other guests also received this combo well.  And everyone simply could not get enough of this gravy. Big tender juicy chicken breast and leg pieces  with a creamy spicy coating gravy, flavoured with keora and rose water…what was not to love about this curry.

As I have already told in my last posts that this is a much loved dish for Bengalis. Talk about Biryani, chicken chanp and rezala and they will all go dreamy eyed. These dishes are like an epitome of Bengal’s culinary culture. One can travel from the farthest point of south Kolkata to North Kolkata just to have this dish for dinner. Ask any Kolkattan and he will brief you about the best place to have these dishes and if you ask more you will get an detailed analysis of why the chanp of one shop is better than the other. Blame it on our superlative tastebuds that can differentiate between garam masala having more cardamom or cinnamon or our nit picking nature that we can say whether ginger was first added to fried onion or the garlic paste.

Anyways the dish I cooked receieved a lot of praise. Everyone went all ga ga over it, especially the gravy. Even before leaving, a friend enquired if he could pack little bit of the chanp from leftover. Yes, it was that good. Try it for yourself to know the truth. Here is the very unique recipe.

Chicken Chanp

Big chunky breast and leg pieces of chicken: 7 pieces (In my case it weighed 1 kg. The point here is to take big pieces with bones and ribs)

Spice paste:
Onion: 2 medium
Ginger: 3” piece
Garlic: 6-8 fat cloves
Sattu: 11/3 tbsp (please see notes)
Curd: 3/4 cup
Dry red chillies: 2 pieces
Red chili powder: 1 tbsp
Water: ½ cup

Shajeera (caraway seeds)/ black cumin: ½ tsp
Garam masala powder: 2/3 tsp
Keora water: few drops
Rose water: few drops

Green cardamom: 3 pieces
Cloves: 8-9 pieces
Cinnamon: ½” piece
Bay leaf: 1 big

Oil:1/2 cup
Ghee: 1/3 cup

Wash the chicken pieces and slit each at 4 places. Keep aside.

Take all the ingredients under spice paste and make a fine paste. Adjust the salt. Mix in all the chicken pieces. Rub well and keep covered for at-least 2 hours.

At the end of this marination time heat the oil in a flat frying pan or Lagan. I used a flat lagan style handi.  Once the oil is hot add lightly crushed whole garam masala, wait till it splutter.

Now take the chicken pieces out of the marinade, remove as much marinade as possible and add to the oil. On very low flame keep on frying the pieces till they look pale (approx. 5 minutes).

Now add the marinade and little water. Mix well and let it cook on medium flame. The chicken will leave a lot of water and would be cooked in it. Keep on stirring from time to time.

After another 5 minutes add crushed shajeera, half of the garam masala and give it a good mix.

Once the chicken pieces are cooked and oil comes oozing out from the sides the dish is done.

Add keora water, rose water and garam masala. Keep covered.

Serve hot with any rice dish of your preference or lachha paratha to scoop and mop this delicious gravy.

A Homemaker's Note:
The dish should be cooked on low-medium heat. as much water is not added so there is a chance of it burning at the bottom.

The marination time is very important. try to marinade for a minimum of 2 hours.

Keora and Rose water have very over powering aroma, use it sparingly.

If you dont get sattu use dry roasted besan (chickpea flour) equal quantity.

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