Saturday, May 18, 2013

Back to Basics

ঝাল করে মুরগীর মাংস
Spicy Chicken Curry

I hope from now on all my photos look this good!

I haven't blogged about food in a while, instead opting to regurgitate old reviews saved on my hard drive. There is a reason for this though: it's hard to blog about food you've been cooking if, well, you haven't been cooking. For the past couple of months I've been travelling quite a bit, living out of hotels, eating out and such. The brief periods I have been home have been spent doing chores or catching up with friends - both of which have pushed cooking out of the way.

Looking at the months ahead in my calendar however, I've realised that the intermittent travelling isn't going to stop any time soon. So if I still want to keep this going (as well as eat healthy, home cooked food as opposed to supermarket takeaways!), I'm just going to have to make time for both cooking and the blog no matter what my schedule.

With that in mind, I decided to attempt a very basic Bangladeshi chicken curry today to get back in the swing of things. This is the kind of simple, everyday dish that's cooked in many households. The recipes are probably slightly different depending on who you ask - but this one is my own, based on memory from what mom used to cook at home and experimentation. It's basic flavour is derived from the cumin. Enjoy.


  • 500.00 g of boneless chicken thighs
  • 1.00 medium onion
  • A few sticks of cinnamon
  • 1.00 tablespoon of ginger paste
  • 1.00 tablespoon of garlic paste
  • 5 or 6 cardamoms
  • 5 or 6 cloves
  • 1.00 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1.00 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Chilli powder, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh chilli, to taste

  • Heat some oil in a saucepan, and then add the finely chopped onion and cinnamon. Fry on medium heat till brown at the edges. 

I started adding my other spices at this point.

  • Add the garlic and ginger pastes and fry for a minute. 
  • Follow this by adding the cardamoms, cloves, turmeric, cumin chilli powder and a little bit of salt.
  • Mix everything thoroughly, and add a little boiling water the spice mixture so that it doesn't dry up. 
  • Keep cooking the spice mixture for about 20 minutes, stirring often and adding boiling water in small amounts at intervals to prevent it from drying up. 
  • The spices should release a distinct fragrance when done - this is down to practice!

The cooked spice mixture

  • Add the chicken thighs and turn up the heat to high. Mix the spices and chicken thoroughly.

The chicken just as it has been added

  • Follow this by adding the freshly ground black pepper and a little more salt, again mixing everything thoroughly.
  • Turn the heat back down to medium, cover and leave to cook for 15 minutes. 
  • Cooking times are approximate as this tends to depend on the type of chicken being cooked. 
  • Stir occasionally and add boiling water at intervals so the dish does not dry up, varying the amount of water according to how much gravy you want the dish to have. 
  • Test for salt, and add more if necessary.

The chicken just before adding the chillies

  • Slice the fresh chillies in half and add them to the dish after the 15 minutes have passed. 
  • Again, stir and cover, leaving the dish to cook till the chicken is done. This should be another 15 minutes or so. 
  • Serve with rice or flat breads.

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