This is not a set recipe. It is versatile and you can add anything you want. This is an attempt to recreate the Sunday chicken from back home. I have added a few extra somethings for some more zing but the basic premises are the same. It brings back memories of long leisurely lunches, Sunday siestas and sounds of pressure cooker whistles ringing through the house. We grew up at a time when we had chicken mostly only on Sundays and so naturally it was something that was greatly looked forward to. The chicken would be hand picked by Baba from the Sunday market, the freshest and always under a certain wight. The concept of chicken from the freezer sections of the supermarkets did not exist back then. It would then be washed, cleaned and marinated with generous spoonfuls of turmeric and salt. And then after Ma was done making all other vegetable dishes, with the rice going on in one burner, she would start cooking the chicken in her sparkling 10 year old Prestige Pressure Cooker. The whole house would fill up with some exotic aromas. She did not use any store bought spice mixes, just some whole spices she found handy. Baby potatoes were a staple in these curries. Sometimes if she felt like it she would toss in carrots and green papaya. At the end of it, we would finish a plateful of steaming rice just with the curry, laugh over silly jokes and just have a generally good time. Life was so simple back then!! And to this day, whenever I cook chicken, I am reminded of those Sunday lunches and the simple joy of it all.
Chicken — Preferably fresh and under 2.5 lbs. Bone in and skinned. Cut into medium pieces. Cleaned and washed
1 medium red onion — Cut into thin slices
2 medium tomatoes- – Blanched and skin removed. Whizz it in the food processor to make a puree
Ginger garlic paste — 2 tbsp
Green cardamom — 2 pods
Cloves — 4-5
Baby potatoes — 6-7 skinned
Garam Masala powder– 1 tbsp
Coriander powder — 1tsp
Juice of one lime
Green chili — 4-5 slit (as per taste)
Cilantro leaves — A handful
Mustard oil for cooking
1. Heat 4-5 tbsp oil in the pressure cooker, add the whole spices and let splutter.
2. Add the onions and stir fry on medium high heat Add a pinch of sugar and turmeric. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until the onions turn light golden.
3. Add the ginger garlic paste and continue frying for 1 more minute.
4. Add the chicken pieces and increase the heat to high. Fry for 6-7 minutes to get a good sear.
5. Now add the tomato puree,lower heat to medium , stir well to coat and add the coriander powder, salt and the potatoes.
6. Once the tomato puree has cooked down, you can add 1/2 cup water and continue cooking covered until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are soft. Or you can just pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.
7. Once done, put off the heat, add the lime juice, check the seasoning, add the garam masala, the slit green chili and the cilantro.
8. Serve piping hot with white rice.
Full recipe: Sunday Chicken curry — A Bengali tradition