I love Indian food, so the hardest part was narrowing my choices for this event down to a single recipe. I grabbed Flavours of India by Madhur Jaffrey – and of course the grand old lady of Indian cooking was an excellent choice.
Bengali Chicken with Mustard Seeds (Sorse Murgi)
is one of my favorite chicken dishes ever.
Jaffrey calls it a very mustardy, typically Bengali creation to be eaten with plain rice. It is actually quite good eaten by itself, in particular cold, and has been a much asked-for dish to bring to parties over the last years, I think once we served it as El-Aurian frog legs on a StarTrek themed party
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric, divided use
One 1 kg / 2 1/4 lb chicken, cut into serving pieces (each leg into drumstick and thigh and the breast into 6 pieces)
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
4-5 fresh hot green chillies, roughly chopped
4 1/2 tablespoons mustard oil or any other vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh green coriander
(you can substitute the whole chicken for 2 lbs of boneless breast or thighs, if you want, what I do every now and then, like last night, but it is juicier and more tasty with bone-in pieces).
Rub 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the turmeric over the chicken.
Put the mustard seeds into a clean coffee grinder. Grind to a fine powder.
Put the ground mustard seeds, chillies and 1/4 teaspoon of the turmeric into the container of an electric blender. Add 4 tablespoons water. Blend to a smooth paste. Set the paste aside.
(My note: I do all this in a big mortar, grinding the mustard seeds and preparing the spice paste, works like a charm. Much less cleaning hassle, too).
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large, wide, preferably non-stick pan or wok over high heat. When hot, add the chicken. Stir and fry for 12-15 minutes until golden. Remove from the pan.
Add the remaining oil to the pan. When hot add the mustard-and-chilli paste and turn the heat to low. Stir and fry for 3-4 minutes until the oil bubbles at the surface. Add the chicken and the remaining salt and turmeric. Stir to mix. Add 300 ml/1 0 fl oz/ 1 1/4 cups water. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced to just coat the pieces.
Sprinkle the fresh coriander over the top before serving.
Yesterday we had rice and spinach with the chicken – very tasty.