March 25, 2014

Direct from Maharashtra: Sukha Chicken (Dry Chicken)

There are indeed some recipes that stored in our memory with some extending story lines that mainly bring back some cherished retention to enjoy forever. Whenever I cook this dish the story/memory, how the dish entered in a Bengali Kitchen and how I learned it, always make me a little girl again back to some 20-25 yrs back. Those were the days when in every vacation we used to visit Mumbai. My father works there. And my sister and I used to study in Visva-Bharati Santiniketan. So thrice in a year loaded with lot of fun and experimenting the regional foods on our way, a train journey from east to west used to be the most awaited moments for us. It was a summer vacation and we were about to set to Mount Abu from Mumbai to make our vacation more thrilling. We reached Mumbai and the plan was after relaxing for a week we would start our way to Mount Abu. My father had all the travel plans ready with all the prior booking et al. But suddenly my mom fell ill with a high fever. Doctor said it was a viral and sadly we had to cancel our trip. My mom did recover soon but she was very weak and lost all her appetite and the taste. My father's office was just a minute’s way from our house. And there they have their own canteen and he used to praise a lot about the Maharastrian food that it used to serve. One day my father went to office and returned back home within a couple of hours along with an aged lady in her 50s who is wearing a sari in the typical Maharastrian style. She was introduced to us as the main cook of my father’s Canteen who was going to cook a chicken dish specially for my Mom so that she could get back her appetite, taste et al. And at the same time my father asked us to bring our note books so that we could note down how she was cooking the dish and learn and then he left for his office again. I was always very much fond of cooking and learning new dishes right from my childhood. And this opportunity to have hands on experience in cooking made my joy new no bound. The session started. With swift hand Tai (The way she was called by my father) presented the dish on our table in no time. She taught us with her Marathi and broken Hindi language. We concentrated more on the visual part which for me was much easier than to follow her language. She left quietly with a happy heart. That was the day when we learned the traditional way to cook the Sukha Chicken and I still take the pride for it. That day we didn't linger a bit to take our bath but to present in no time at the dinner table. The Sukha Chicken's aroma kicked up our hunger prangs like the greedy giants. The colour of the dish was absolutely red, the real red that comes out of red chilli. When we taste it was deadly hot but super delicious. My sister and I had it all though with loads of water and sugar in the plate. But it was so tasty that we were not able to control ourselves. For my mother, we saw her for the first time after her illness enjoying food with a satisfaction spreading all over her face. She literally enjoyed the hotness of the dish and no doubt the taste too. Then onward frequently the dish started coming to our dining table from my dad's canteen. And when we returned back to Santiniketan, my mom cooked the dish on her own way by cutting down the hotness to the tolerable level for her children. Then I realised that the main taste actually lies in the hotness. Till date I cook the dish I use very less chilli in it. But When I visit to Mumbai, Sukha chicken was a must from the restaurants to try out.
I was very happy when Sarani declared the  Online Event in KFB -"East or West, Food is the Best". The first dish clicked in my memory was this one that I literally wanted to share with my readers. Its not for the recipe but the way it came to our kitchen from Maharashtra and became one of our favourite dishes. The dish is too tasty and takes very less time and energy to cook. So now not wasting much time let us move on to the recipe of Sukha Chicken.
Chicken: 600-700 gm (Cut in to normal pieces) {See notes #3}
Curry Leaves - handful
Garlic - 3 + 3 cloves
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 large
Coconut - Grated from 1/2 of a coconut. (Many a times they use Dry roasted Coconut paste)
Coriander Leaves - 1 cup chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp + 2 tbspn
Mustered Seed: 1/2 tspn
Turmeric powder: 2 pinches
Water : 2-3 cups

The Roasted Masala/Spice:
Whole Cumin Seeds: 2 tbspn
Whole Coriander Seeds: 2 tbspn
Whole Red Chilli - 2/3 0r more (Pls check NOTE)

1. First make the Masala/Spice. Dry roast all the ingredients unde Masala/Spice and they grind/paste in smooth paste.
2. Take a pressure cooker. Add the chicken, the Masala Paste, chopped onion, chopped tomato, chopped garlic (out of three cloves), half of the curry leaves, 1 tbspn oil, Turmeric powder,Salt and water (make sure to add enough but not much water that  chicken should get dipped under water). Cook the chicken till the pressure cooker gives 4 to 5 whistles (See notes #3).
3. Paste the coconut in to smooth paste. Take a Kodai/ deep dense pan. Heat oil. Add Mustard seeds, Garlic paste (Out of the remaining cloves) and the curry leaves. Saute for a minute and then add the coconut paste. Fry them all together till the coconut starts to leave a fried aroma.
4. Now open the pressure cooker and add the chicken and the juice to the Kodai with coconut. Mix them well and cook until the dish gets a dry texture. Add the coriander leaves and serve with rice or roti.
1. The main taste lies in its hotness and also the look in its red colour. So if you are chilli lover then be liberal in adding the red chilies.
2. The dish will be absolutely dry. So when you will add the water in the pressure cooker be sure not to add much water in it.
New update dated 19th August'15:
 3. Make sure which kind of chicken you are buying. If it is a broiler one or buying fresh chicken from hyper markets it may require less time to cook say 2- 3 whistles will be fine.
(Thanks to reader Vidya Vartak Joshi for pointing out the cooking time options of the chicken).

This recipe is off to the Event by Kolkata Food Bloggers:


Rafeeda AR said...

looks absolutely delicious!!!

Anwesha Bh said...

I loved the recipe, loved the story eve more. Having spent a bit of time in Maharashtra myself, I will surely try this out and reminisce about my life there while eating this :)
Thanks for sharing.

nandoos Kitchen said...

lovely chicken dish. Nice with rice..

divya said...

wow!!! wow!! awesome pictures dear!! luk so yumm and delicious!

San said...

Iam drooling here. Sukha chicken recipe should be a keeper. Mouthwatering clicks.

San said...

Iam short of chicken recipes to try sometimes, this sukha chicken goes to must try list. It is so delish looking.

Vikis Kitchen said...

Chicken sukka and the anecdote are very nice. Love the color of the fry.