Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Chicken Chaap is a mughlai inspired chicken dish where juiciest part of the chicken on bones (specially the legs and thighs) are marinated then charred and finally slow cooked in the aromatic spicy gravy. Poppy seed and Sattu (bengal gram flour, added by some restaurant) are one of many essential ingredients for Chicken Chaap. Poppy seed adds a beautiful silky texture to the dish and either sattu/or chana dal paste plays an important role in absorbing the excess moisture,  binding all the spices together, by helping the spices  to cling to the meat. The gravy for chicken chaap is never very thick, but light and thin formed from the fat released from the ghee (clarified butter) and the meat. Since I do not get good quality sattu here in Adelaide I have used a close substitute chana dal (split chick pea) made to paste. This dish can vary from mild to rich and spicy. This semi dry gravy is best enjoyed with Biriyani ( a flavourful dish of rice and meat) or any other indian bread variety such as nan, romali or tandoori roti, laccha paratha with some onion cucumber salad on the side to make it a complete meal. My first introduction to Mughlai cuisine was at Bedouin on nandy street around gariahat.Their speciality was the succulent chicken or egg-chicken roll, chaap and biriyani and if you are one of many to dine in the restaurant ,having made a reasonable order their complementary "jaljeera" drink was quite a hit! In no time this restaurant was soo popular that they opened up a few franchises around the area .

Rahmania, Sabir, Amenia was also good during those days.Then finally Shiraz, the legendary mughlai food joint opened it's doors. My first taste of authentic chicken chaap, a delectable moist chicken biriyani still lingers onto my taste buds! Yes, it was way back in early 2000 and during our courtship days that I had my first taste of  mughlai cuisine at The Shiraz Golden Restaurant in park circus, Kolkata. Courtesy my one and only..I know u guessed it, right!!:D
Both Bedouin and Shiraz were excellent in terms of their food quality. Even now when we visit our home town this authentic food joint is always on the cards for their exclusive mughlai dishes. Last time when we were in Kolkata we noticed that the old Shiraz Golden Restaurant has moved down across the road and a brand new Dawaat-e -Shiraz has come up on the ground floor of the Tulip Inn Hotel serving more or less the same quality food but just because it is more of a polished version of the old Shiraz, prices are a bit too high in my opinion. But the staff are no doubt very professional and helpful (unlike old shiraz) and thank fully there is a valet parking for the patrons which otherwise would have been a nightmare! Arsaalan in park circus (7 point crossing)  is another exclusive joint if you are after some mouth watering Awadhi or Mughlai cuisine. In addition to their Biriyani, chaap and rezala our personal favourite was Arsalan's special kebab wrapped with cheese and egg..they are truly to die for!


You must be thinking that the process of making chicken chaap at home  is quite a complicated one. Trust me, it is not. And neither you need any grand ingredients to create the authentic taste. The recipe is a quick fix one, you just need to get a bit organised first, score and marinate the chicken which is essential and most of all pocket friendly ingredients have been used in this recipe.  I personally find cooking chaap much more easier and less time taking  as compared to any other chicken dishes that needs more elaborate cooking. I usually marinate all ingredients well in advance, sauté and then slow cook on simmer for the melt in mouth result. As I am always pressed for time this recipe works very well for me and yet delivers authentic restaurant style flavours
To make Chicken Chaap all you will need :
4 chicken marylands (leg and thigh portion) or 1 whole chicken cut into 4 quarters.
1 cup natural thick yoghurt ( I used greek style). If you are using normal curd or natural yoghurt drain out the excess water by placing it in a cheese cloth or a sieve for couple of hours.) In that case approx. 11/3 cup of normal curd will yield around 1 cup or little more of hung curd - making sure the curd has still some moisture and not too dry.
2-3 cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
3-4 green cardamom pods
11/2 tablespoon coriander powder ( u may use freshly ground)
2-3 tablespoon of besan or gram flour, dry roasted 
1 tablespoon Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tablespoon Turmeric powder
2 tablespoon poppy seed(soaked in water and then made into paste) -( non-negotiable ingredient.)
1/4 teaspoon of mace powder
1/3 teaspoon of nutmeg powder
1 large onion roughly chopped
10-12 fresh garlic cloves or 2 tablespoon garlic paste
3/4 tablespoon ginger paste
little drops of keora water (2-3 tiny drops)
Ghee or clarified butter 2 tablespoon
White oil for cooking 2 tablespoon
11/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil for coating on the chicken
extra salt for seasoning
1 tablespoon of ground spices
(Roast 2-3 black peppercorns, 7-8 cardamom pods, , 5-6 cinnamon stick, 7-8 cloves - dry roast them and then grind them in a food processor or a mortal and pestle and store in an airtight container ) 
A good size thick bottomed skillet
kitchen tongs and spatula

Step 1 : Rinse your chicken pieces. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Score on the skin with a sharp knife. Now coat your chicken with 1 tablespoon oil and salt all over and every nook and corner of the bird. Cover and let it rest.
STEP 2: In a blender or food processor add chopped onion, garlic, ginger paste, mace powder, nutmeg, chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, ground masala, roasted besan, poppy seed  and by adding little bit of  yoghurt at a time blend to a  smooth paste.
Step 3 : Pour the spice mixture onto the chicken and coat well along with very little drops of keora water . Cover with a cling film and set aside . Overnight is best or atleast 5-6 hours.
Step 4: In a thick bottom skillet heat 2 tablespoon ghee and 2 tablespoon cooking oil. You may choose to use ghee only and not use any oil at all. In that case add 3-4 tbsp ghee. The skillet should have enough room for 4 large legs of chicken.
Step 5 :Now add the whole garam masalas such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

Step 6: Shake off the excess marinade and lay the chicken pcs side by side. The flame should be medium-high. Once they start to change color (little golden brown) on one side you may flip it using a kitchen tong to brown the other side as well. Do not over cook it.. cook until they look a bit charred and golden brown on both sides. 
Step 7:Once the chicken pieces look a little golden make a well in between and pour in the remaining marinade. Keep sautéing with a spatula to fry the marinade mixture . It will soon change colour and release a lot of oil. Add the poppy seed or paste along with the sattu or chana dal paste. Keep turning the chicken atleast a couple of times. Use a spoon to smear the chicken pieces with the marinade mixture that is already cooking. This will keep the chicken moist and prevent from drying out. Once the spices start to separate completely from the oil, making sure that the chicken pieces are nicely smeared in the gravy, simmer and cover. Before that check seasoning and add more salt to taste. Cook for some more time. Let's say around 10 mins more.. Turn off heat and allow to rest.
Step 8: The gravy should be semi dry with the spices almost clinging onto the chicken pieces, leaving the excess fat floating in the skillet.  You may garnish with some ghee and  another tiny drop of keora water to finish it off.  Your Chaap is ready to be served with your favourite rice dish or bread.
This recipe will yield 4 generous servings. The gravy will be very mild in terms of spiciness. If you want more spicy and rich gravy you may adjust the amount of chilli and spices according to your taste. Ghee or clarified butter can be used solely to cook the dish. However I prefer to mix some oil to keep the calorie count low. I hope you enjoy some Chaap with your favourite bread or rice.
Have a blessed day!

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With deep care

EAT as you LIKE.


  1. Khub sundor bhabe expain korechis.. baniye toke nischoi janabo.. Antara

  2. Faaaaaaaaaaantastic ill try this recepie

  3. I came across your blog while looking for some Indian food recipes and liked a lot. How amazing! I will keep an eye out for all your recipes :)


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