Chicken Bharta Kolkata style!
Now I have your 100% undivided attention, I know. Chicken Bharta Kolkata Style needs no introduction to a Bengali. We Bengali people are known for our love for mutton (apart from fish, rice and sweets). But let me tell you one thing; if a Bengali guy can live upon his Sunday mutton curry he can also die for Chicken Bharta on the very same Sunday night! But the only clause is that has to be Kolkata style Chicken Bharta!
The word ‘Bharta’ or ‘bhorta’ itself means minced or mashed which is quite popular in Indian cuisine. Most popular ones are vegetarian aloo bharta, baingan ka bharta which has hundred of different variations and widely used all over India. But we are Bengali, the official carnivores among Indians. So our soul is not satisfied until we turn every possible vegetarian dish into a non-veg one. Hence we did Bengali Chicken Bharta.
Kolkata Chicken Bharta is a super smooth creamy chicken preparation loaded with shredded chicken and lot of flavours. Very unlike typical Bengali curry (and it is not a curry mind it!) Chicken Bhorta is not spicy at all. It is rich in flavour but not loaded with ghee or butter; rather it is mild and light. In other words it has high impact on your heart and soul but delicate on your stomach!
The history has many different stories about this hearty chicken bharta recipe. One story reveals the reflection of Mughal empire on Bengal’s life. Thus Punjabi Chicken Bharta was adapted by Bengalis and turned into Bengali Chicken Bharta. But there is another story which denies any historical background behind this story.
According to this version Kolkata style Chicken Bharta was created between the four walls of a restaurant kitchen which had too many leftover tandoori chicken (now you know the secret ingredient of Dhaba style Chicken Bharta). And to get rid of those they shredded those chickens and dunked them into rich creamy gravy where no one was going to notice those stale chickens. It doesn’t matter whichever is true but the later one is undoubtedly more interesting!
We are foodie people. We don’t judge the authenticity of a story behind a food, rather we judge the food itself. So let’s jump to the Kolkata Style Chicken Bharta recipe before another gibberish story strikes my inner (wannabe) writer to waste some more free space (blogging is not at all free though!).
Watch my elaborated step by step video recipe of Kolkata Style Chicken Bharta.
Read the entire recipe and Notes carefully before you start cooking.
Do make sure all ingredients are at room temperature (unless mentioned) and measured correctly in appropriate weighing scale or measuring instruments such as cups or spoons. Remember these are not our regular cups or spoons which we use in our daily life.
Let’s dedicate this Durga Puja Bengali Chicken Bharta Kolkata Style ke naam!
- To temper oil:
- White oil: 4 tbsp (See Tips)
- Bay leaf: 1, large
- Green cardamom: 4-5, pounded
- Clove: 3-4, pounded
- Cinnamon stick: 1 (1” long)
- Dry Spices: (powdered)
- Turmeric: 1 tsp
- Red chili: ½ tsp
- Coriander: ½ tsp
- Cumin: 1 tsp
- Tandoori masala: 1½ tsp
- Garam masala: 1 tsp
- Chicken, boneless: 250g, shredded or julienned
- Onion, finely chopped: 100g Or 1 large onion
- Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tbsp
- Tomato, finely chopped: 50g Or 1 small tomato
- Cashew paste: 2 tbsp
- Yogurt or curd: 2 tbsp, well beaten
- Fresh cream: 2 tbsp
- Butter: 1 tbsp
- Kasuri methi: 1 tsp
- Salt: 1 tsp or to taste
- Hot water: 1 cup
- Coriander leaves, finely chopped: 2 tbsp
- Hard-boiled egg: 2
- Start with chicken.
- Wash and clean boneless chicken pieces and pat them dry with kitchen towels and cut into thin strips (julienne cut).
- To begin cooking heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. When the oil is hot all the ingredients under ‘temper oil’ and allow to sizzle.
- Add chopped onion and sauté for 1 min or two. Add ginger-garlic paste and mix. Make little space in the middle of the pan and add 1-2 tsp of water. It will help to soften onion without burning them.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes and continue cooking until tomato is softened.
- Add all the dry spices except Tandoori masala and Garam masala and 2-3 tbsp of water straight into the pan. Or in a separate mixing bowl mix these spices with water to make a paste and add the paste to the pan.
- Add salt and little water and mix well. Once water evaporates add more water and cook till oil separates from masala.
- Add tandoori masala at this point if you are using. This is the secret ingredient of that restaurant style aroma and flavour in your home cooked curry. Cook till oil floats on top.
- Add chicken pieces and coat nicely with masala. Add water as required and cook till chicken is half done.
- Once chicken is tender add cashew paste and yogurt and mix. Use water if required. Cover the pan and simmer for 5-6 mins or until chicken is done.
- Once chicken is done nicely, add cream, garam masala, kasuri methi and dollop of butter. Stir lightly to incorporate everything.
- Finally some chopped fresh coriander leaves on top and serve hot with. Enjoy!
- Serve the hot Kolkata/Bengali style Chicken Bharta with Naan, Kulcha or Biryani or Pulao or Lachha Paratha. In fact Chicken Bharta tastes delicious with any roti or rice item.
- Store the excess chicken in an air-tight glass container and refrigerate. This will taste good upto 2-3 days.
Eat, Love, Enjoy and Repeat!!!