Two iconic chicken dishes you should make for Easter

An Anglo-Indian stew for breakfast and a Syrian Christian roast for lunch – there’s no such thing as too much chicken.

Written by Maria Jose Martin | Mumbai | Updated: March 26, 2016 12:09 pm
Chicken Masala Roast by Maria Jose Martin. Chicken Masala Roast by Maria Jose Martin.

You don’t want regular fried chicken on Easter. Festivals are all about tradition – so you want well marinated, juicy chicken that has some history to speak of. Syrian Christian cuisine is one of the finest cuisines of Kerala and Anglo-Indian cuisine, of course, has roots in both Chennai and Kolkata. Try these two recipes that tap the tradition of both these cultures and are cooked on Easter day.

Chicken Masala Roast

What attracted me to this particular chicken recipe, which is adapted from a Syrian Christian cookbook, is that it doesn’t use coconut in any form, unless you count coconut oil. It’s a pretty simple recipe and yet high on flavour. Though it has a rich masala, the taste of masala isn’t overpowering. All the spices come together to give it a balanced taste. And it goes great with everything from ghee rice to tomato rice to roti and puttu. Happy Easter!

Ingredients (Serves: 4-5)
800 gms- Chicken (measured after cleaning)
A small piece of Cinnamon
3 pods- Cardamom
6- Cloves
1/2 tsp- Fennel seeds
1/2 tsp- Black peppercorns
1 tbsp- Chilli powder
1.5 tbsp- Coriander powder
1/2 tsp- Turmeric powder
1 tbsp- Grated/crushed garlic
1/2 tbsp- Grated/crushed ginger
1 tbsp- Vinegar
1 cup- Hot water
3/4 to 1 cup- Sliced small onion
Curry leaves
Salt
Oil – I used coconut oil (refer notes)

Method:
* Grind together cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds, pepper, chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder with 3-5 tbsp of water to a smooth paste.

* Marinate the chicken pieces with the ground masala, grated ginger and garlic, vinegar, salt and curry leaves. Add hot water to this. Mix well.

* Bring it to a boil and reduce the flame.

* Cover and cook till the chicken is done and the gravy is reduced to ¼ cup.

* Heat oil in a pan and add sliced small onion and curry leaves. Fry it till the small onion turns golden brown.

* Add the cooked chicken along with the gravy.

* Cook it on low flame for 7-8 mins till the gravy is almost dry, and the chicken pieces are coated well with the masala. Stir in between. Remove from gas.

Notes:
Though I’ve used coconut oil in this recipe, you can use any oil that suits your requirements. However for authentic Kerala taste, coconut oil is the best. The dish has no gravy, but if you prefer you can adjust the consistency to suit your requirements.

Chicken Buffarth by Bridget-White Kumar. (Express photo by Jithendra M) Chicken Buffarth by Bridget-White Kumar. (Express photo by Jithendra M)

Chicken Buffarth (Breakfast Stew on Easter Morning )

This wholesome stew was a must have in Anglo-Indian homes for breakfast on Easter Sunday. It goes well with bread or buns.

Ingredients (Serves: 6)
1 kg- Chicken
1 large cabbage cut into 4
3 carrots cut into medium pieces
2 potatoes peeled and chopped
1 tsp- Turmeric powder
2 tsp- Salt
4 large onions sliced
6 green chilies slit lengthwise
1 tsp- Crushed garlic
1 tsp- Chopped ginger
½ cup- Vinegar
½ cup- Oil or ghee
1 tsp- Spice powder
2 tsp- Chilly powder
1 tsp- Pepper powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp- Cumin powder

Method
* Cut the chicken into about 8 big pieces.

* Wash well and add all the above ingredients to it. Mix well.

* Heat the oil in a large pan. Add cabbage, potatoes and carrots.

* Add the chicken mixed with all the ingredients.

* Add 3 cups of water. Cover the pan and cook first on high heat then simmer on low heat for 30 minutes till the chicken pieces are well cooked and the buffarth gives out a nice aroma. Serve hot.

Recipe by Bridget-White Kumar. Kumar is a cook book author, Anglo-Indian food consultant and culinary historian. She has authored seven recipe books on Anglo-Indian cuisine. Her area of expertise is in Colonial Anglo-Indian Food and she has been reviving the old forgotten dishes of the British Raj on her blog. Her recipe books are a means of preserving for posterity, the very authentic tastes and flavours of Colonial ‘Anglo’ India, besides recording for future generations, the unique heritage of the pioneers of Anglo-Indian cuisine.

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