What is this dahi chicken that you keep talking about? The Little Jack Horner Meals series

Day two of eating red rice and I was sold. Since then I have have had it with
other accompaniments too. There’s the stomach and bit of liver in the plate as I had bought a whole chicken for the dahi chicken. The neck was there too. Pieces I’ve had while growing up.

What is this dahi chicken asked someone, or quite a few people actually, when I put up a picture of my lunch on Instagram the other day.

The point of that picture was that I had made red rice for the second time at home and was happy with it this time too. Cooking the rice was not too painful. I soaked it for an hour. Boiled it and then poured out the excess water. This took more time than my regular basmati but I ate it with a clearer conscience. Having had red rice earlier in Keralite and Goan restaurants, I was no stranger to it. One advantage is that a smaller amount of it fills me which is good as I have been told down the amount of carbs that I eat. Like my basmati, I buy my red rice loose too from Vijay Stores in Bandra's Pali Market.

To go with the red rice, I had made what I call 'dahi chicken'. That's what piqued the interest of many.

The dahi chicken that we made last night. We have started using a whole chicken
Keep the legs and wings for grills and put the rest into the curry

We made dahi chicken last evening too. This time I had it with some plain aata (wholewheat) chappatis made by our cook, Banu. When I looked at the bowl of chicken, what struck me was how rich and creamy and restaurant-like the curry looked. It had just a tablespoon of oil in it, no cream, no food colours, no coconut milk, very little garam masala and chilli powder. Yet, the dish was so flavourful. The overriding flavour profile is a tangy one but not excessively so.

Made it with just drumsticks the first time around

I thought I will share the 'recipe' here though frankly there's not much to it. It is just dahi and chicken. And spices of your choice. Dahi, of course, is curd and we use packaged ones.

Still, here goes

Dahi chicken recipe

Ingredients (for 2)

600 g chicken on the bone and cut into pieces, 100 g dahi, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon each of coriander, turmeric and red chilli powder and salt, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1/2 a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds, 1  red onion, 1 teaspoon of ginger paste and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves, 1 dried red chilli, 1 dried bay leaf (tez patta)

Marinate the chicken in 100 g dahi, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon each of coriander, turmeric and red chilli powder and salt for at least half an hour. You can changed the spice mix to your taste. I once added some saffron at the end.

  • Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pressure pan
  • Add 1/2 a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds and the chilli and the bay leaf
  • Add 1 sliced red onion and cook till the onion is soft and translucent
  • Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste
  • Add the marinated chicken, reduce the flame and add let it cook while you stir gently. 
  • Add half a cup of water. Then close the lid of the pressure pan/ cooker and increase the heat. 
  • Wait for 3 to 4 whistles and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes on a low flame and you are done. The time required depends on the quality of the chicken and the functioning of the pressure cooker and hence the broad time ranges
  • Add the coriander leaves
Pressure pan makes life easy