I am a fan of simple cooking. I like to use few ingredients in my recipes. Besides, I like to cook quick. It perhaps has something to do with my nature. I am an extremely impatient and notoriously restless person. If I should take upon myself an elaborate recipe with mind-numbing intricacies involved, the chances are I would get bored midway, or impatient, or both and naturally lose interest. But that is not to say that I am not a fan of food made in the most complex ways, but in that case I prefer leaving the cooking to someone else. Again I love slow-cooked food, slow-cooking brings about a huge difference to the food, and many of the dishes I prepare draws life from the goodness of slow cooking. But slow-cooked food is not necessarily elaborate.
Anyway tonight I cooked a dish which is not exactly uncommon, not in Bengali households, but different people do it differently. And again it is one of the simplest of recipes I prepare. The dish is called Kancha Lanka Murgi, basically chicken flavoured with green chilies. Now my aunt makes a chicken curry, a recipe handed down to her by Amma, her mother and a wonderful cook, that is predominantly, but moderately, flavoured by Green Chilies. It is her version of Kancha Lanka Murgi. She pressure cooks the chicken with regular ingredients like onions, garlic, ginger etc along with a potli (a cloth pouch, full of green chilies.As a result the heat from the chilies do not overwhelm the dish but the aroma is infused in the curry. Later, she sqeezes out some of fiery juices from the potli into the curry. It is a beautiful curry, perfect for a summer afternoon,but not my idea of Kancha Lanka Murgi.
Again, I have also had the version with coriander leaves and green chilies but although I love the way the dish tastes, I do not think it does justice to the name. Fresh coriander has it own strong aroma and does take some of the spotlight away from the Kancha Lanka,that is green chilies. In my mind Kancha Lanka Murgi should be all about, well Kancha Lanka. So in my recipe I use as few as 3-4 main ingredients and the Kancha Lanka is the hero, all the way.This one is one fiery dish which will fortify you for the summers. One of those dish you can't stop eating despite the huffing and puffing and the running nose and watery eyes. I suggest a glass of chilled sweet lemonade on the side but then you just can;t have enough of this. Any heat wave on its way, bring it on I say.
- De-seed most of the chilies, leaving a few with seeds intact (I left about 6-7 with seeds on) and make a coarse paste.
- Marinate chicken with all ingredients, except lime juice for 2 hours.
- Heat ghee in a pan and add the chicken and cook on high heat for a few minutes. Reduce he, cover and cook until done.
- Remove cover and bring the gravy down to a consistency of your liking. Adjust salt if needed.
- Add the lime juice. Stir well.
- Serve with, and only with plain boiled rice. On second thoughts crispy paranthas might make a good match too.