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Bengali Chicken Stew

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This stew is typical of everyday Bengali food — lightly spiced, with a broth-like gravy. It is served with steamed rice, which absorbs the thin gravy admirably.

Panch phoran is a mix of equal proportions of five aromatic seeds, including mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek and nigella. It can be premixed and stored indefinitely.

Serves6 to 8

Cooking Methodsauteeing

CostInexpensive

Moderate

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturegarlicky, savory, spiced

Ingredients

  • 12 skinless bone-in chicken thighs
  • 3½ tbsp (52 mL) oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) panch phoran (see Notes)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced peeled ginger root
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced garlic
  • 3 plum tomatoes (Roma), cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) wedges
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) cumin powder
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) turmeric
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
  • 8 oz (250 g) all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about 2)
  • 6 to 8 large cauliflower florets (about half a small head)

Instructions

Rinse chicken and pat dry thoroughly.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the oil over medium heat. Brown chicken, in 2 batches, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Remove with tongs and set aside.

Remove from heat. Scrape up any bits and pieces that may be stuck to the pan and add to chicken.

Add remaining oil to pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add panch phoran. When the seeds stop popping, in a few seconds, reduce heat to medium. Immediately add bay leaves, ginger, garlic and tomatoes and stir to mix. Add coriander, cumin and turmeric and sauté for 1 minute.

Add 4 cups (1 L) water. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken, making sure all pieces are submerged. Add salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 35 minutes.

Add potatoes and cauliflower. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink inside, 12 to 14 minutes.

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In place of panch phoran I used Madras Curry and a can of fire roasted tomatoes , outstanding. The family loved it.

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