I have been making this chicken dish for many years now, having written down the recipe from a magazine (I think its Femina, but not sure and hence can’t give due credit). But till recently, I had no clue that this dish had a colourful history behind it and is a globally famous one!
This is a simple and flavourful Indian chicken curry and history has it this dish was greatly enjoyed by the British soldiers and officers during the Colonial rule and it got passed on the Americans through the rampant spice trade of those times. Recipes for this chicken curry have been found in many American cookbooks dating as early as 1857. In fact, the dish has become so famous and adored in the USA that today, it is a part of the United States Army Meal, Ready-to-eat packs in honour of George.S.Patton who was in turn introduced to this dish by none other than Franklin.D.Roosevelt (Google Gyan!)
Many Indian and International chefs have included this recipe in cookbooks and cooking shows. And for the same reason, there are so many variations of the recipe too.
But at heart, the country captain is basically an earthy, rustic chicken curry flavoured with browned onions and curry powder. The gravy is delicious; mop it up with bread or pour over a bowl of steaming white rice…..heavenly!
1. Chicken legs – 6
2. Vegetable Oil – 3tbsp
3. Onion – 2 large, finely chopped
4. Ginger – 1 inch, grated
5. Garlic – 4 cloves, grated
6. red chilli powder – 1 tsp
7. coriander powder – 2 tsp
8. fennel/perinjeera powder – ½ tsp
9. black mustard seed powder – ½ tsp
10. salt – to taste
11. tomato puree – make fresh puree from 1 large ripe tomato
12. malt vinegar – 1 tsp
13. thick coconut milk – ½ cup or enough to thicken the gravy
Note – You can use any type of chicken, boned and boneless pieces though I used only the leg pieces.
• Heat oil in a pressure cooker/pan and add chopped onions and sauté till light brown. Then add ginger-garlic paste and sauté again for another minute. Next add red chilli powder, coriander powder, jeera powder and mustard seed powder and sauté again for 30 seconds.
• Add the chicken pieces and salt and sear on high flame for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add tomato puree and cook again for 5 minutes.
• Add a dash of vinegar and cook the chicken till juicy and tender. I cooked using the pressure cooker and it took 2 whistles to cook the chicken. No extra water is added as water gets released while pressure cooking. But if you are using the pot method, then you may need to add a little water for cooking the chicken pieces.
• Remove from heat and add thick coconut milk extract. Place back on heat and mix well; cook on low flame for a minute or two. Do not boil as this can result in the coconut milk splitting.
• Serve hot with rice, rotis or bread.