Seyal Chicken

My passion for cooking started when  I came to the States with my husband about 8 years ago.   My husband came on work and I like a dutiful wife followed.  We were married for little less than 2 years then.  Coming from Mumbai India I had no idea as how to cook or manage a house since we have so much help.   But instead of feeling anxious, I was super excited.  Happy, because we were on our own and here was my chance to make sure my husband never missed home because of  a home cooked meal.  I was totally in charge .

I have learnt most of my cooking from my mother in law who is a super cook.  Her recipe collection comes from her mother, mother in law , a neighbor , a friend.  She will never feel embarrassed or awkward to take a recipe from anyone and will promtly write it down.

I did have a cookbook with all my mom in law’s recipes that were handwritten by me while in mumbai,   the daily fare that was cooked at our place.  In fact now it is a sought after book being xeroxed by most of my friends, relatives  and kids who are off to college.  A recipe book that has simple home cooked meals that are comforting.

I still remember the first day in boston when we moved to our apartment I made my mom in law’s famous chicken Seyal curry with store bought rotis , boondi dahi and bhindi bhaji.   My husband was wowed by it.  I hope you enjoy it too.

Chicken Seyal:

1and half pound chicken(approximately)

3 medium sized onions chopped finely

2 medium sized tomatoes grated

2 -3 green chillies finely chopped ( if I am making this for my 5 year old, I slit the chilly and remove the seeds and just add 1 chilly instead of 3.  Adjust the spice level according to your taste).

1 1/2 tsp ginger paste

1/2  tsp garlic paste   ( I like to make the ginger and garlic paste at home) tastes fresh unlike the store bought one or simply have fresh ginger and  garlic at home and grate it on a handy zester.

1/4 cup clean , washed cilantro ( finely chopped)

3 green cardamoms

2 -3 cloves

1 inch cinnamon stick.

4 leaves of kadi patha (more or less, be casual about it.)

3/4 tsp haldi

1 1/2 tsp dhaniya powder

1/2 tsp red chilly powder

1/2 tsp garam masala powder

3 to 4 tablespoon of dahi( yogurt)

1/4 cup oil

salt for taste.

Heat oil in a vessel.  Add the cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon stick. throw in the onions.

Brown the onions, a rich brown color.  Add ginger, garlic paste, green chillies and chopped cilantro.

saute well for 2 mins.

Then add the tomatoes and cook till the oil separates

Add the chicken and continue to saute for 5 to 10 mins.  Add salt according to your taste as this will help season the chicken well.

Then the haldi, kadi patha, continue to saute.

Add the dhaniya and red chilly powder.

Then add the yogurt and saute for about 10 mins.  Just bhuno it.( saute it)

add a cup of water, cover and cook.  It will take about 15 to 20 mins for the chicken to cook. after the chicken is cooked add garam masala powder.

I like to serve this with roti but also makes a great biryani if u have any left over chicken.

I prefer to have the gravy thick but it also can be eaten with white steamed rice.

Seyal Biryani:

1 cup  Rice:  Heat oil in a vessel.  Add a small piece of Dalchini, 3 lavangs, 3 green cardamoms and tej patha.  salt for taste.  After the 1 minute add the rice and saute making sure all the rice grains have been coated well.

Add 2 cups of water and cook the rice .

Layer: Chicken on the bottom, rice on top and sprinkle some shah jeera on top . cover tightly with a lid or foil.  Bake at 350 degrees in the oven for 20 to 25 mins.

ready to serve.

Note:  This can be made out of mutton too.  The cooking time for the mutton will be longer.  I use a pressure cooker when cooking mutton.  Same great taste and less time.

  1. Note: While browning the onions you could add a little salt as this will help them to brown faster.   Sometimes, I like to keep one day to just frying onions and then store them in the refrigerator.  That way, it will save you time.

If using onions that have been browned already, reduce the amount of oil while cooking the chicken.


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