Goalondo Steamer Curry. The story behind how a boatman’s unpretentious chicken curry with the most basic of ingredients entered culinary folklore.
Unpartitioned Bengal of the 1880s. Blessed by fertile alluvial deltas, thanks to the generous munificence of her rivers. Calcutta and Dacca have started to flourish into bustling metropolises and the largely rural agrarian societies are slowly trickling into the cities. The British are now the indisputable rulers of the land and the impact of the Industrial Revolution, metamorphosing English lives forever in the tiny island, is now beginning to hit the Indian shores.
Enter the Railways.
The advent of the Railways stirs up the sleepy hamlet of Goalondo on the banks of the mighty Padma. Every morning a steam engine from Calcutta, spewing black venom into the otherwise sylvan pristine environs, arrives in this listless non-descript town with weary passengers enroute to Dacca and other far-flung towns further east. The newly constructed railway line terminates in Goalondo , passengers disembark here to take the steamer across the seething, turbulent Padma waters onward to Narayanganj and Dacca.
The overnight steamer journey to Narayanganj is arduous, the Padma indomitable, the ancient boatman sings a haunting melancholy strain, his flickering lantern a solitary beacon in the Stygian darkness around, his adolescent helper gets busy to cook a rustic fowl curry, fiery yet flavourful, with basic spices that he ever has supplies of in his makeshift decrepit steamer kitchen. To go with rice. To feed the starved and enervated passengers. The food, simple yet delectable, conquers their hearts and adds the crescent of a satiated smile to their travel-fatigued faces.
This is the story of the Goalondo Steamer Curry. A boatmans simple fowl curry, unpretentious, hearty yet delicious, that over time permeated into Bengali households and made its way to the exalted constellations of culinary folklore.
Try the recipe, you would not be disappointed for sure !!!
Goalondo Steamer Curry
- 750 g chicken , curry cut pieces
- 6 - 7 onion , coarsely chopped
- 3 tbs garlic , coarsely chopped
- 3 tbs ginger , coarsely chopped
- 7 - 8 dry red chillies , shredded into small pieces
- 7 - 8 green chillies , coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup mustard oil
- salt to taste
- Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients, keep aside for an hour.
- Heat your pan, add the marinated chicken to it. Cover the pan with lid and cook on a low flame till the chicken is tender.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.