We Bengalis relish our Bhapas, don’t we ?
And what an eclectic collection of bhapas to flaunt and relish !!!
The gorgeous Ilish wrapped in lau pata. And steamed lazily to perfection.
Or the delicate bhetki smothered in ginger and coriander paste. And cooked languorously over a furiously boiling pot of water.
Or the quintessential Bengali Chhana Bhapa, pristine homemade chhana caressed with the sweetness of grated coconut and the piquant zing of mustard, drizzled with mustard oil and cooked on bhape.
Not to forget, Grandma’s Nolen Gurer Bhapa Sandesh, a mellifluous symphony of chhana and Nolen Gur, steamed to a sublime ecstasy.
But this morning, chilly and grey, the sun deciding to play truant and the wind in a frolic, I yearn for fire, something sinfully spicy.
And a lonka bhapa murgi it is that I decide to cook.
Inspired by the wicked lonka bhapa murgi we had at Oh! Calcutta a while back. And savoured every morsel of it.
Lonka Bhapa Murgi. Chicken steamed with chillies three ways – green chilli paste, chilli pickle and chilli pickle oil. And all that fiendish fire sobered, just slightly, by an euphoria of grated coconut. Tear-jerking spicy, yet so delectable, that you keep digging for more !!
Lonka Bhapa Murgi (Chicken Steamed with Chilli Pickle)
- 300 g chicken boneless
- 1 tbsp green chili paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 11/2 tsp ginger paste
- 3 tbsp coconut paste
- 3 tbsp hung yogurt whipped
- 1 tbsp chilli pickle oil
- 1 tbsp chili pickle
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp mustard oil
- salt to taste
- 2 banana leaves
- Wash and clean the chicken, pat dry. Cut into medium strips.
- Marinate the chicken with lemon juice, 1/2 tsp garlic paste, 1/2 tsp ginger paste, 1/2 tsp salt, keep aside for 2-3 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, keep aside.
- In a bowl take the whipped yogurt, coconut paste, green chilli paste, chili oil, chili pickle, the remaining ginger and garlic paste, salt and mustard oil. Mix well. Add the chicken strips to this marinade, keep aside for another 2-3 hours.
- Cut off the central vein of the banana leaves, trim the edges. Warm the leaves over a very low flame, taking care to not char or burn the leaves. (This softens the leaves and keeps them flexible, making the parcels is much easier that way.) Cut the leaves to small pieces.
- Take a piece of banana leaf, add a small portion of the chicken to the middle. Top with a little coconut-chilli pickle marinade, finish with a green chilli if you like it hot. Wrap the banana leaf from all four sides to make a parcel, secure with twine.
- Gently place the banana leaf parcels in a bamboo steamer, cook on steam for 15-17 minutes.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.