I should call this post sukha chicken for bachelors because of how easy it is to cook this dish. But plenty of bachelors are great cooks so I’ll just say that this is arguably one of the easiest chicken dishes to make. Perfect for newbies, it is a go-to dish in a pinch or when time’s at a premium. Sukha chicken or dry chicken is simple and yet disproportionately chock full of flavour.
It’s pointless to write a treatise on something so straightforward so I’ll keep it short. All you need are spices from your store cupboard – staples of the Indian kitchen such as black pepper, ground coriander, cinnamon, aniseed (saunf), and cloves, the three musketeers, onion, ginger and garlic and a spoon or two of yoghurt. That’s it. Whizz the spices into a thick paste, marinate the chicken for a bit or for as long as you like and cook it for 15-20 minutes (it basically cooks itself). I think the original creator of sukha chicken was a genius. It takes some knowing to produce such a punchy, boldly delicious dish with such a frugal use of ingredients and without a lengthy, step-by-step cooking process. Such dishes are precious.
Sukha chicken or sukha chicken masala as it is also called, is a dish that can be built upon. If you want a hint of tartness, pop in a couple of chopped tomatoes, for a creamy curry, pour in coconut milk or add cashew paste. It is a foundation on which other layers of flavour can be erected. I often do it, as do many other home cooks. Once you’ve made a recipe a few times and know the nature of the dish, you will know the add-on ingredients that will resonate with it.
Sukha chicken, as the name indicates is a dry dish with the ground masala lightly coating the succulent meat. At least that is how I like it. If you’d like, you could cook the marinated chicken with a little water till done; remove the pieces and fry them in a separate pan till well browned and then add it back into the thick sauce in the first pan.If you go this route, be careful not to render your chicken stringy and chewy by over-frying. However you decide to make it, you are sure to enjoy the effortless cooking and its delicious result. And that’s all she wrote.
- 1 kg skinless chicken, bone-in cut into medium-sized pieces
- 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
For the masala paste
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 8-10 cloves of garlic
- 2-3 green chillies
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2-3 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 7-8 black peppercorns
- 1½ piece of cinnamon
- 3-4 cloves
- 1/2 tsp aniseed (saunf)
- Using a little water, grind all the masala ingredients to a thick paste.
- Put the chicken in a glass bowl, add the yoghurt, ground masala paste and salt, and mix well to coat all the pieces. Cover and rest for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.
- Heat the ghee or oil in a wide pan, put in the chicken, cover and cook on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes (stirring once or twice in between) till the chicken is cooked.
- Now take off the lid, raise the flame to high and fry the chicken till you have a thick sauce coating the lightly browned pieces.