Back in film school, I had a roommate who hailed from Thailand. She would often cook Thai delicacies to show off her culinary abilities. In exchange, I would also cook some Indian dishes to give her a taste of our flavour palette. It was during one such cooking extravaganza that she threw a baffling question at me. “How do you make an Indian chicken curry?”, she asked rather nonchalantly. However, her nonchalance soon gave way to bewilderment when I couldn’t narrate a single recipe for an Indian chicken curry.
I mean, how do you even define an Indian chicken curry? In our diverse country, every region, nay every household, has its own version of the quintessential chicken curry. And they all claim their version to be the best. However, it isn’t really a fight. What is noteworthy here is the variety of ingredients, spices and flavours these recipes use.
While the Bengalis prefer their jhol (curry) cooked in mustard oil, those down south add a dash of coconut to their chicken curry. Then you have the thick tomato-based gravies in North India. Add to that a few fine specimens from the Konkan, Goan and Parsi cuisine. And then, tell me, can you concoct a single recipe for the Indian chicken curry?
In my quest to find the best chicken curry of our motherland, I have come across many astonishing recipes. While some of them didn’t fit my taste buds, there were other that surprised them.