Saturday, March 10, 2012

Recipe: Saoji Chicken

Recipe: Saoji Chicken by Puru *
Recipe: Saoji Chicken, a photo by Puru * on Flickr.
Via Flickr:
Nagpur is situated in the central India. Its the city with ZERO mile mark. It is known for many things - the summer heat, oranges and culinary delicacies to name a few. One such delicacy of Nagpur is the exotic, hot and spicy Saoji food. The cuisine originally belongs to a small community "Saoji Community" from Nagpur but with time that distinctive taste of Saoji food has made its place in each nagpurians life. The cuisine also called Saoji Waradi is famous for its hot flavours. Its irresistible taste gets into your mind and soul once you taste this food. It is a must try for all spicy food lovers and those who try will surely get addicted to its taste. The special ingredients used in preparation of curry for Saoji food include poppy seeds (Khus-Khus), powdered coconut, black pepper, dry coriander, bay leaves, grey cardamom, cinnamon, cloves etc.

Saoji food, prepared as non-vegetarian chicken or mutton dish, is characterized by the oily hot gravy; one can also prepare vegetarian dishes using the same saoji gravy/curry. The vegetarians can enjoy Potato, Paneer or Soya Chunk dishes in the Saoji Curry to relish its authentic taste. Saoji food, although being very spicy, is not harmful to the body and does not lead to any digestive problems, as the process of cooking has been modified to overcome any health problems.
-Taken from Article base

The following recipe is shared by my very good friend Mohini. She makes absolutely delicious Saoji chicken. She is half Saoji herself, her mother's side of family belong to the Saoji community. And needless to say she, like me, is from Nagpur!!!

  • Chicken - 1KG (with bone)
  • Red chilly powder - as per the required hotness
  • Turmeric Powder - as required
  • Oil - As required
  • Onions - 2 large
  • Pepper corns - 2 teaspoons
  • Black Cardamoms - 8 to 10
  • Cinnamon sticks - 5 to 6 (an inch and half in length)
  • Poppy seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Grated dry coconut - 1 small cup
  • Bay leaves - 2 to 3

  1. Marinate the chicken with 2-3 spoons red chilly powder, 2 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and keep it aside.
  2. Saute 2 sliced onions, 12 black peppercorns, 8 black cardmoms, 5-6 sticks of cinnamon and a spoon of poppy seeds (or peanuts if you dont have poppy seeds) till the onions turn brown (on low heat) then add a small cup of grated coconut and fry till the coconut also turns brown.
  3. Blend this masala (gravy) in a mixer with a little water to make a fine paste.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil. Saute a sliced onion with a couple of bay leaves.
  5. Once the raw onion smell is gone, put in the blended masala (above) and keep on stirring it till the oil leaves separates. Then put in some ginger-garlic paste. Once that is cooked mix in around 1 to 2 tablespoon of chilly powder(or more if u r brave enough), 1 tsp of turmeric powder and salt to taste. You may have to add more oil if required.
  6. Add the chicken, cover the vessel, put water on the lid. Keep on stirring in between. Cook till the chicken is done. Then put in as much warm water as the desired consistency. Dont make it too runny, The gravy should be hot, spicy and thick with visible oil. Thats SAOJI !!! :-)
  7. Check for seasoning and stir in a tsp of garam masala.

    Serve with bhakri or roti

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