Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chicken Chaap ( Chicken in a rich-aromatic gravy)

Today I am going to share again a recipe of chicken preparation called "Chicken Chanp or Chaap". Let me first say thanks to my friend Swagata, whom I received the base recipe from. It was the picture of her wonderful preparation which attracted me towards this dish and later I modified or added a few things on my own. In Bengali, another meaning of “chaap” is pressure and there is a common phrase called “chaap nis na” or don’t take pressure. But trust me, this dish won’t be a “chaap” to you. It’s actually very easy to make, though it has some specific steps for preparation, they are pretty simple.  

Chicken Chap is a Mughlai dish and this Awadhi cuisine introduced to Bengali by the Nawabs of Bengal in the early eighteenth century. It didn’t take long to become very popular to the foodie Bengali. Several Mughlai restaurants in Kolkata like Arsalan, Aminia and Shiraz are very famous for their Chicken Chaap. If you and your family love Mughlai taste, it’s an absolutely must-try recipe.

Chicken chap is the spicy and juicy chicken preparation, where chicken leg quarters or large pieces of chicken are marinated with hung curd and some spices. Then they are fried and cooked. This is a very rich, aromatic dish which has creamy-thick gravy.  As per original recipe, you are supposed to cook the Chicken with ghee (clarified butter) but I just added little ghee with the oil, only for flavor. If you want richer version, you may add more ghee. The first part is marinating chicken and then cooking slowly in a covered pan. In this process, oil would release a lot and start floating over the gravy. Other most important ingredients for this dish are poppy seeds, cashew paste, Kewra water and a special type of “garam masala”. The kewra water has a powerful aroma, so don't use much. Chicken Chaap is generally served or best enjoyed with some Biryani or Naan or tandoori rotis.

Recipe of Chicken Chaap or ChaaNp ( Chicken cooked in rich aromatic gravy) Serves - 4 

Ingredients : 

Chicken - 2.5 lb / around 1 kg cut into big pieces, preferably 4 leg quarters 

Hung curd / Greek Yogurt - 1 cup
Onion - 1 big sliced 
Garlic paste - 1 1/2 tbsp
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Kashmiri Red Chili Powder - 2 tbsp
Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp or as per your tolerance 
Coriander powder - 1 tsp

Poppy seeds - 2 tbsp

Whole Cashew - 15 pieces

Cardamom - 4 
Cinnamon - 1 inch 
Clove - 4 
Javitri (Mace ) - 3-4 blades 
Star anise - 1 

Oil + Ghee (clarified butter ) - 4 + 2
Kewra water - few drops

Method :

1.. Take cardamom, cinnamon, clove, mace and star anise, dry roast them. Let it cool down first, then grind it to a fine powder. Set it aside the spice powder.

2. Take a big pan, add oil and heat it up. Once oil is ready, add the sliced onion and saute the onion till it changes color to light brown. Turn off the gas and let it cool down. Once it is at room temperature, put it in the blender and make a paste.

3. Soak the poppy seeds and cashew  in half cup of water for 10 to 15 minute and make a paste.

4. Take the chicken pieces, wash and pat dry with kitchen towel. Take a big bowl add the chicken to it then add the yogurt, salt, sugar, the onion paste, garlic paste, ginger paste, Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, the poppy seeds and cashew paste ( and a pinch of corn flour or plain flour to avoid curdling from yogurt)  and mix them well. Let it rest for 4 to 6 hrs. 

5. Add oil and ghee to the pan and heat it up, once it is ready, add the chicken pieces from the marinade. Saute the chicken piece for couple of minutes, then add the marinade also. Stir it occasionally and let it cook over medium to high flame and cover it with a lid. Check it in few minutes and again give some stirs until oil comes up from the sides of pan and chicken gets soft and tender.

6. Check the seasoning, add 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of the spice powder ( garam masala), add few drops of kewra water. Give some stirs and mix it well. Chicken Chaap is ready, serve hot with Biryani or Naan or tandoori rotis. Enjoy!!

Note : You can make 'Mutton Chaap' following the same recipe, add one cup of grated raw papaya while marinating mutton. 

Related recipes, you may like :

Easy Yogurt Chicken

Murgh Badami ( Chicken in Almond Sauce )

Chicken Korma ( Chicken in a Rich Aromatic Yogurt - Nut Based Sauce )


  1. nice one rumela.....loved ur blog
    I'm lakshmi ...actually even i author a blog called'm following you....would be grateful if you follow me in return....

  2. what is kewra water? Where would i get it in the US? Looks like a mouth watering recipe. will sure try it and let you know.

    1. Kewra water / kewra essence is an extract that's distilled from pandanus flowers, and used to flavor meats, drinks, and desserts in India and Southeast Asia. It is available in any India grocery stores or you can but it from amazon too.

  3. Thanks for the recipe.I made it last night and it was absolutely yummy everyone loved it.

  4. Tried it and it's absolutely a killer dish.... loved it..thanks for the wonderful recipe Rumela....

  5. is there any substitute for kewra water which i cn put in this dish???

    1. Anjeleca, you can try this dish without Kewra water too, it only adds a fragrant, otherwise taste will be the same. :)

  6. Tried it last night and we loved it! The flavor and taste is too good! Thanks!

  7. I came across your blog while looking for some Indian food recipes and liked a lot. How amazing! I will keep an eye out for all your recipes :)


  8. Looks so delicious.. am going to try this out for sure. Thank you for sharing this wonderful creation.. :))
    chowringhee kathi roll