How to make Authentic Chicken Dak Bungalow Curry (Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry) recipe – A Chicken curry with a fusion of Indian and British Flavours

Authentic Chicken Dak Bungalow Curry (Dak bungalow chicken curry) recipe step by step. This Chicken Curry was created in the British era in British Indian Dak Bungalows made with a few simple Indian spices. This recipe also explores the history behind making this flavorful chicken curry blending with Indian spices and British influences.

Image shows authentic Bengali style chicken dak bungalow curry

Chicken Dak Bungalow curry (Dak bungalow chicken curry) is quite similar to our Bengali chicken curry made with potatoes. Though here hard-boiled eggs are added extra. To impart robust flavors and enticing aromas, a medley of Indian whole spices is also employed in this chicken curry. Additionally, ginger and garlic always contributed to the dish’s aromatic profile. The addition of yogurt for the marination of chicken adds a tangy and creamy element to the curry though in the olden days tamarind was used in the place of yogurt.

In the British era, this Dak Bungalow chicken curry was often achieved through the inclusion of tamarind (rather than tomato or lemon juice). This tangy element of tamarind not only just enhances the dish’s taste but especially serves a practical purpose by aiding the preservation of the food at best in the absence of refrigeration.

What is Chicken Dak Bungalow Curry or Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry?

Chicken Dak Bungalow curry (Dak Bungalow Chicken curry) is an Anglo-Indian style traditional chicken curry that originated in “British Dak Bungalows” during the British colonial era in India.

Dak” pertains to “mail” or “postal,” while “Bungalow” denotes a type of house. These Dak Bungalows were established by the British as rest houses or lodges for postal officers, government officials, and travelers to take respite during their journeys.

This chicken curry is believed to have been created in those Dak Bungalows, where British officers and travelers would often request chicken dishes. Local cooks (or chefs) adapted their cooking techniques to suit the available ingredients, resulting in a unique fusion of Indian and British flavors.

As these Dak Bungalows were often situated in remote areas so access to fresh ingredients was limited. Consequently, the cooks at these rest houses had to exhibit resourcefulness and creativity with the ingredients (mostly spices) available to them. This Chicken curry was made with wild roosters as in those days wild roosters were easily available in nearby local markets in or around the areas of those Dak Bungalows. One more common ingredient used in this curry is red chili. Here red chili was used after removing the seeds and making a paste. That red chilli paste is used to make a red-rich gravy that is not spicy.

Authentic Chicken Dak Bungalow (Dak Bungalow chicken curry) Recipe – A Chicken curry with a fusion of Indian and British Flavours

Recipe by Moumita PaulCourse: Lunch, Dinner, Main courseCuisine: Bengali, Indian, BangladeshiDifficulty: Easy
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

300

kcal
Total time

55

minutes

Chicken Dak Bungalow curry is an old chicken curry recipe formed in the Indian British Dak bungalow’s kitchen with a blend of simple yet flavorsome Indian spices and British influences. A special addition of potatoes made it exactly like Bengali chicken curry and hard-boiled eggs make this preparation exceptional. Serve it with roti or rice,(steamed rice or Bengali fried rice), or even Bengali biryani.

Ingredients

  • For the marination of chicken
  • 600 g Chicken (bone-in pieces/leg pieces)

  • 1/2 cup (US cup) of yogurt 

  • 1/2 Lemon juice or 1 pureed tomato

  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon of red chili powder

  • 3 tablespoons of mustard oil

  • For making gravy
  • 6 tbsp Mustard Oil

  • Whole spices*

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste

  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste

  • 2-3 green chilies paste

  • 3/4 teaspoon of garam masala*

  • Salt for the curry, to taste

  • Other ingredients
  • 4 Hard boiled eggs (slit)

  • 3 Medium Potatoes (cut into half)

  • *Whole spices
  • 2 Bay leaves

  • 8 black peppers

  • 3 Dry red chillies

  • 1 pc of Cinnamon

  • *”Chicken Dak Bungalow special garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 5 green cardamom

  • 3 small pcs of cinnamon

  • 6 cloves

  • 1 Black cardamom

  • 1/2 Mace (Javitri)

    Dry roast all the above spices and grind them to make this homemade garam masala powder.

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice or tomato puree, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder(adjust to taste), and mustard oil.
  • Coat the chicken pieces (I used 6 pcs chicken legs, can use only breast pieces too) with the marinade, ensuring even coverage. 
  • Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or refrigerate for enhanced flavor.
  • Heat 6 tablespoons of mustard oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or kadai over medium-high heat.
  • Coat the potatoes (peeled and cut into halves) with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and fry until golden. Remove the potatoes from the pan and set aside.
  • Coat the hard-boiled eggs with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and fry until golden. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add the whole spices (bay leaves, black peppers, Dry red chillies, and Cinnamon), let them splutter.
  • Then add onion to the pan, and sauté until the onions become translucent.
  • Sear the marinated chicken pieces until they achieve a golden brown color.
  • Incorporate the ginger-garlic paste and green chilli paste with the chicken pieces. 
  • Sauté well with the spice mixture until the raw aroma of spices dissipates.
  • Add the potatoes to the pan, and stir well. 
  • Mix 1/2 tsp garam masala powder (made at home) along with 1 tsp salt. Mix all well. 
  • Cook for a few more minutes to blend the flavors into the gravy.
  • Cook the gravy until the oil starts separating from the mixture.
  • Add the eggs at this stage. Stir well.
  • Pour in approximately 1.5 -2 cups (US cup) of water to achieve your preferred consistency and add 1/2 tsp salt to taste. Stir well. 
  • Cover the pan and let the gravy simmer over low heat for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are tender and fully cooked.
  • Garnish your Bengali-style Chicken Dak Bungalow with 1/4 tsp garam masala powder or with fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot, accompanied by steamed rice, Bengali-style pulao, or Bengali biryani for an authentic Bengali twist.

Notes

  • If want to bring the exact taste must use tamarind, adding a 3-4 tsp tamarind pulp is enough just after the chicken and potatoes are fully cooked. Tamarind has an intense tanginess so must add a little salt and sugar (as per taste) just to balance the tangy twist.

Step-by-Step Instructions How to make Authentic Chicken Dak Bungalow:

First Marinating the Chicken:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice or tomato puree, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder(adjust to taste), and mustard oil.
  • Coat the chicken pieces (I used 6 pcs chicken legs) with the marinade, ensuring even coverage. 
  • Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or refrigerate for enhanced flavor.

Preparing Potatoes and eggs:

  • Heat 6 tablespoons of mustard oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or kadai over medium-high heat.
  • Coat the potatoes (peeled and cut into halves) with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and fry until golden. Remove the potatoes from the pan and set aside.
  • Coat the hard-boiled eggs with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and fry until golden. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside.

Cooking the chicken:

  • In the same pan, add the whole spices (bay leaves, black peppers, Dry red chillies, and Cinnamon), let them splutter.
  • Then add onion to the pan, and sauté until the onions become translucent.
  • Sear the marinated chicken pieces until they achieve a golden brown color.

Preparing Chicken dak Bungalow Curry:

  • Incorporate the ginger-garlic paste and green chilli paste with the chicken pieces. 
  • Sauté well with the spice mixture until the raw aroma of spices dissipates.
  • Add fried potatoes to the pan, and stir well. 
  • Mix 1/2 tsp garam masala powder (made at home) along with 1 tsp salt. Mix all well. 
  • Cook for a few more minutes to blend the flavors into the gravy.
  • Cook the gravy until the oil starts separating from the mixture.
  • Add fried boiled eggs at this stage. Stir well.

Simmering and Cooking:

  • Pour in approximately 1.5 -2 cups (US cup) of water to achieve your preferred consistency and add 1/2 tsp salt to taste. Stir well. 
  • Cover the pan and let the chicken simmer over low heat for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are tender and fully cooked.

Garnish and Serve:

  • Garnish your Bengali-style Chicken Dak Bungalow with 1/4 tsp garam masala powder or with fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot, accompanied by steamed rice or Bengali-style pulao for an authentic Bengali twist.

Indulge in the fusion of flavors in your homemade Bengali-style Chicken Dak Bungalow, and adjust the spice levels to suit your taste preferences. The authentic recipe actually captures the real essence of Dak Bungalow chicken with a Bengali twist.

Except for this chicken curry if you are searching for a few more Indian and Bengali chicken curry recipes, check the list below –

Bengali Chicken Kosha

Bengali Chicken curry (mangsher Jhol)

Chicken Masala (north Indian style)

Check Bengali aka Indian mutton curry recipes too.

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