A true roller coaster of flavours!
Some plates are really gateway to the Island’s soul. And such is this one I am about to share with you all. All about the past , heartfelt moments from the rustic Mauritian kitchen. Mauritian Chicken Kalia or Kalia Poulet is not just spicy but to me among the most spicy Mauritian Food out there. If you are looking to feel the heat of the Island, the warmth of the people and their exotic hospitality. Then trust me, this is the plate to dive into with bare hands and also bravely! Kalia is normally a Bengali dish but with years made its way through the Mauritian Heritage from kitchen to kitchen. Chicken Kalia has an undeniable significance in the hearts of many Mauritians for it holds soulful stories from the childhood times really.
I like to call this dish ” Kalia Mamé ”. A little odd but honestly that’s the best Kalia I have eaten so far in my life. To note ”Mamé ” means Uncle in Tamil . My father’s best friend, almost like a family uncle , does amazing Mauritian Food catering services. And sometimes used to send a big tuppwerware container full of luscious gravy and falling off the bone Chantecler Chicken Kalia our way home whenever he is passing nearby. Man we would go crazy just looking at Mum lifting that lid off because those flavours just hit you hard really at the slightest opening.
Mauritian Chicken Kalia is probably the most spicy Mauritian dish out there after the Mauritian Briyani of course. But then the key to a great Kalia remains in how well you balance the spices and flavours. Sometimes a little too much on the spices get you with a bitter taste and not so enjoyable. I will try to make the recipe an easy one for you all. Because I know many of you who share so many nostalgic moments when Mama would make Chantecler Chicken at home for dinner especially Kalia. I learned how to make it from ”Mamé” really inclusive those little tips he wasn’t willing to let go that easily. The fondest memories I have when Mama would make chicken for dinner at home or even lunch was definitely the aromas of the chicken slow cooking in the marinade of spices.Death by aromas! I really have two servings of these always and trust me you can even feed on gravy and rice solely so much it is delicious.
Mauritian Chicken Kalia – Kalia Poulet
Preparation time : 1hour ( rest ) + 35 mins
Cook time : 45 mins
Total time : 2 hr 15 mins
- 1.5kg whole Chantecler Chicken
- 125g of plain yogurt / greek yogurt
- 5 hard boiled eggs
- 2 large onions sliced
- 150 g of tomato puree / roughly 2-3 medium sized tomatoes chopped
- juice of 1/2 a lime/lemon
- curry leaves ( optional )
- a bunch of mint leaves
- a bunch of coriander leaves
- 3-4 large potatoes ( diced )
- 1 cup green peas ( optional )
- 1 tbsp ghee ( clarified butter )
- vegetable oil
- salt according to your taste
- 3 cups of water ( 75cl )
Kalia Mariande (spices) :
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks (break into halves)
- 5 cardamom pods
- 8 – 10 cloves
- 4 tbsp of ground cumin
- 3 tbsp of ginger/garlic paste
- 3 tbsp of garam masala powder ( not curry powder )
- 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
- 1/2 tbsp of fennel seeds
- 2 green chillies / 2 dry red chillies split into halves
- 1/2 tbsp of turmeric powder
How to make the recipe :
- In a large bowl/container marinate the Chantecler Chicken pieces by using all of the above mentioned marinade spices as well as mint leaves and the yogurt altogether.
- Mix thoroughly coating the chicken pieces in the mixture generously and leave to rest for roughly 1 hour maximum.
- Meanwhile diced the potatoes and sliced the onions. On a low heat, fry one at a time your onions in ghee + vegetable oil until crispy brown followed by the potatoes respectively. Reserve.
- Place a large cooking pot/pan to a medium heat and pour in the Chantecler Chicken marinade all in one go.
- Gently allow to fry in the oil and cover to cook for 15 mins.
- Next add the tomato puree,water and potatoes and cover to simmer for 30 mins more.
- Occasionally keep stirring and add more water according to your liking ( more gravy )
- Before turning off the gas, sprinkle fresh coriander leaves over for more fragrance, juice of half a lime, fried onions , the hard boiled eggs and peas.
- Stir carefully one last time making sure everything is well coated into the gravy.
- Leave for 5 mins more to slow cook so as to enhance the flavours of the Kalia gravy.
- Serve over white fragrant fluffy rice and a salad of your choice.
Note : You can use any Chantecler chicken cuts of your choice but most preferably those with bones as they tend to be more juicy and very tender.
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