We all like chicken, don’t we? And what better form to imagine than a home cooked Chargha. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
Just to give you guys some background, Chargha is an authentic Pakistani dish; its origin: none other than the foodie city, Lahore!! Moist and crispy and full of aromatic spices. It’s traditionally served with fresh tandoori naan and raita (dip made with yogurt), and sometimes on a bed of rice with some salad greens.
I make this usually when I am having guests over or for family dinners. It’s very easy to make, I don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen, looks great, smells great and it will surely establish you as somewhat of an expert. I’m sure you can impress your future mother-in-law with this, obviously only if you want to :). The only thing to remember is that we have to marinate it over-night to infuse all the flavors and have a moist and succulent Chargha that will take you instantly to gastronomical heaven.
Some of the things you will need. I ground most of these spices but their non-pulverized version is more photogenic.
You will also need a whole chicken. Note, that the cuts are deep but not too deep, that’s the key to getting all the spices to work their magic.
This good lookin’ chicken is all marinated and ready to go in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
- Whole chicken – skin removed 1 kg
- Garlic paste 1 tsp
- Ginger paste 1 tsp
- Salt 1 – 1/2 tsp
- Red Chilli powder 1 – 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric powder 1 tsp
- Cumin powder 1 tsp
- Coriander powder 1/4 tsp
- Garam masala (all spice) 1/2 tsp
- Chaat masala 1 tsp
- Lemon Juice 6 tsp
- Red/Orange food color 1/2 tsp
- Meat tenderizer 1 tsp
- Oil 4 tbsp
- Wash the chicken and pat it dry.
- With a sharp knife, make a few slits on the breast, thighs and legs as shown in the image above. Don’t make too many as that may cause the chicken to fall apart.
- Mix all the ingredients, except the oil, in a bowl and then rub this marinade all over the chicken making sure to get all the slits and corners.
- Tie the legs with a thread, this will help retain the shape.
- Refrigerate for 18-24 hours.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge half an hour before starting, to bring it to room temperature.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan that is big enough for the chicken.
- Once the oil is hot, place the chicken in the pan, breast side up.
- Turn the heat on very low and cover with a tight lid.
- Do not add any water as the chicken will release some of its juices along with the marinade, which is enough to cook the chicken to perfection.
- Check after 15 minutes and make sure that the chicken does not stick.
- DO NOT move the chicken.
- If the chicken is still not tender after 25-30 minutes, let it cook for another 5 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven at 400F/205C.
- Very carefully take the chicken out.
- Brush the gravy on the chicken and put it under the oven grill (uncovered) for three-five minutes, depending on the level of crispiness you desire.
- Serve warm with your choice of sides.
Classics can be phenomenal when done right. So I’m hoping that this recipe will be as simple and delicious for you as it is for me. Perfect for the days you want to have nothing but a stove-top roasted chargha at home.
Aa jao bachon “Chargha” tayyar hai !!!!