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railway chicken curry

my railway chicken curry, infused with mustard oil and other aromatics; served with khichuri - basmati rice cooked with red lentil and black cumin (kala jeera) seeds...

"Railway Chicken/Mutton Curry was developed by the chefs of the Indian Railways during the British Raj keeping in mind the delicate palates of the British people. It was first introduced on the Frontier Mail (Golden Temple Mail) run by the Western Railway during pre-independence era. This milder version of the classic chicken/mutton curry was not too spicy yet an amazing fusion dish blending the taste of both Indian and English spices. The Railway Chicken/Mutton Curry was served with rice, bread or dinner rolls.
This curry is mostly prepared using English spices such as pepper, bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and Indian condiments such as chilies, cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic etc. It has it’s own distinctive aroma from the flavor of mustard oil, fennel, whole spices, coriander, cumin, vinegar etc. This Railway Mutton Curry was cooked in the railway canteen and served mostly in the recreation rooms and first class dining cars on the train during British Raj." -- Alka Jena
Khichuri or Khichri [Hindi: खिचड़ी, Bengali: খিচুড়ি)] is a dish in South Asian cuisine made of rice and lentils (dal), but other variations include bajra and mung dal khichri.The Greek king Seleucus during his campaign in India (305-303 BC), mentioned that rice with pulses is very popular among people of the Indian subcontinent. Strabo also notes that Indian food mainly consisted of rice porridge and a beverage made of rice, presently called Arak.
The Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta mentions khichdi as a dish in India composed of rice and mung beans, during his stay around 1350. khichdi is described in the writings of Afanasiy Nikitin, a Russian adventurer who travelled to the Indian subcontinent in the 15th century. It was very popular with the Mughals, especially Jahangir. Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th-century document, written by Mughal Emperor Akbar's vizier, Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, mentions the recipe for khichdi, which gives seven variation]. There is an anecdotal story featuring Akbar, Birbal and khichdi. -- Wikipedia

Black Cumin or Kala jeera is an ancient spice of India. The seeds of a plant called Nigella Sativa, which were traditionally used for the treatment of several diseases. These seeds are also known by different names like Kalonji, Himali Jira or Kala jeeral. It's a remedy for everything from headaches and congestion to infections. Physicians like Discoredes from ancient Greece recorded that nigella seeds were given to patients for several ailments.


© Faisal Hoque
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