Authentic Assamese dishes are my all-time favourite because they remind me of my roots and my home. Having a knick for experimenting with food and an undying love for home cooked meals, I do have my versions of several of my favourite authentic dishes; one of these dreamy experiments is this righteous Khorisa dia Murgir Mangso or Chicken with Bamboo Shoot recipe. This is a spicy, flavourful and extremely delicious dry chicken dish (which can easily be curried) made with minimal spices and a very flavourful variety of bamboo, constituting for a perfect dinner for the days you’re missing home a little too much. Once you try it with hot roti, naan or a piping hot bowl of steamed rice, there’s no going back; you will absolutely fall in love with everything about it.
I understand how trying bamboo can be new and slightly scary for many of us. However, I am going to make sure that all these doubts disappear after you finish reading this and making this dish for yourself; just stay with me here.
What is Bamboo Shoot?
Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts are the edible parts of the many different species of bamboo plants. These are used as vegetables in several Asian recipes, basically constituting a unique powerful and pungent flavour to the curries and broths, upping your overall curry game.
Bamboo shoots are edible when they’re young as they tend to harden as they mature. Monsoon is just round the corner and it is the best time to get your hands on some perfect tender bamboo shoots, however nowadays you can easily find bamboo in grocery stores any time of the year. Tender bamboo shoots that are collected, are defoliated, soaked in water for 2-3 days, then are boiled in water to remove its bitter taste after which it is ready for consumption, to go into a dish. The water used to cook fresh bamboo is discarded as it tastes bitter & unpleasant. These tender fresh bamboo shoots are then used in cooking. But again, you can find defoliated toxin free bamboos in stores easily these days, boil it and it’s good to go!
Ingredients in this Chicken With Bamboo Shoot
The ingredients of this recipe are so minimal; it’s almost unbelievable how it turns out to be so flavourful and fragrant. You can get almost everything at home, even bamboo shoots if you’re lucky, but what’s one quick trip to the grocery store in exchange of a wholesome comfort meal? Now, let’s look at the heroes, i.e. key ingredients:
- Khorisa or Bamboo Shoot
As the name suggests, Bamboo Shoot is the star of this dish, a powerful and pungent ingredient responsible for elevating several Asian dishes. In this recipe I use Khorisa, which is an ethnic fermented bamboo shoot product of Assam. It is generally made from young edible bamboo shoots of Bambusa balcooa ( Bholuka Bah) and Dendrocalamus hamiltoni (Kako/Pecha Bah).
These are fermented and after discarding the excess water and can then be stored in jars for almost a year and is known as poka Khorisa. The fermentation adds up to the pungent and strong sour flavour making it a beautiful addition to spicy curries. It can be dried in the sun to make Hukan Khorisa, used in curries and recipes like this one or be simply mixed with some mustard oil, chillies and salt to make pickles.
For the chicken in this recipe, I have used a whole chicken in curry cut. You can make this with any kind of cut you prefer, even boneless. Because this is a traditional recipe usually made with local chicken varieties, making it with bones helps give more flavour to the recipe.
- Mustard oil
The fat we use to cook our dishes makes a huge difference to the overall taste of it. Mustard oil is a strong, bitter oil slightly tending towards the hotter side of the spectrum. It enhances the flavour of curries and is the base of majority of authentic desi cuisines. Mustard oil with bamboo shoots is an absolute fool proof combination, be in curries or pickles.
- Dry Spices
You need the most basic off the shelf spices that are found in all Indian kitchens like turmeric, coriander, salt and pepper. The taste would enhance if these spices are lightly roasted and freshly ground at home. Store bought spices do not lend the flavours fresh spices do.
Let’s take a look at the recipe:
Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cook time – 45 minutes
- 3 tbsp mustard oil
- 2 cups finely sliced onions
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger paste
- 2 green chillies, slit in half (add more if you want it spicy)
- 2 tsp garlic paste
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 500 g chicken, curry cut
- 1 cup bamboo shoot, finely sliced or chopped
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- Heat some mustard oil in a deep pan.
- Add the sliced red onions and is cook it in two phases. Phase 1- Till the onions turn translucent. Phase 2- Till the onions completely turn brown.
- Once the onions are completely brown, add in the ginger paste, the slit chillies and the garlic paste. Mix well and cook till the raw smell of garlic is gone.
- At this point add in the salt and turmeric and cook for a few minutes.
- Now add the rest of the dry spices- coriander and black pepper powder, and cook for another few minutes.
- Add a splash of water to help the spices cook better and homogenise in the mixture.
- Now, add in the chicken and cook it on high flame, stirring every so often.
- Once the chicken in almost half cooked, add in the bamboo shoot and mix.
- Add in the hot water. I am adding 1 cup for this recipe as it is a dry variation, however you can adjust the quantity of water depending on how much gravy you’d like.
- Cover and cook on low flame for 20 minutes.
- Take off the lid and give it one last mix before serving it hot with some plain roti, naan or steamed rice.
This is one of my favourite comfort meals and you should definitely try it if you’re new to bamboo or just craving a hot plate of filling wholesome meal.