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Friday, December 6, 2013

Dak Bunglow Chicken Curry and Dak Bunglow Chicken Fry

    After creating some British Era forgotten recipes like, Country captain Chicken and Tipsy Pudding/English Trifle Pudding for KPC Nutrifest event, I am kind of hooked to try out some more forgotten recipes like these and tried out this Dak Bunglow Chicken curry and a dry version of it, Dak Bunglow chicken fry. Dak Bungalow Cuisine is a near-forgotten culinary treasure that originated in Bengal, survives now among few remaining khansama(cook) families and Anglo Indian households. Few restaurants and clubs in Kolkata, still serves these cuisine to keep this historic cuisine alive and trying to gain its popularity back.

   For those who do not know what "Dak Bunglow" is, it was a traveler's rest houses in Bengal, during the British Raj, on a "Dak" route. Dak was a mail delivery service and these rest houses were built at various places throughout the route. British officers used these bunglows to rest while on a hunting trip or during summer vacations. These dak bunglows used to have their own small farms with Chicken, Goat and Cows, both for meat and milk. The animals killed during the hunting trips were also cooked and served to the officers. A Khansama(cook) used to handle the kitchen in these bunglows and they used to cook with available ingredients and with freshly ground spices, as these dak bunglows were built in remote places with no nearby markets available, so you can imagine the taste of those dishes created by them.

     There are many versions available of this recipe on the web and I don't guarantee on the authenticity of this recipe. I followed the recipe of famous Anglo-Indian Cookbook writer, Bridget White-Kumar's recipe, I think she shares the most authentic recipes of this cuisine. I changed a bit in the step of the procedure but mostly followed her recipe. I cooked both version - Dak bunglow chicken curry and dry fry. There are no difference in the ingredients, only in the procedure. I'm sharing both the versions here.

First will share the curry version ------------

You Need :
Chicken(with bones) : 500 gm.
Potato : 2-3, cut into half
Garlic paste : 1 tblsp.
Red Chilli Powder : 2 tsp.
Turmeric Powder : 2 tsp.
Coriander Powder : 1 tsp.
Garam masala Powder : 2 tsp.
Lemon Juice : 1 tblps. or Curd/yoghurt : 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Oil : 2 tblsp.
Onions : 1, sliced
Dry red chillies : 2, broken into half
Coconut slices : few, thinly sliced(my addition)
Fresh Curry Leaves : 8-10 nos.
Black Peppercorns(whole) : 8-10

How To :
  • Wash the chicken and marinate with garlic paste, salt chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and lemon or curd for at least an hour or more.
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a pan, fry the potato pieces until light brown with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder. Remove and in the same oil, add marinated chicken pieces, cook in medium heat until spices are well cooked and you get a nice aroma for about 7-8 minutes. Then add about 1 cup of hot water and fried potato pieces. Let the chicken cook in low flame until done. When chicken and potato pieces are cooked, adjust the consistency of curry as you like.
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in another pan, add broken dry red chillies, black peppercorns, curry leaves and coconut slices, stir continuously and when coconut slices are light brown, add this to the chicken curry and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, adjust the seasoning. 
  • Remove from heat. Your Dak Bunglow Chicken curry is ready to serve. 
  • Serve with rice, pulao or any Indian flatbread.

Now to the recipe of Dak Bunglow Chicken dry fry :
  • Follow the ingredients and recipe as for curry recipe. Cook until potato and chicken pieces are coked and gravy thickens and coats nicely with the chicken pieces.
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in another pan, add broken dry red chillies, black peppercorns, curry leaves and coconut slices, stir continuously and when coconut slices are light brown, add chicken and potato pieces in this pan and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove and serve immediately. Serve with rice, pulao or any Indian flatbread.

I'll recommend everyone to try these two recipes and I'm sure you won't regret.

Disclaimer :  All the history part of this post is original research work of the KPC Nutrifest team.

Friday, December 06, 2013 / by / 4 Comments


  1. You had me at Dak Bunglow.. I have never heard of this curry. Looks very yummy... Will try soon..

  2. The word dak bangla used to give me creeps but after reading your blogpost and looking at the lovely chicken I definitely changed my mind. Excellent looking forgotten recipes.

  3. Dear Indrani
    Wonderful recipe indeed and must make it...You are right , there are numerous versions for each dak bungalow in the country...In fact I started eating in dak Bunglow since 60s, in fact there was a dak bungalow in front of our house and the cook was awesome. Sometimes he would cook chicken for us and we used to pay . ( Chicken was not allowed in side our kitchen)
    I will try this recipe soon , I like the spicing and use of coconut . Another thing the spice must be freshly wet ground and certainly not dry ground ..that makes all the difference actually .
    Have a nice weekend

  4. Seems spicy.... I like all your healthy food guides. Thanks for your treat.


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