Sometimes you come across a dish that you never tasted before but then you get too excited and jump right on to it. Chicken Salli is one of those most recent experience for us. I never tastes the dish before or heard, but this Thanksgiving I wanted to try. While this Chicken Salli recipe may be absolutely authentic, but the curry is a crowd pleaser and so good on cold winter days.
What is Chicken Salli?
Chicken Salli is a Parsi delicacy and the word “salli” refers to the potato stick. The dish is referred by different names, apart from the common Chicken Salli. Jardaloo Salli Marghi (“Jordaloo” means apricot, “Salli” are the potato stick and “Marghi” means chicken, Murgh Salli, Salli Boti (here “Boti” refers to red meat), are few of the names I am aware of.
The recipe calls for chicken or read meat that is cooked in aromatic spices, dried apricots and then topped with fried matchstick potatoes.
My Bengali taste buds always gets drawn towards meat cooked with potatoes and this unique concept of topping curry with fries was so interesting and unique.
Not so authentic Chicken Salli
After reading a few recipes, I decided to go with my own flow which definitely made the curry little different. I didn’t add apricot, and I added a lot of warm spices like cinnamon powder and nutmeg.
This Murgh Salli turned out so warm and rich from slow cooking. The dish became a favorite in my family.
How to prepare Chicken Salli
Chicken Salli is a one pot chicken curry.
Marinate the chicken with ginger, garlic, white vinegar (or yogurt), cumin powder, coriander powder, dried fenugreek and chili powder.
Next day when you prepare the curry, start by adding whole spices (cinnamon sticks, cardamom, bay leaves and cloves).
For any good chicken or mutton curry, make sure you add a little bit of sugar for the beautiful caramel color and brown the onion before adding the marinated chicken.
Once the chicken is stir-fried for a while, add the tomato puree, cinnamon powder and grate nutmeg. (This particular step of adding cinnamon powder and nutmeg is not common in chicken curries, but it adds such an amazing warmth, that you will love it!)
I add a little water and then slow cook until the chicken is cooked through.
What about Salli (Potato Fries)
Salli refers to the fried potato sticks or potato straws. You could buy fried matchstick potatoes and top the curry with it while serving or prepare fresh at home.
I use a knife to finely chop the potatoes. You could definitely use a processor too.
Then soak the matchstick potatoes in water with little salt for about 30 minutes.
Then drain and layer on a kitchen towel and pat dry.
Next fry in hot oil until golden brown. Once done sprinkle little salt on the fried potatoes and shake it to mix it around.
I prefer frying the matchstick potatoes just before serving.
The Chicken Salli has a lot of flavor from all the spices and the color turns out so rich and gorgeous. We enjoyed it with Naan and my 6 years old was the happiest to find fries with chicken curry.
For the Chicken Curry
- 1.5 lb chicken cubes
- 2 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
- 2 tablespoons kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 green cardamoms
- 4 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 large size red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
- freshly grated nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon)
For the Salli
- 2 medium size potatatoes
- Enough oil to fry the potatoes
In a mixing bowl, marinate the chicken pieces with vinegar, yogurt, 1 tablespoon salt, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, kashmiri chili powder and dried fenugreek leaves. Mix it around and let it marinate for a minimum of 4 hrs. Letting it marinate overnight in the fridge will bring out the best flavor.
When preparing the curry, take a heavy bottom pan and pour the oil followed by the suagr, chopped garlic and ginger. Stir it around for 1 minutes.
Scatter the onion and sprinkle rest of the salt. Let the onion cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until it's golden brown in color.
Add the marinated chicken and stir it around. Let it sear for 5 minutes.
Pour the tomato puree, cinnamon powder, nutmeg and stir it aorund. Cook for 5 minutes.
Pour 1 and 1/2 cup water, mix it aorund and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Depending on the quantity of meat, the typieof meat and the size of meat. The cooking time will change.
Once the chicken is cooked through taste for salt and add more if needed.
To prepare the Salli (fried potatoes)
Wash and slice the potatoes into thin matchsticks. You could use a food processor too.
Soak the sliced potaoes in water with salt for 30 minutes.
Then drain and pat dry in a kitchen towel.
Take a large skillet and add enough oil to fry the potatoes.
Fry the potatoes until golden brown, then drain off the excess oil on a kitchen towel.
Sprinkle little salt and shake the fried potatoes.
When serving the dish, warm the chicken a little bit, top it with the fried potatoes, squeeze lemon juice and enjoy with rice, paratha or Naan.
This Chicken Salli is not the authentic version with dried apricots in it. It is still very tasty and very aromatic from all the spices. Keep in mind that depending on the size of the meat, the cooking time of the curry will change.