This East Indian country captain chicken usually makes an appearance on special occasions. Often served surrounded with potato wafers or chips. Simple and easy recipe with caramelized chicken and caramelized onions as the base for flavor.
I've eaten this dish so many times growing up as a kid but never knew it was country captain. I still have no clue why? but it is a very delicious recipe and often reminds me of chicken moile
The most important thing to remember about this chicken is - don't make haste. Let the chicken caramelize and let the onions caramelize. You will thank me later.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Chicken - I have used boneless chicken thighs because my kids prefer boneless but my mom used the whole chicken cut into 8 or 10 pieces.
- Onions - you can use brown onions but I like to use a combination of brown and red. Red Spanish onions cook down and caramelize adding a nice sweetness to the gravy.
- Spices - these are classic Indian spices used in most Indian recipes. You can find these at most supermarkets on the spice rack or on the Asian cooking Isle.
- Ginger and garlic - these have to be fresh because the taste of fresh ginger and fresh garlic is not the same as powder.
- Tomatoes - use a nice large tomato. Chop it finely so it almost disappears into the sauce.
- Potato chips - this is optional but usually this curry is always served with crispy potato chips.
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- 1½ kg (3 lb) Chicken Whole Chicken cut into 8 to 10 pieces
- 2 tablespoon Cooking oil
- 2 tablespoon Ghee
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Salt or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- 8 Red chilies soaked in hot water
- 1 teaspoon Coriander seeds dhania
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds jeera
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder haldi
- 500 grams (1 lb) Onion (4 large) sliced
- 2 inch Ginger sliced
- 10 Garlic cloves sliced
- 4 Green chilies (or less) sliced
- 2 tablespoon Coriander leaves chopped
- ½ kg Tomatoes chopped
- 200 grams Potato chips or wafers for garnish
- Masala paste - place all the ground masala ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth paste Pro tip - soaking the red chilies for 10 minutes will soften them and give a smoother rather than coarse texture to the paste. You can deseed the chilies to make them less spicy.
- In a pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon ghee. Brown the chicken on all sides with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Once browned take them out of the pan and set them aside.Pro tip - the sugar caramelizes giving the chicken a beautiful brown color and caramel flavor. So keep the heat to medium and let it brown evenly.
- To the same pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and ghee. Saute the onions until almost golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes more. Pro tip - I like to add another 1 tablespoon of sugar to the onions to help them get a nice color and flavor but that is optional.
- Next, add the ground masala paste and saute well for at least 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Return the chicken pieces along with juices to the pan and combine well. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup water and cover.Pro tip - if you use frozen chicken and have too much liquid in the pan, reduce water to just ½ cup. This curry is meant to be thick.
- Cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. The curry must be thick so if necessary open and cook on high for excess water to evaporate. Pro tip - a good sign that the chicken is cooked would be the presence of oil on the top of the dish.
- Finally, sprinkle with chopped coriander and potato wafer or chips.
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