Plate of English Country Captain
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Country Captain - English
England

Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
4 main  
***
2 hrs  
Yes
This is an English dish of the same Indian origin as the famous Country Captain of the American Southeast. I had to piece it together from rather scant references, but "authenticity" is not compromised, as there is no standard recipe. For the American version see our recipe Country Captain, and for the original Indian version see Country Captain - Anglo-Indian. For historical background see Note-6.




2
ar
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1/2
12
4
1
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2
4
2
1/3
1/4
1/8
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2
2
1
#

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in
oz
cl

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in

t
t
t
t
---
T
c
T
Chicken meat (1)
Oil, deep fry (2)
-- Vegetables
Ginger
Onion
Garlic
Red Chili (3)
-- Spice mix
Cinnamon
Cloves
Curry Powder (4)  
Salt
Pepper, black
Cayenne (5)
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Oil
Stock, chicken
Lemon Juice
Prep   -   (20 min)
  1. Cut CHICKEN into about 1-1/2 inch chunks Note: you can do the deep fry (35 min) a day ahead and refrigerate.
  2. Slice GINGER very thin and cut into fine threads.
  3. Slice ONION in half lengthwise and slice thin crosswise.
  4. Crush GARLIC and chop small.
  5. Cut CHILIS in half lengthwise and core. Slice crosswise into narrow strips..
  6. Mix together all Spice mix items.
  7. Squeeze Lemon Juice.
Run   -   (1-3/4 hr, depending)
  1. In a kadhai, wok or deep heavy pan, heat enough Oil for deep fry to about 395°F/200°C. Fry Chicken in small batches until just lightly browned. Small batches won't take much longer and the chicken will brown before it dries out. Drain on paper towels.
  2. In a coverable sauté pan heat 2 T Oil. Fry Ginger until aromatic, then stir in Onions. Fry stirring until onions are evenly golden brown. When onions start to show color, stir in Garlic so it will be well browned.
  3. Stir in Chicken and Spice mix until well distributed, then stir in Stock. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Adjust liquid as needed, by simmering uncovered or adding boiling water.
  4. Stir in Chili for about 2 minute, then stir in Lemon Juice and take off the heat.
  5. Serve hot with plenty of steamed long grain rice.
NOTES:
  1. Chicken:   This weight is for skinless, boneless and trimmed of fat. You can use bone-in joints, with legs and thighs cut in pieces (use a sharp Chinese cleaver knife driven by a soft faced mallet) You will need about 3 pounds. They must be skinless as skin and fat are not used in India. I use leg and thigh meat for better flavor and texture than the cardboard breasts we get around here. I buy whole thighs and make the needed stock from the bones and skins.
  2. Oil:   Use a durable, high temperature oil. I always use Olive Pomace, but Peanut or Rice Bran oils will work (less durable). For details see our Cooking Oils page.
  3. Red Chili:   Around here we all use Fresnos, but Holland Red or similar medium hot chilis will do fine. Use 2 if you like hotter. Green chilis can also be used.
  4. Curry Powder:   This should be Madras Curry Powder, an Anglo-Indian invention from the Raj. Use a good brand (Sun or Ship) available in cans in markets. Of course it's better made fresh per our recipe: Madras Curry Powder.
  5. Cayenne:   Actually, I use India extra hot, but it's about the same. 1/8 t gives the recipe a mild but noticeable bite - use your own best judgement.
  6. Historical Notes:   This dish is probably named for captains of India based ships called "country ships" during the Raj, thus "Country Captain". It could also be named after an Indian native serving as a captain in the British army, also a "Country Captain", but its prominence in American and English seaports suggests the nautical origin. Anglo-Indian Country Captain (as made in India) differs in being a rather dry curry, but it's still fried chicken with curry spices and onions. In England it is made with stock and soured with lemon or lime, while in the American south it is made using tomatoes. In keeping with Indian practice, the chicken is skinless and the dish is served with steamed long grain rice. The rice was probably originally Carolina Rice (Patna type), once a major export from America, but exports did not recover from the Civil War. There's nothing to stop us from serving it with superior Thai Jasmine rice, though Carolina rice is still grown in Texas and Louisiana - sold simply as "Long Grain Rice".
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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