Plate of Anglo-Indian Country Captain
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Country Captain - Anglo-Indian
India

Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
4 w/rice  
***
2 hrs  
Yes
This is the source from which the famous Country Captain of the American Southeast and the English Country Captain were derived. This is a drier curry than either of those, and is still well known in India. For the American version see our recipe Country Captain, and for the English version see our recipe for Country Captain - English. For historical background and comment see Note-5 and Note-6.




1-1/2
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4
1/2
2
1/2
1
1/2
4
1/2
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1-1/2
1
1
2
1
1
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1/4
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cl
in
T
t
t
t

t
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#
t

T
T
c
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c
Chicken meat (1)
-- Marinade
Garlic (6)
Ginger
Lime Juice
Turmeric
Chili Powder (2)
Pepper, black
Cloves
Salt
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Onion
Salt
Chili, green (3)
Oil (4)
Oil (more)
Stock, chicken
-- Garnish
Cilantro
Prep   -   (1-1/2 hrs - 30 min work)
  1. Cut CHICKEN into largish bite size pieces or as desired (see Note-1)
  2. Crush both GARLIC and GINGER through your Garlic Press, then chop fine to break up remaining fibers, or pound in a mortar (better). Squeeze LIME JUICE and mix all Marinade Items. Massage into Chicken and set aside to marinate for at least an hour.
  3. Slice ONIONS in half lengthwise and slice thin crosswise.
  4. Chop GREEN CHILI small.
  5. Chop CILANTRO for Garnish.
Run   -   (1-3/4 hr, depending)
  1. In a spacious coverable sauté pan, heat 2 T Oil. Fry Onion and 1/2 t Salt over declining heat, stirring more frequently, until uniformly lightly golden. Remove half the Onions and set aside.
  2. Add 1 T Oil to the pan and stir marinaded Chicken into the remaining Onions. Fry stirring until lightly browned. Be careful the fond sticking to the pan doesn't burn. It can be reddish, but if it tends to chocolate go on to the next step immediately.
  3. Stir in Stock. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is tender, longer if bone-in.
  4. Adjust liquid if needed. This curry should not have a lot of free liquid, but it should have some. Stir in Reserved Onions until well heated.
  5. Serve hot, garnished with chopped Cilantro, and with plenty of steamed Basmati 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 2-1/2 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.
  2. Chili Powder:   I use Khandela, which is half way between Kashmir and Reshampatti in hotness. This makes the dish "satisfyingly spicy" by Southern California standards. If in doubt, use Kashmir powder. For details see our Indian Chilis page.
  3. Green Chili:   Here in Los Angeles we can get "Indian Chilis", but they are disappointingly mild. One Serrano will do the job, or, if in doubt, seed the serrano. For details see our Chili Page page.
  4. Oil:   In India this may have originally been Ghee or Mustard Oil, depending on region. I use Pure Olive Oil, which über expert Julie Sahni has declared fine for all Indian cooking (except where ghee or mustard oil are distinctly called for). She says it is increasingly used in India as it westernizes.
  5. 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) is a drier curry than either the American or English, but it's still basically fried chicken with curry spices and lots of 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. In England and America The rice was probably originally Carolina Rice (Indian Patna type), once a major export from America, but exports did not recover from the Civil War. I recommend Thai Jasmine rice for those versions, but for this Indian version Basmati rice would be preferred. Of course, Jasmine rice (formerly called "Thai Basmati") could be used here too.
  6. Comments:   There is no standard recipe, everyone's grandmother did it a little different. This recipe was composed after studying several authentic sources. Indian writers all declare their grandmothers would be horrified at using anything but the freshest ingredients, yet they all call for using Garlic paste and Ginger paste out of jars, a shortcut very standard in India today. Those are inferior products and I won't stand for them. Because my usage is different from India, this will probably be the only dish accompanying my rice, I prefer it with a little more liquid than is done in India.
  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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