Beyond strategic power and economic wealth, empire-building nations also absorbed their colonies’ cultures and cuisines. None did this better than the British, whose keen appreciation for Indian foods included more than a taste for curry dishes.
A delicacy said to have captured the fancy of one of His Majesty’s sea captains, was a chicken dish he discovered in Bombay (now Mumbai), and found irresistible. When time came to sail back to England, he took the recipe for Chicken Bombay with him. His frequent orders for the dish during the voyage, earned it the second moniker of ‘Captain’s Chicken’ from the galley cook.
Whatever they called it, the dish must have become quite popular throughout Britain, because the colonists eventually brought it to the New World. Where centuries later, Chicken Bombay became one of President John F. Kennedy’s favorite dishes, for which the White House chef had a standing order.
The quantities below are proportioned to serve 4 to 6 persons.
Ingredients (organic whenever possible):
- 1 whole fryer chicken or 6 chicken breasts cut into portions, and with skin removed;
- ¼ cup of organic flour seasoned with a teaspoon of organic, low-sodium Tamari sauce, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper;
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup of diced onion
- 1/3 cup of diced sweet green pepper
- 1/3 cup of diced celery
- 1 glove of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup of raisins
- 4 ounces of sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 ½ teaspoons of curry powder
- ½ teaspoon of thyme
- 2 cups of stewed tomatoes (one large can, or equivalent stewed by cook)
- Blanched and lightly toasted almonds for garnish.
DREDGE the chicken in the seasoned flour.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet at medium heat, add the chicken before oil gets too hot, and lightly toast to golden tone each chicken part on both sides.
Remove the chicken. Add the onion, pepper, celery, garlic, mushrooms, and seasoning to the pan. Sauté briefly, adding a tablespoon of water when needed to prevent frying, and stirring constantly.
Add tomatoes with its liquid. As soon as it is hot, return the chicken to the skillet and add the raisins. Stir and cook until liquid bubbles for 2 minutes.
Place the chicken mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350-400 degrees, or until tender.
Garnish with toasted almonds. Serve on a bed of Basmati rice.