This Parsi specialty, to me, brings back childhood memories of family dinners around our cozy dining table.
As we kids chatted about our day at school, all five of us would happily soak up the home-cooked goodness of Parsi chicken Bafat, at times made with mutton in place of chicken.
Now-a-days, the sight of my young boys doing the same brings on a nostalgic smile, with a thought that as our modern world evolves at breakneck speed, the value of a good ole homemade family meal is still priceless, and remains irreplaceable.
Our family version of the Bafat, which can be made with chicken or mutton, has been slight altered by me in technique; making it simple enough to accommodate busier lifestyles, with no compromise on any of the authentic Bafat flavor.
Although not many Parsi homes use it, mom’s Bafat version uses shredded coconut to add thickness to the gravy. I’ve retained that hearty texture of coconut in my take on the Bafat, along with aromatic spices, chunks of potatoes and the undeniable flavor combination of jaggery/sugar and red vinegar.
- 1 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut in 2 inch pieces (bone-in chicken or mutton can be used)
- ½ lb potatoes, cut in 2 inches pieces
- 1 tablespoon canola oil or Ghee (Indian-style clarified butter)
- 1½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1½ cups chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (4-5 gloves garlic & ½ inch ginger, grated)
- ½ cup shredded fresh coconut (desiccated coconut works too)
- 1 teaspoon ground red chili or Cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (follow my home-made Garam Masala recipe to make it OR substitute with ¼ teaspoon each ground: cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper)
- 1½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 cup (about 2 medium) chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon jaggery OR 1 teaspoon sugar (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate OR 1 tablespoon lime juice (see notes)
- 2 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- This dish can be made in a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid, or in a pressure cooker (especially recommended for mutton.)
- Heat canola oil or ghee; add cumin seeds and chopped onion. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes on a high flame, stirring occasionally till it gets a dark brown color.
- Add the ginger and garlic, shredded coconut, chicken, potatoes, ground spices and salt. Cook on a high flame, stirring intermittently for 5-7 minutes, till you smell the aroma of the spices. Feel free to add a tablespoon of water at a time, as required to cook the spices and coconut.
- Now stir in the tomatoes, jaggery or sugar, tamarind paste or lime juice, and cider vinegar. Add a cup of water or chicken stock.
- Cook covered with a tight fitting lid for 10-15 minutes on a medium flame, till the meat and potatoes are done, adding more liquid if required.
- If you’re using the pressure cooker, let the liquid come to a boil, close the lid and reduce to a low simmer after 2 whistles. Turn off the flame in 10-12 minutes for chicken and 12-15 minutes for mutton.
- The consistency of this curry will be thick. Sprinkle chopped cilantro and taste for salt, adding more as desired.
- Parsi Chicken Bafat can be served alongside regular bread rolls, warm Indian bread like Roti-Chapati, Naan or steaming Basmati rice.
- A couple of ingredients in this recipe like jaggery and tamarind paste are not easily available in western grocery stores. I’ve given simple kitchen staple swap outs like sugar and lime juice for those ingredients.
- And if you don’t have Garam Masala on hand, just add ground versions of the spices listed, or use this opportunity to make a small bottle of Garam Masala as per my simple recipe.
- There’s no reason to miss out on the Parsi Chicken Bafat.