Goalondo Steamer Chicken Curry: An Alchemy Of Flavours
Image Credit: Big7Travel

Around the 19th century, when people would travel from Assam to Burma on an overnight steamer from Goalondo, a small station at the confluence of the Padma and Brahmaputra rivers. This was the place where the Eastern Bengal express from Sealdah terminated and people unpacked their fatigue for the day over a meal of ‘fowl’ curry and rice. This curry was prepared by Muslim boatmen aboard the steamer, and was a simple, rustic preparation that included chicken, a few spices and plenty of mustard oil.

What’s most fascinating about the recipe for this chicken curry, is the fact that it uses almost no water at all in the process, allowing the chicken to cook in its own juices, making it a flavour-packed, robust curry. So much was the popularity of this curry almost a century and half ago that it rose up to status in Bengali culinary folklore as a legendary dish that stood shoulder to shoulder with other Bengali favourites like the Dak Bangla Chicken Curry and Railway Mutton Curry. Since the recipe uses only a handful of ingredients, be sure to use the best quality available.



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Chicken Kadhai: Rustic, North-Indian, One-Pot Chicken Curry

  • 500 grams bone-in chicken
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped ginger-garlic
  • 6-7 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ½ cup cold pressed mustard oil
  • Salt to taste


Image Credits: Paanta2Pasta

  • Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces and add them to a large mixing bowl. Tip in the sliced onions, ginger-garlic and chopped chillies and mix everything thoroughly.
  • Add the spices and all of the mustard oil to the mixing bowl and give everything a good mix, until combined. Season adequately with salt and allow this to sit for a minimum of one hour or overnight and marinate.
  • Warm up a cooking pot on low heat and transfer the entire mixture to the pot. Put on a lid and cover this chicken mixture and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring at regular intervals.
  • Once done, take the pan off of heat. Allow it to cool slightly and serve warm with rice or bread.

Note: If possible, allow the curry to sit overnight before eating the next day for the flavours to be fully absorbed. There will be a layer of oil floating atop the curry, once done. Do not discard it since it is part of the curry and holds all the flavour.