Friday, February 16, 2007

Sailaja's Chicken Masala Balls


I do not get the opportunity to leaf through many cookbooks to decide "What’s for dinner" or "lunch" or "snack". Not that I don't want to but simply because I don't get time. While coming to US I had packed two Bengali Recipe Books written in Bengali with me. One of them doesn't have great collection of food but I loved the author, Leela Majumdar, and her all other Literary works, so had to buy it. The other is a very ordinary looking book, no glossy pages, nor any nice pictures, no glam-sham that is, but has a very good collection of Bengali Recipes. Albeit this book is like me & Ma, it doesn't give any measurements, just the ingredient list and a general way to prepare, it has most of the Bangla Recipes I have ever heard of. Bengali Cook Books written in Bangla were not much in vogue in those days .Recently some very good cook books for Bengali recipes have been published but most of them are in English.

My Ma would mostly cook recipes she had gathered from her mother, from relatives, friends and from magazines which were a veritable source of good recipes
Me on the other rely a lot on the internet (other than Ma, friends & THE magazines) for recipes. It's easy, fast and convenient. So no wonder when I chanced upon food blogs I was delighted. What with their glossy design, beautiful pictures and all the traditions and tips thrown in they are better than any cook book for me.

At this point I need to narrate a funny incident. My daughter, who is in the "pretend play" stage, is extremely imaginative and goes on "Imagine, Imagine" all day. So a couple of nights back she was sitting on my parent's bed and planning a B'day party for her two dollies.

So my Dad said "What are you going to cook"

She says "Chole & Chicken and Bhatu (Rice)"

My Dad says "Ok, so ask your Mommy for the recipes"

She very confidently "Nah Ami nijei commen e dekhe nebo (No, I will look it up in the computer myself)" and with that she opened her "imagine" laptop with a real flick of the wrist

This shows how much I scour the net for recipes, even if I don't cook them I love reading them

Sailaja's food blog -- SailusFood is a wonderful place to be, her neat layout, the succinct steps and the crisp pictures give an idea as to what to expect of the dish. The moment I saw the "Chicken Masala Balls" in her recipe I knew all of my family and friends would love it and boy did they. Now it has become a kind of regular at my home. But since I make it so often I try not to fry it every time, though the fried ones taste the best. Thanks Sailaja for this wonderful recipe and many more that I am going to blog soon. So here’s my entry for this months MBP February-- Chicken masala balls from SailusFood. Thanks again to both Sailaja for this recipe and Coffee for hosting this wonderful event.

For the fear that soon Sailaja will get famous and her agent might restrict access to her blog I am jotting down the ingredients and the steps I follow here.
You don’t need go any further but check out her Original Recipe here. Her steps and picture are way better


Sailaja's Chicken Masala Balls

What You Need

Ground Chicken ~ 1lb

Make a wet masala paste with the following

Onion ~ 1 medium
Green chillis ~ 8-10
Corriander leaves ~ small bunch chopped

Garlic ~ 15-20 cloves
Ginger ~ 3" piece chopped

Dry roast and grind the following to make a dry masala powder

5-6 dry red chillis (adjust according to your choice)
Corriander seeds ~ 4 tbsps
Cumin Seeds ~ 1 1/2 tbsps
Cinnamon ~ 2″ stick
Cardamom ~ 3
Cloves ~ 5-6
Cashewnuts ~ 10-20

Oil for deep frying

How I Do It

Though Sailaja asked to roast the dry spices in oil and then blend, I dry roast them and grind them in my dry grinder. The dry powder I store for future purposes too.
I use minced chicken and so I mix the dry powder, the wet masala and a little yogurt with the minced chicken and keep it for sometime, say a couple of hours and sometimes overnight
Then I make balls exactly as she does.
Deep Fry them and serve them as starters when we have friends over and they cannot stop eating
I also bake these balls for weeknight dinners. Spray the baking pan with Oil and bake them at 350F till they are lightly browned and done. Tastes yummy with Rotis and by themselves.

Note: Following is the baked version. I had less corriander leaves so the balls look a little less green


Trivia: Masalas are spices and other seasoning ground together to form the basis for Indian sauces



  1. I liked the idea of dry roasting the spices and storing the masala pwd for future use. I enjoyed the baked version too but then its not as tasty as the deep-fried ones..:).

    Its a hit at home and with friends too, Sandeepa. And your pictures are lovely. I'm so glad you liked the recipe.

  2. Sandeepa, Chicken Masala Balls looks yummy. I like the idea of baking, I cannot get the oil smell out of the house when deep frying, during winter when we are cooped up and ofcourse laziness.

    I agree Sailu's website is a wealth of food information. Precise and neat.

  3. I loved this chicken balls too.Baked sounds great and easy to bake too like meat balls.Great entry.

  4. Sailaja
    Yeah saving the powder helps a lot :)

    you are up early on a weekend too :)
    We put up a more powerful vented exhaust you know because most of the food smell stays home during winter

    Thanks :)

  5. Sandeepa, thanks for the wonderful recipes. I am so glad to find your site.

    Kausum, ami MD tei thaki. Tai jonno ei area te macher dokan khunji. Apart from this blog, tomake ki kore contact kora jai, please janio. Bujhtei parcho, I am very naive with blogging :o)

    Thank you both!

  6. Bideshini
    Tumi K'r blog

    te jao. Okhane oke contact korte parbe. Tumi oke tomar e-mail id dile maybe he can send you the info.

  7. You mean there's no oil in the baked version? They look so bouncy and lean!! I used to be maniacal about snipping off all bits of fat from my meat (found the smell of animal fat quite a turn off) when I first started cooking, but now realise leaving some on is better when baking meat, otherwise it gets too dry.

  8. Ha ha! Loved reading about your daughter! She is adorable!! Looking up the computer for recipes :) I can't imagine life without the internet now! Really, how did we manage before??!! :)
    Nice entry for the MBP, Sandeepa. Your tofu burji looks really good too! Very nutritious too.

  9. loved the chicken balls and are baked!!! wow!!! Great snap too

  10. Shilpa
    It's the second pic which is baked, the first one is fried
    I used ground chicken breast which were 99% fat free. But sprayed a little Oil on the baking tray and since I had marinated the ground chicken with whole milk yogurt (other than the masala) for about 6/7 hrs., they were very juicy

    I think you misread, these are MASALA Balls, masala is the Hindi(Indian language) word for a mix of Indian spices :)
    From your comment I feel you might have thought I made these with MARSALA wine, which is a good idea but I haven't tried that :)

    Life before Internet, really I can't imagine Life or work without google


  11. Nice story there about your daughter!

  12. Chicken balls looks delciious..i too tried thi and was over in no time.I was planning to use the same masala for making chicken gravy..let see..

  13. oh your daughte is so clever! What a cute story!
    Yes, I still remember the meat balls from sailaja, really fantastic! I surely make it some days, can't miss!

  14. Great recipe, great pictures, as usual.

    I did not know that Leela Majumdar wrote a cook-book: loved her stories and novels, of course.

    Btw, you do know that you have been tagged by virtue of reading this post ;-)

  15. Sandeepa even Im like you,when I first came here to Switz and started cooking on my own,I used to rely on the net and thats when I discovered blogs and with so many Indian blogs,we rarely need to make a call to mum miles away,we have changed and look the next generation already knows that!I know of a blogger Sarah who has a blog with recipes exclusively written for her daughter,

  16. Hi Sandeepa, I don't eat meat,but K does eat chicken once in a while, I'll show this to him..he'll love that they are baked.

    I just love to browse food blogs too..they are wonderful, and I have learned so much from all of you!


  17. i am looking forward to present my mom swagata onher birthday leela mojudar's cook book as the old one is not in good state canyou tellme where or which shop to buyit from(kolkata)


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