Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Ajwain wali Chicken --Chicken with Ajwain


When I was younger, nubile(not), nymph like(not) I adored guys who wrote mushy love letters and chose white befuddled pigeons as their choice of courier. Mailman were passe. In between they would have saved the world, brought justice, developed six packs and delivered hot kisses.

Now I am in love with Dads who stay calm, rock solid and raise foul mouthing hormonal girls, trying to bond with them without losing an oz of coolness while in the background a wife who has been unfaithful is dying.(The Descendants)

Compared to the latter, the former looks like cake walk.

When I was younger, nubile(not), nymph like(not) I never thought of ajwain as anything but an after meal digestive which soothes a tummy that has had too many kochuri or alur chop or phuchka as the case maybe.We called ajwain -- "Joan"-- not "Joanne" mind you.We bought sachets of spicy and dusty "joan" on local trains in anticipation of a heavy meal. We drank Joaner Arok (also known as Aqua Ptychotis) in gulps after every wedding reception and talked of it with as much reverence as reserved for Joan of Arc. Ajwain or "joan" was then intermingled with our life---only in a different way.

Now I use ajwain for making a chicken.It was an accident, a stupid one, the ajwain. I used it to temper the hot oil in which the chicken will be cooked. I nodded at the sharp, strong taste that a teeny spoon of that seed can bring. I won't say I am in love yet. But it is a different beginning for sure.


Now let me tell you about the stupidity. I adapted this recipe from Anjum Anand's "Sindhi Lamb Curry" which uses Caraway seeds aka Sha jeera. In a rush I read it as Carom seeds aka Ajwain. I hesitated a moment wondering whether I should go ahead but then I took heart from the delicious looking kadhai jhinga cooked with ajwain and went ahead.I spiked up the hotness, used chicken and just called it ajwain wali chicken.

By the time I realized that the recipe had neve ever asked for Ajwain, the deed had been done and a new recipe born. For the original recipe replace the Ajwain with Sha Jeera.


Make a paste of
5 cloves of garlic
1" of ginger
5-6 hot green chili

In a bowl marinate almost 2lb of skinless chicken pieces with
1/4 cup yogurt(well beaten)
1&1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp carom seeds/ajwain
5 green cardamom ground
ginger-garlic-chili paste

Heat 3 tbsp oil for cooking in a saucier

Temper the oil with
1/2 tsp of carom seeds/ajwain,
4 dry red chili crushed,
1 small bay leaf,
1 black badi elaichi
and 5 green cardamom
lightly crushed.
Now add about 2 cup of sliced onion and fry till onion is golden. Next add 2 tomatoes finely chopped. Add about 1 tsp of Red Chili powder. Add little salt. Cook till tomatoes are all mushed up and oil starts separating from the masala.

Next add the chicken along with the marinade. Fry the chicken for at least 20 minutes at low-medium heat till you see the chicken has lost its raw color and has started browning. Now sprinkle a little water, add salt to taste and cover and let chicken cook. Remove cover and stir in between. Do not add any more water.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove cover and continue frying the chicken till the masala releases oil on the surface. Add fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice and serve.


  1. I only use ajwain in my Sev or boil in water for digestion. The seed has a very pungent smell, wonder how this chicken tasted, ok probably smelled.

  2. Humm......ajwain and chicken sounds comments!!!

    Hahaha..on second thoughts i will try this just for the sake of a new flavour.

  3. ajwain with its inherent heat seems like a good idea with chicken...and one always keeps looking at new ways to make the holy cow of meats...chicken

    was planning to catch descendents myself

  4. So is the movie worth watching!
    I loved the collection of spices in your gravy!
    how have you been? which grade are the kids.

  5. "Joan of Arc"/Joan ..LOL on that ....."joan" as in Bengali has a very strong flavour, chicken 'er sathe obosho never tumar Salman khan ke bhalo lagto ;-D just wondering! hugs and smiles

    1. Na, na salman khan ke ekdom lagto na kintu "maine..." cinema ta tokhon khub bhalo legechilo :-) Amir khan ke khub bhalo lagto

  6. Mouthwatering here, wat a terrific and super tempting flavourful chicken dish.

  7. I don't think i too have ever used Ajwan, and love reading your posts :-)

  8. Nice curry.I actually always add a bit of ajwain to my chicken curries.Must be a habit from having a lot of ajwan after heavy meals from my younger days!! Loved George Clooney and the movie.

  9. I loved the movie, and the Dad! Thought it was a very good piece of acting. I want to see it again. As you can see, I'm unable to concentrate on ajwain.

  10. A mind refreshing story in the morning! Thanks for reminding Bhagyashree flying white pigeon... a sweet memory! And the carom & caraway - :D. Tobe tomar recipe sounds good, setar background e jatoi mojar story thak. The recipe name sounds very authentic offcourse.

  11. Never tried chicken with ajwain,..:) must have been yum,..:)

  12. North Indian khabar e eto joaan je amar obbhesh hoye giyeche ... But chicken e kokhono try korini. Bechara Amir khan past tense ta dekhe dukkhu pabe. :-)

  13. local train-er joan, aar aqua ptychotis :)) i remember both very, very well!

  14. is that anjum anand's book underneath? heh

  15. The beginning of the post is awesome. I immediately (almost) watch The Descendants, waiting for that line to happen.
    It didnt.
    When, which part of the movie does that voice over happen? Please, please tell me!

    by the way, the recipe is delish! I need to try it out soon!

    1. Are you serious ? What line? there is no line from Descendants in this post. I hope I am not talking to a spammer

    2. Chicken lloks really yumm... I love the taste and smell of ajwain. It is used a lot in Gujrati undiyo..its my fav:)

  16. First time i made chicken with ajwain, aroma of ajwain spin the chicken taste and it was yummy

  17. Mouthwatering :D So either this or your SIL's methi chicken is for our Pujo starter menu. Any recommendations which one to go for? :)

    1. Go with SIL's methi chicken. Easier and better tasting

  18. We try this recipe and enjoy another delicious chicken dish...thank u

  19. Made with caraway. Delicious. Did with a fewer chilies - green, red as well as pepper powder.


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