It is interesting to know that there are numerous names for hard chicken, depending on the country and region. I have listed some of them below;
- Hard Chicken
- Old hen
- Free Range chicken
- Curry Chicken
- Gam Kukulu mas (Sinhalese)
- Desi chicken (Urdu)
- Galina bird (Spanish)
- Country chicken
- Old backyard chicken
- Natu Kodi (Telugu)
- Nattu Kozhi (Tamil)
- Nattu Koli
- Kini Koli
- Nati Koli (Kannada)
Have a look at the nutrition facts of hard chicken which reflects it as a healthy version to broiler chicken.
Serving Size: 1 serving
Calories in Healthy Choice Country Chicken
|Total Fat||9.0 g|
|Saturated Fat||2.0 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||5.0 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||2.0 g|
|Total Carbohydrate||53.0 g|
|Dietary Fiber||6.0 g|
What is hard chicken?
Hard chicken is actually free-range old hen, who stopped laying eggs and running free, eating natural stuff and lives longer than its’ peers’. Old granny bird indeed!
Hard chicken meat is available only at ethnic butches not in the supermarket shelves. So, remember to ask them to remove skin and cut the bird into medium size pieces which makes the cooking process much easier.
I particularly love the deep flavours in the chewy meat on the bone and it is very satisfying to know that there is hardly any fats in it. A piece of good news for those who are obsessed with counting calories!
You need to cook it low and slow to get the right flavours and texture. For instance, vinegar and potatoes help in tenderising the meat in slow cooking. I must insist that cooking in the pressure cooker will cook the chicken rapidly but destroy its natural flavours. So, the Grand Ma’s old fashioned cooking on the stove in a pot will bring out its natural flavours and juices!
If you taste it once, you will always remember its extraordinary delicious taste. Do not forget to add a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk at the end which will contribute to a surprising level of flavours. Try this dish with hot rice, rotis, noodles, pasta or bread or with boiled cassava mixed with fresh coconut flakes which will complement the dish in a great deal.
|Hard Chicken||1 full cut into medium size pieces|
|Chilli powder (preferably Kashmiri chilli)||1 tbsp|
|Ginger root||1 1/2 inch|
|Roasted curry powder||1/2 tbsp|
|Fresh coconut milk or Maggi coconut milk powder||2 tbsp|
|Curry leaves||A few crushed|
|Green chillies||1 slit|
|Whole spices; Cardamoms, Cloves, Cinnamon,||4 each|
|Potatoes||2 cut into chunks|
Let’s make it:
Step 1 : Marinate the chicken pieces
- Marinate the chicken pieces with vinegar, salt, turmeric, chilli powder, roasted curry powder, ginger and garlic paste and crushed curry leaves.
- Cover and keep aside for at least 1 hr. (preferably overnight in the fridge for the chicken pieces to absorb the essence of spices and soften with vinegar)
Step 2: Roast the chicken in the pan
- Heat up 2/3 tbsp of any oil in a wide pan
- Add the whole spices; cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and a few curry leaves crushed
- Saute chopped onions
- Add freshly grated or crushed garlic and ginger
- Fry a couple of minutes
- Add a 1tsp of chilli powder and gather all the spices and fry (this will bring out a very tempting colour to the gravy once cooked)
- Now drop the marinated chicken pieces
- Stir fry the chicken pieces for nearly 10 mins in medium flame allowing the excess water to evaporate
- Close the lid and lower the flame to the minimum. Splash a little water if the pan is too dry. Let it sit for 5 mins. This will let all the natural juices to come out
- Open the lid again, stir fry for 5 more mins gathering juices with chicken pieces until they are well coated
- Pour water just above chicken pieces and close the lid. It has to cook for about 45 mins under medium flame. Give a stir occasionally
- Add more water in between if the chicken pieces are hard
- After 45 mins open and pour a cup of more hot water if the water level is low but the chicken pieces are still hard. Cook until chicken pieces are tender enough. You must always add hot water not the cold water and it is quite alright to increase the amount of water gradually to yield enough gravy to go around!
Step 3: Add potatoes
- Now, check salt and add more if you desire
- Drop the potatoes and a slit green chilli
- Close and simmer under low flame for 10mins
- Finally, add 2 tbsps of fresh or Maggi instant coconut milk, a handful of curry leaves and cook for another 10 mins under very low flame. This final therapy will contribute to the tempting colour of the curry and make it more flavourful too
- Let the pot rest for 15 mins before serving (cook this curry on the night before and it will taste incredibly flavourful on the next day)
- Tastes best with hot rice, rotis, noodles or with boiled cassava (maniyok) mixed with fresh coconut