Explore some of Mumbai's iconic chicken dishes at these city eateries and addas

12 February,2024 07:10 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Phorum Pandya

The flavourful chicken fare at a newly-opened Asian eatery in Lower Parel nudged us to hit the rewind button to celebrate some iconic, timeless dishes served across city eateries and addas

Chicken gassi

Last month, PF Chang's debuted in India after 300 outposts in over 20 countries, in Lower Parel. Known for its American Chinese and Asian fare since the 1990s, the menu, tweaked for desi palates including Jain patrons, uses the 2,000-year-old method of wok cooking on a 700-degree flame. Those who have tucked into its fare abroad, can look forward to classic original dynamite shrimp, Chang's lettuce wraps, spicy kimchi fried rice and Mongolian tenderloin.

While the first PF Chang's opened in 1993 in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the early 1960s, co-founder, Philip Chiang, opened Mandarette, which served modern adaptations of his family's traditional Chinese dishes. A regular at the restaurant, Paul Fleming, saw potential and joined hands to create PF Chang's. The menu today spans across Asia, with recipes from Japan, Korea, Thailand, and beyond.

Chef Jerry Thomas

When we visit for a launch trial, two dishes intrigue us. Dali chicken, which offers a cumin-and chilli-led chicken and potatoes grill combination. The second, is orange chicken with tender pieces of chicken fried nuggets in a sweet and tangy orange sauce, that could be a China Town discovery.
Jerry Thomas, culinary head, PF Chang's India, says, "When it first opened, chefs travelled to China to source rustic food stories. The Dali chicken is a classic dish from the original menu and has roots in Mongolian cuisine. It has cumin and chilli flavouring. The potatoes are fried in a wok and made crispy, and then chicken is folded in."

The orange chicken is a balanced honey-sweet and citrus tangy dish, originally served at Mandarette. "The food served here is fare that Chinese immigrants prepared in America. Their fare remained true to its roots, but expressions were with ingredients they sourced locally. Even Kamling at Churchgate used to serve this dish. The sauce is made with orange, chilli sauce and honey," he explains.

Chicken bhujing. FIle Pic

Dali chicken inspires us to scour for the best, most popular, old-school, iconic chicken dishes in the city. Our nostalgia trail commences with chicken bhujing, the iconic chicken, poha and potato dish with origins in Virar made famous by the Gawad family who run the 75-year-old Agashi Bhujing Centre in Agashi. The dish was created by its founder Babu Hari who invented bhujing as chakhna.

A coastal detour leads us to Bharat ExcellenSea's chicken gassi and chicken Malabar. Suraj Salian, its owner says, "Gassi is a traditional Mangalorean dish that comes from the coast; here, delicate pieces of chicken called supreme chicken are cooked in a spicy gravy with flavours of coconut milk, onions and kori gassi masala paste. Kori is a local word for chicken. The masala has a local tamarind called kari puli and Karnataka's Byadagi chilli, all cooked in an earthenware pot and simmered in slow fire," he reveals. Most ingredients are sourced from the region while the earthen pots come from Hubli. Chicken Malabar, on the other hand, has a green gravy of pudina, fenugreek, coriander, along with onions, tomato gravy, coconut milk, mustard seeds, and garlic.

Here's a cut-and-keep guide of dishes that make these institutions iconic till date.


Dali chicken; (right) Chicken Kiev. File Pics

. Chicken a la Kiev: Chicken Kiev is a Russian cuisine showstopper with its stuffed chicken fillet that is coated with cold butter, egg and bread crumbs, and deep-fried. At Gaylord, they use herbed butter, and serve it with rice and diced vegetables.
AT Gaylord, Mayfair Building, VN Road, Churchgate.
TIME 9.30 am to 11.30 pm
CALL 22821259

. Pollo ala Indian: A creamy indulgence awaits with a filling serving of chicken stir fried with mushroom and bell peppers cooked in
creamy curried sauce and served with rice.
AT Café Churchill, East West Court Building, Colaba Causeway, Apollo Bunder.
TIME 11 am to 11.30 pm
CALL 9820051364


Orange chicken. Pics/Sameer Markande; (right) Bagdadi chicken fried curry. Pic Courtesy/Instagram

. Chicken salli boti (salli marghi) : Parsi eateries and their charm never fail to impress. Despite the hurried service and multiple warning-type signboards, we revisit these spaces for their wholesome, homely fare. On top of our list is salli boti; here, the creaminess of slow-cooked meat is coupled with crunchy potato sticks. Wash it down with Pallonji's soda.
AT Kyani & Co., Jer Mahal Estate, 657, Jagannath Shankar Seth Road, Dhobi Talao, Marine Lines.
TIME 7 am to 7 pm; Sundays, 7 am to 4 pm
CALL 8928616793

. Kerala chicken: Mallu food is a mood, and the Kerala chicken is a semi-dry dish eaten as a snack or paired with biryani or parotta. Not meant for the weak-hearted, this dish has all the zing to set your palate on a riotous culinary joyride.
AT Hotel Kerala Deluxe, No 10-A, Pitha Street, behind Saraswati temple, Fort.
TIME 12.30 pm to 12 am
CALL 22042351

. Bagdadi chicken fry: Head here for a no-frills halt to savour a desi-style marinated fried chicken with a fried potato on the side. Save room for a full meal of boti and bhuna masala.
AT Bagdadi Restaurant, Tulloch Road, behind The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Apollo Bunder, Colaba.
TIME 7 am to 12.30 am
CALL 09167237117


Chefs at work at Shalimar Hotel

. Chicken stew: The last word in old-school, traditional Cantonese fare for the last 70-plus years, Baba Ling sticks to the agenda like a boss.
AT Ling's Pavilion, Building No 19, 21, MB Marg, near Regal Cinema, Apollo Bunder, Colaba.
TIME 11.30 am to 10.30 am
CALL 22850023

. Chicken biryani: The first outpost started in Grant Road in 1973, and since then the chain has fed many biryani cravings. Its founder Jaffer Bhai Mansuri's philosophy was to identify the right ingredients for a quality product. Today, it has outlets in Mahim, Marine Lines and Mohammad Ali Road.
AT Jafar Bhai's Delhi Darbar, all city outlets.
TIME 11 am to 1 am
CALL 23875698

Chefs at Pritam restaurant; (right) butter chicken from Pritam

. Butter chicken: Pritam is credited for introducing butter chicken in Mumbai when they opened in 1942. The 80-year-old institution has ustaads who have mastered the art of lending a delicately smoked flavour to the chicken from the tandoor before transferring it into the makhani gravy. Originally, the dish was made up solely of butter and tandoori chicken. The ‘curry' culture led to the addition of makhani gravy, thus rechristened as murgh makhani.
AT Pritam, Swami Gyan Jivandas Marg, Dadar East; First floor, Bloom Hotel, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu.
TIME 11 am to 12 am (Dadar); 12 pm to 3.30 pm; 7 pm to 12.30 am (Juhu)
CALL 8591422913/9372824987

"Exciting news! Mid-day is now on WhatsApp Channels Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest news!" Click here!
indian food mumbai food Food and drink mumbai guide things to do in mumbai Lifestyle news
Related Stories