Chef Kedar Bobade finds black chicken to be a rich ingredient to work with

Updated: Jan 28, 2018, 14:25 IST | Kusumita Das

The black chicken might test your fortitude, but once you cross the mental barrier, it's a rich ingredient to work with, finds chef Kedar Bobade

Chef Kedar Bobade at Indigo Deli. Pic/Shadab Khan
Chef Kedar Bobade at Indigo Deli. Pic/Shadab Khan

The black chicken, or the kadaknath chicken, as it is called in Maharashtra, might pose a few challenges in the kitchen. However, what more than makes up for the effort you put in is its earthy taste, high protein content and low cholesterol count. Chef Kedar Bobade of Indigo Deli, first stumbled on the "wild bird" two years ago, on a biking trip on the border of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. He had tried it at a dhaba, where it was made in curry style. On his return, he tried mastering the black chicken. "I must say the R&D took a while, and it was quite long before we managed to arrive at something." Now, his go-to black chicken dish is the black fowl and root vegetable stew, refined after trial and error.

Black fowl and root veggies stew
Black fowl and root veggies stew

Pigmented right down to the bones, this is chicken that requires some getting used to. "Unlike broiler chicken, that is usually tender, this is firm. It has an earthy aroma and taste. Since it is not grown and bred in captivity, it's free-range, and has fed on everything, including the food it is given. And since it moves around a lot, the muscles are well developed, making it a nutritious substitute," says Bobade. "If I were to compare it with something, the desi murgi comes close. What you obtain from black chicken is a gelatinous stew that is packed with nutrition and flavour."

Raw black chicken
Raw black chicken

Unlike regular chicken, this one is not for grilling. It demands patience. Dum cooking follows a five-hour marination. "Never grill it. It is not meant for sharp temperatures," says the chef, who prefers to double marinade the chicken before stewing it. "I use a combination of garlic, paprika, oregano, thyme and chilli paste. You make a gravy out of tomato and onion, and saute it. Add the chicken and let it slow cook. Towards the end of the cooking process, I add root veggies like potato and carrots. So, the stew becomes a meal in itself," he says. Deep frying isn't an option either since it would dilute its protein content. "The health benefits make it a hit among the fitness conscious," says Bobade. "Once, you've crossed the mental block that's the colour mostly, it's a wonderful ingredient waiting to be discovered."

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