Marghi Na Farcha Recipe
November December 2017
A Portion of a Big Wedding Feast
A traditional Parsi dish making for a small portion of the big and lavish wedding feasts, marghi na farcha has an authentic yet easy method of preparation. Literally a big piece of chicken, it is also a weekend favourite of many.
A descendant of Persian Zoroastrians who came to India to flee religious persecution by Muslims, the Parsi community in India, although small in number has a rich culture that is defined by their unique traditions, beliefs and food. Known to be hosting lavish weddings with the signature retro music filling the ambience, what really fills the hearts of the guests are the fancy wedding feasts or the lagan nu bhonu. Traditionally served on patra or banana leaves laid out for communal dining with white linen-covered tables laid out in rows, the lagan nu bhonu has an interesting spread of items.
In a typical service, what comes first is the gajar meva nu achaar, a sweet and spicy carrot and dried fruit pickle followed by the fish course including the much relished paatra ni macchi, pomfret coated in coriander and mint chutney and steamed in banana leaves. “The next dish, in my opinion, is the pièce de résistance. My weakness for the sweet and sour flavours of Parsi food is best satisfied with the salli marghi where succulent pieces of boned chicken are cooked in tomato gravy with vinegar and sugar (or dried apricots) and garnished with a generous heap of deep-fried potato straws,” says Kainaz Contractor, a former food writer and founder of Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu, a restaurant in New Delhi. Parsi food is characterised by sweet, sour, and spicy flavourings, and culinary techniques, including steaming and baking, frying and broiling. Contractor fondly shares with us the richness of Parsi wedding food that she says is bolder and spicier than home-cooked food and is thus accompanied by saccharine raspberry soda, a popular Parsi drink and the lagan nu custard, a baked egg custard loaded with nuts and raisins. Contractor readily shares with us the recipe of a heartily savoured wedding feast of marghi na farcha, a crispy fried masala chicken coated in egg batter. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
Chicken thigh — 12 boneless pieces
Red chilli powder — 2 tbsp
Green chilli paste — 1 tsp or more to taste
Turmeric powder — 1 tsp
Cumin powder– 1 tbsp
Ginger-garlic paste — 1 tbsp
Lemon juice – 1 lemon
Chopped coriander leaves — 2 tbsp
Egg whites whisked to achieve soft peaks — 4 eggs
Semolina — 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
- Gently flatten each piece of chicken with a meat hammer. Evenly prick the surface of the chicken with a fork to ensure the chicken marinates and cooks equally.
- Mix the chicken with all the ingredients except coriander, egg and semolina. Keep aside for at least an hour to let it marinate
- Mix in the coriander and coat each piece in semolina. Dip each piece, one at a time, in the egg white batter and fry on medium heat for six-seven minutes until the chicken is cooked and the egg coating is golden brown in colour.
- Egg batter tends to soak in more oil than usual so let the cooked pieces rest on a paper-towel to drain off any excess oil. Serve immediately with a spicy coriander-mint chutney.