Varanasi is the civilisational soul of India, yet so much about it remains a mystery for most of us. Especially its popular culture and cuisine.
The mystique of Varanasi, Banaras in popular language, was best expressed by the author Mark Twain, who wrote after a visit in 1897: “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”
Fortunately, we are better informed today about this venerated city of “84,000 gods” because of the singular efforts of microbiologist-turned-food writer Sangeeta Khanna, whose “Banaras Ka Khana”
Ingredients for making the Vanarasi Tikka
Chicken leg boneless – 850gms
Betel Leaves – 150 gms
Hung Curd – 180 gms
Cashewnut paste -2 tbsp
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
Kewra Water – 1 tsp
Rose water – 1 tsp
Garam Masala- 1 tbsp
Kashmiri Red Chilli powder – 2 tbsp
Refined Oil – 80 ml
Salt –to taste
Melted Butter- for basting
Method of making Vanarasi Tikka
Clean, wash and cut each chicken leg into 4 pieces and pat dry with a cloth.
Wash betel leaves, put them in a processor, add a few drops of water and make a fine paste.
Transfer to a bowl.
In a bowl whisk hung curd with a betel leaf paste, cashew nut paste, ginger garlic paste, kewra
water, rose water and the remaining ingredients, mixed well.
Put the chicken pieces into this marinade and rub well. Keep aside for 2-3 hours better to keep the
marinade overnight in case of strong flavour of betel leaves is desired.
- Take a skewer and skew the marinated chicken pieces, keep a tray underneath to collect
- Roast In a moderately hot tandoor or over a charcoal grill for 6-7 minutes.
- Remove from tandoor and hang the skewers to let excess moisture drain out completely (2-
3 minutes) Baste with melted butter and roast for another 4 to 5 minutes.
- When cooked transfer the chicken on the serving dish.
- Serve hot garnish with chat masala, accompanied with salads and mint chutney.