Thursday 25 June 2015

Globe-cooking recipe : Chicken Choyla (Nepal) #readcookeat

I couldn't decide what to call this blogpost because it's a #readcookeat recipe, inspired by a foodie mention in The Last Exile by E.V. Seymour (click through to read my review), but it's also a globe-cooking recipe that ended up being a great way of clearing out my spice rack so I'll add it to #KitchenClearout too. How's that for multitasking ?!

Cooking the books for #readcookeat was how it all started though, so I highlighted a few foodie mentions as I was reading. The first couple weren't very inspiring :

p152 "Most shops were geared to tourists and sold local art, pottery, bric-a-brac with fishing themes, gaudy trinkets, homemade pasties, clotted cream fudge and ices."

Well, I did make some rather nice (and incredibly simple) sausagemeat and stuffing pasties a while ago, but I wasn't overly inspired. Would anything better come up?

p179 "After a beer and a strange dinner of pasta bake with a sausage chucked in, he took a long hot shower, turning in for the night with the newspapers he'd bought in Devon."

Well, it may sound like just the sort of thing I'd make as a quick midweek meal to use up the leftovers, but I didn't think it would warrant a blogpost ! Luckily, there was the perfect foodie reference coming up a few pages on :

p207 "He'd wolfed down chicken choyla, a Nepalese speciality, followed by lamb jalfrazi with a side dish of tarka dal and topped it off with a pudding of coconut and persimmon ice cream."

That's it ! The perfect unknown, exotic-sounding recipe that just needed googling. I looked at several recipes for Chicken Choyla (or Cholia or Chhoyela) and converted it slightly to fit with what I had in the cupboard and my spice rack. Apparently it is usually served as an appetiser but I decided to make mine into a main meal by serving it with rice.

Chicken Choyla

ingredients :

450g chicken breast
2 onions
1 tbsp ginger paste (or powder)
1tbsp garlic paste
2tsp cumin
2tsp garam masala
1/2tsp turmeric
1tsp chilli powder
lime juice
2 large tomatoes
chives or spring onions (to serve)

This was a great chance to pick up my #KitchenClearout challenge - I had a rummage in my spice rack and found a variety of Knorr Flavour Pots, including curry, mixed chillies, garlic and ginger & lemongrass, all of which could be used in this dish, as well as some half-used jars of garam masala, ginger, cumin and chilli & lime. Perfect !

First of all, chop the chicken and onions and fry them in a small amount of oil until the chicken is nicely browned and the onions are soft.

Add the spices - I used a garlic flavour pot, plus 1-2tsp each of the garam masala, ginger, cumin and chilli & lime. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of salt.

Chop the tomatoes and throw them into the mix. Cook for a couple more minutes until the tomatoes are soft and warmed through. Keep tossing the ingredients around in the pan so the flavours are all nicely mingled.

I was very impressed with how this turned out. It's really quick and simple and needs much less preparation than a curry. The tomatoes keep it nice and light (you could eat it without rice for an ever lighter option) and it's slightly spicy (but not at all overpowering) with a lovely zesty topnote. Delicious !

Fancy having a look to see what's lurking in the back of your larder/freezer/fridge/spice rack? Join in with this month's #KitchenClearout linkie !

Fancy cooking the books?! Join in with the #readcookeat linkie at Chez Maximka.


  1. you are doing better than me for foodie refernces, the latest one I found was ham and pease pudding sandwiches! Love the look of the dish

  2. I haven't heard of this Nepalese dish before, but what a foodie find in a book! Did you have it with rice or salad? Lots of tasty flavours.

    1. I served it with rice but from what I can gather, normally it's served as it is as a starter - kind of like tapas I suppose.

  3. Chickenchoyla41123 May 2022 at 05:04

    Your supposed to add mustard oil to the spices and make a paste, It is then applied to the meat that has been grilled or traditionally boiled. Yours looks nice though great first attempt on the Nepali national dish!

    1. Ahh that sounds like it would work even better. I'll have to give it another go and follow your advice. Thanks for your message :)


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