Assamese cuisine is simple and based on fresh local ingredients. We love our sour curries and enjoy a variety of citrus fruits. Kaji Nemu is a variety of lemon which is high on flavor and low on juice. Chicken curry with Karzi Nemu and rice powder is a dish I had wanted to prepare for a very long time.
I used the rind and juice both for this dish. Simple spices which are readily available are used, and the preferred cooking oil is mustard oil. However, I tried this recipe with both mustard oil and regular refined oil separately. We loved both. I used rice powder slurry, just as in a traditional Assamese kitchen, to thicken the gravy.
Karzi or Kaji Nemu is ingenious to Assam, and it will be difficult for you to find a replacement. You may try it with the regular lemon and reduce the juice by half.
My mum makes the best lemonade with these. No matter how hard I try, it’s almost impossible to replicate, especially without this particular variety of lemon. Our meals are incomplete without a slice of this lemon. In every restaurant and even in marriages, a tiny bowl with salt, green chilies, and slices of kaji nemu is mandatory. If you ask me, we prefer a piece of fresh lemon over pickles too.
I do hope you try and like this recipe.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
- Chicken 500 gms
- Kaji lemon 2
- Onion 1
- Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
- Cumin powder 1 tsp
- Paprika ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder ½ tsp
- Coriander powder ½ tsp
- Panch phoron 1 tsp ( mix of fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, and black sesame seeds)
- Dried chili 2
- Fresh chili 2
- Fresh coriander ½ cup
- Rice powder ½ tsp + ¼ cup water
- Heat oil in a pan and add the panch phoron. Once the oil is flavored, add the chilies and onion.
- Saute till the onions are soft, and then add the ginger-garlic paste. Mix the powdered spice (turmeric, cumin powder, paprika, and coriander powder) with a tablespoon of water and add to the pan.
- Once the oil starts releasing, add the chicken pieces.
- Cook on high heat with continuous stirring for 30 seconds. Then turn down the heat and let the chicken cook through.
- Add the zest of one lemon, juice of two, and half a cup of water. Gradually add the rice powder slurry and keep stirring.
- Thicken the gravy to your desired consistency. Serve hot with steamed rice.