Grandma Maud White’s Country Captain Chicken

Bridget Kumar


Chicken, main dish, spicy, Anglo-Indian

Bridget Kumar

Bridget was born and brought up in Kolar Gold Fields,Karnataka. She got her B Ed degree in Bangalore, taught for two years, and then joined Canara Bank, from where she retired a few years ago. She is a self-published author of five cookbooks specializing in Anglo-Indian cuisine, and works as a consultant on food related matters. For copies of her books, contact her at or visit

In the late 1950s to early 1960s, when I was a child, our Anglo-Indian family would gather every Sunday in my grandparent’s home in Robertsonpet, Kolar Gold Fields, Karnataka. My siblings, cousins and I would crowd around grandma Maud White, who was in her late 60’s, as she prepared Country Captain Chicken, a favourite of the whole family.

Anglo-Indian cuisine is a fusion of Western and Indian cuisine, in which the normally bland Western cuisine is given a dash of Indian flavour. Over many years, Indian ingredients and cooking techniques were assimilated into western cuisine, giving rise to a distinctive cuisine that comfortably straddles both cultures.

Cooking this dish took a long time. The poultry used was authentic, well-fed, homegrown country chickens. Everything had to be prepared from scratch. The masalas were ground manually on a grinding stone by our family servants. She would then prepare this dish over firewood, cooking on low heat for at least two hours. It was rich and delicious, and my mouth still waters for it! She would serve it with rice and bread.

Bridget Kumar's Country Captain Chicken

I have adapted her recipe to suit present day available masala powders. The recipe is from my book Flavours of the Past.

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Serves 6 Preparation Time 30 minutes


  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) chicken cut into medium size pieces
  • 3 large onions sliced finely
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 6 or 8 whole pepper corns
  • 2 dry red chillies broken into bits
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic

Heat oil in a pan, and fry the onions and chopped garlic lightly. Add the chicken and mix in the garlic paste. Sauté for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the chilly powder, turmeric powder, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, red chilli, peppercorns and salt. Add ½ cup of water and cook until the chicken is tender and the gravy is quite thick.

© Bridget Kumar, India, 2008

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