In Lahore there are many restaurants where you can get this delicious deep fried chicken. I believe chargha is another Urdu word for chicken (hen, like murghi), but for some reason I have also seen this dish called "chicken chargha," which means chicken chicken. Kind of like chai tea and naan bread. Usually it's the goras who say chai tea and naan bread, but I have seen desis saying or writing chicken chargha. I know chargh/chargha is used in Pashto. Maybe chargha as chicken is too obscure since murghi or English "chicken" are so widely used. So maybe it got stuck that way the same way some English speakers say "with au jus." Au jus really means "with juice" so they are saying "with with juice." Long tangent... Anyhoo...in Lahore you can also get this same dish made with quail (batair).
In this recipe, I make use of a pressure cooker to briefly cook the chicken through while causing the marinade gravy to cling nicely to the bird's flesh. The pressure cooker nicely tenderizes the bird as well, so you don't get dry, over-cooked chicken from the double cooking process.
For this recipe you need bone-in, skinless chicken pieces. You can use a whole or halved chicken if you feel brave and have a large vessel for deep frying. In my recipe I usually use a quartered chicken or sometimes just leg-thigh pieces (5-6).
1 cup yoghurt
1 tbs vinegar
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds
1/2 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
1 tsp red chile powder
1 tbs red chile flakes
1 heaping tbs chaat masala (Shan brand is fine)
1 tsp salt or to taste
tiny pinch of orange food coloring (like biriani rangi)
Oil for deep frying
Lemon juice and chaat masala for final garnish
Make slits in the chicken so that marinade can penetrate. In a large deep bowl, whip the ingredients into the yoghurt. Add the chicken and slather it with the marinade. Marinate overnight in the refridgerator.
Place chicken pieces directly into the pressure cooker. There is no need to add water or oil. Cover the pressure cooker and cook on medium-low heat until you get one whistle (about 10 minutes). Lower the flame and continue to cook for five for minutes. Turn off the flame and release the pressure. When the lid opens, remove the chicken pieces and set out to cool down. The chicken should be just barely cooked. Notice the marinade is clinging so nicely to the chicken. These flavor bits will stick to the flesh even when you deep fry later.
When the chicken has completely cooled, heat oil in a deep pan (big enough to submerge the chicken pieces). When oil is hot, deep fry the chicken and remove from the oil. At this stage you are just giving the chicken a spice-crust, the chicken should be fully cooked so there is no need to fry for more than a few moments.Using a strainer or a slotted ladel, scoop out some deep fried bits of marinade and spread these on the chicken as well for extra tasty bits.
Drain chicken pieces and then set on a serving dish. Squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle chaat masala on top of the chicken.
If you have some roghni naan, serve with that, plus raita, tamarind chutney. Shauqeen log can serve this with white bread and ketchup.