Chhoila is one of the popular spicy meat dish. It’s an authentic recipe from newari cuisine. It is eaten as a snack or an entree.
There are two types of chhoila dish, the grilled chhoila (Haku chhoila- black grilled meat) and mana chhoila (boiled meat).
In newari cuisine this is a much loved meat dish which is also part of samey baji (beaten rice with assortment of bean, meat, spicy potato, lentil patty, soyabean and achar).
Traditionally chhoila is made buffalo meat by roasting in the open fire made from hay. As only the tender cut of meat is used, the hay fire quickly chars the meat on the outside but cooking it only medium rare. This method infuses meat with a smoky and earthy flavour which is just out of this world.
The mana chhoila usually is made from offals like tripe and liver. It’s an exquisite but acquired taste. The aromatic spices and herbs make it a delectable dish.
Chhoila is made on special festivals as part of samey baji but it is also eaten as part of lunch or dinner. There’s a slight variation to this dish when it is made for regular meal. The grilled tomato purée is added to chhoila to be eaten with rice, veggies and curries.
I always make this dish when I have a craving for a spicy and hot food. It’s so simple and easy yet very tasty dish.
The beauty about Nepali cuisine and or newari cuisine is the variations it allows based on individual’s preference. You can try different versions of the same dish. The spices could be adjusted more or less on personal preference.
During winter you can get tender greens of garlic (leek). It’s not as big and fat as the ones we get here. It’s more like spring onion with flat leaves. The leek is finely chopped and added raw to chhoila mixed with all the lovely spices. This leek enhances the taste making it garlicky flavour and also adds a texture making it crunchy and fresh.
With this recipe, you can add grilled tomato paste to make it moist.
Here’s the recipe:
(Recommend to take a mint after to freshen your breath as this dish use raw garlic)
800 grams Meat
(I used chicken breast but you can use any tender cut of red meat)
6-8 cloves of garlic
Knob of ginger
1/2 tablespoon of chilli (or as per your preference)
10-12 Szechwan pepper (timoor)
Salt as per taste
2 tablespoon of oil (mustard oil for more authentic taste)
Dash of lemon juice
1/2 cup of chopped coriander
3-4 whole red chillies
10 Fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
Pinch of asafetida (if available)
Grill the chicken breast for 5 minutes on each side ensuring meat is cooked through but still tender and moist.
In mortar and pestle, pound fresh garlic (6-8) cloves and a knob of ginger (size of a thumb). Add red chilli powder, schewuan pepper and salt making it a fine paste.
After meat is cooked, rest it for 5-10 minutes. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and put it in a bowl. Mix the spice paste with chicken.
In a pan, heat oil and add fenugreek seed. Pop the seeds until it turns black. Take it off the heat. Add turmeric, asafetida and whole chilles and tip it onto the chicken chhoila.
Add dash of lemon and chopped coriander and it’s ready to be served.
Serve chhoila with rice and curry or with salad or on it’s own as you please.