Stop. Wait a minute. This post is special. Not only is this the first recipe I ever made, it’s a family favorite! (Especially, my brother’s)
I’ve made this bread countless times; in exchange of favors, to bribe others with, to impress certain people. Just this weekend I baked two gorgeous loaves for my grandparents. Nana abu loved it so much he rewarded me with cash. $_$
Chicken bread is a classic of Pakistani bakeries and you’ll be served it at most of the tea parties here.
The dough, which I explained with step-by-step photos in my last post (click HERE to view it) couldn’t be any simpler. While it is rising you can get on with the creamy chicken filling. The filling needs to be cooled down before it can be stuffed inside the bread, or else it’ll make the bread soggy (and no one wants soggy bread!)
Although they look very fancy, with a little nifty hand work, these glistening golden loaves are braided in minutes. Even though I struggled with floury hands and a camera, I’ve tried to explain the braiding as clearly as I could with a few photos. Of course, finesse comes with practice. So don’t be disheartened if your first attempts are not perfectly symmetrical (mine go a bit wonky too), they’ll still be delicious!
On a lightly floured counter, roll out dough into a rectangle.
Place filling in the center, leaving at least space on the sides.
Make slits with the help of a sharp knife along both sides. Leave about 3 inches uncut at the top and the bottom.
Bring the topmost slit ends across from each other alternately. Keep on crossing all of the strips in a crisscross fashion.
Tuck in the space left at the top and bottom to keep the filling intact.
Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle a few sesame seeds. And voila! It’s ready to go in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve hot bread with hot tea to the loving and deserving.
Braided Chicken Bread
Yields: 2 large loaves or 4 small ones
4 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons flour, heaped
1 teaspoon salt, leveled
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder (All spice powder)
1 cup whole milk
1 ½ cup cooked chicken, shredded1
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 green chilies, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
Sesame seeds, white/ black
1 teaspoon water
For the filling: In a pan melt the butter and add the onion. Fry till the onions become soft and transparent. Add the flour, salt, black pepper, mustard powder, and the garam masala. Mix till combined. Take the pan off the heat and add the milk. Turn on the heat again, at low to medium flame, and stir constantly with the help of a wooden spoon. When the sauce starts thickening add the shredded chicken, ketchup, green chilies, and the coriander. Cook for just a minute more, and then allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
On a floured countertop, roll out half the dough in a rectangle. Place the prepared filling in the center. Cut slits across either long sides with the help of a sharp knife, leaving some space at the top and the bottom. Bring the topmost slit ends across from each other alternately. Keep on crossing all of the strips in a crisscross fashion. Tuck in the space left at the top and bottom to keep the filling intact. Brush with egg wash (the egg beaten up with the 1 teaspoon of water). Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes till its golden brown.
Repeat with the other half of the dough.
*Best served fresh out of the oven. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, warm in the microwave before serving.
1. Boil 2 chicken breasts in water, a few black peppercorns, and one cinnamon stick. Store the stock for later use.
Recipe source: Shireen Anwer