Showing posts with label curry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label curry. Show all posts

Oct 8, 2018

Tariwala Mutton Curry

curry, easy, goat, gravy, Indian, lamb, Mutton, pushpesh pant, Recipe, simple, stew, tari, tariwala, tariwala mutton, venison,

"Tari" means sauce or gravy and it is traditionally quite thin in this classic Punjabi dish. Mutton or lamb is braised until tender with richly caramelized onions and aromatic spices in this simple home-style recipe.


This recipe is adapted from Pushpesh Pant's weekly column "Food Talk" in the Punjab-based newspaper The Tribune. Dr. Pant is a famed food historian, critic, and travel writer as well as a noted academic. He retired as a Professor of International relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi in 2011. He is one of India's leading experts on international relations as well as Indian cuisine. He is the author of several books and has written articles for publications such as Forbes, Times of India, Outlook, and Open. Personally, I think he started India's modern 'foodie' movement!

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As Dr. Pant wrote in his newspaper column back in 2006 this is sort of the "Plain Jane" of mutton curries in northern India. Once standard dhaba and "no frills" diner fare Tariwala Mutton now seems too homely for restaurant menus and has been replaced by fancier dishes. But this is the style of mutton dish I've been served most when visiting Punjabis at home and it is one of my favorites! With the mild spices and thin, almost broth-like gravy you'll find this recipe to be a bit more like what we Westerners call a stew than what we think of as a curry. Caramelized onions are the flavor base of the  "tari" or thin gravy so be sure to allow plenty of time to get them to that deep golden stage. I normally make this dish with goat so I use a pressure cooker. If you are cooking tender lamb a deep skillet or Dutch oven atop the hob would be a better choice for simmering. Despite the humble ingredients, I'm sure you'll be amazed at the richness of flavor in this "Plain Jane" dish. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 kg/2lbs mutton or lamb, cut into 2-inch pieces, bone in preferred
1/4 C cooking oil or ghee
4 onions, diced finely
4 black cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised in mortar and pestle
4 cloves/laung
1 cassia leaf/tej patta
2-inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini or cinnamon quill
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
12 black peppercorns/kali mirch, coarsely ground
2 tomatoes, diced finely or pureed
1 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 tsp ginger/adrakh paste
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1 tsp turmeric/haldi
salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1)  Heat the oil for 5 minutes in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan or 5-liter pressure cooker with 2 teaspoonfuls salt. Add onions to hot oil. Fry on high heat stirring constantly for about 10 minutes and then reduce heat. Continue until the onions turn golden. Don’t rush this as the color of the onions adds more flavor and color to the gravy. Err on the side of slightly under caramelized, if you burn the onions they'll be bitter and you'll have to throw them out and start over.


2) Add the cumin seeds, black peppercorns, black cardamoms, cloves, and cassia leaf and fry for about two minutes. Add tomatoes and fry for about 5 minutes or until oil separates. Now add the coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, and a  tablespoonful of water. Continue to stir-fry for about five minutes or until mixture becomes shiny.


3) Add the mutton pieces and cook on high heat for about 15 minutes. The liquid that comes out of the meat should evaporate and the mutton will become slightly brown.


4) If using pan: add 5 cups of water to the mixture and simmer over medium heat till it becomes tender. If using a pressure cooker: add 4 cups water, seal pressure cooker, and allow to steam for 2 whistles or until mutton is tender.


5) Once the mutton is cooked to desired tenderness there should be about two to three cups of gravy left, otherwise, add some hot water and bring it to simmer. Salt to taste and serve hot with rice, naan, or rotis.


Helpful hints:
If you find your onions are not quite as caramelized as they should be or the "tari" or sauce is not as deeply colored as you'd like- a good cheat is to add one tablespoonful of tinned tomato paste with the tomatoes at step 2. 



Sep 17, 2018

Farida Omar's Chicken Curry

 Farida Omar's chicken curry, recipe, farida omar, chicken, curry, easy, simple, authentic, beginner, guarat, gujarati, indian, south africa, nelson mandela, dullah omar,

Farida Omar is the widow of anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela's lawyer, Dullah Omar. Her culinary talents are legendary and her biryanis, curries, and samosas fortified Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Ahmed Kathrada during their incarceration. This is Mrs. Omar's classic recipe for the delicious chicken curry her husband would smuggle into Mr. Mandela while in Pollsmoor prison, Cape Town.

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This recipe is from the 2008 book Hunger for Freedom, the Story of Food in the Life of Nelson Mandela, by Anna Trapido. I found this book while perusing The Guardian  a few years ago. The author, Anna Trepido, is an anthropologist and trained chef as well as a food writer and broadcaster. The book is a brilliantly written gastro-political biography of Nelson Mandela's life. Nelson Mandela's food preferences reveal a multi-racial and multi-cultural anti-apartheid alliance where Thayanagee Pillay made coffee for prisoners awaiting trial, Farida Omar had chicken curry smuggled to Nelson Mandela at Pollsmoor Prison, George Bizos cooked Greek lamb on a spit to celebrate victories, and Ray Harmel served chopped liver in times of trouble. From the corn grinding stone of Nelson Mandela's boyhood to presidential banquets, this book is as much a historical work as a culinary reference. The recipes are all well written and amazing too!

Farida Omar's chicken curry, recipe, farida omar, chicken, curry, easy, simple, authentic, beginner, guarat, gujarati, indian, south africa, nelson mandela, dullah omar,
(via)
I couldn't find much information online about Farida Omar. From a South African pal, I have learned that her parents were fruit and vegetable vendors and immigrants from Gujarat. Her husband, the famed anti-Apartheid activist and human rights lawyer Dullah Omar, passed away in 2004. She is the mother of three children and has two grandchildren also. Mrs. Omar and her children continue to be human rights activists in South Africa and around the globe. In 2017 she received the Masjidul-Quds Lifetime Community Service Award in Century City, Cape Town.

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Looking at the simple list of ingredients this might seem like just another average chicken curry. But Mrs. Omar has a few tricks up her sleeve that set her recipe apart from the rest! For a little extra richness, color, and flavor she adds a tablespoon of tinned tomato paste. I've seen tinned tomato paste used in many recipes of the Indian diaspora in Africa and western countries. Tinned tomato paste is preferred because it is less sweet than tinned tomato puree. It is also quite similar in flavor to "bhuna masala." where the tomatoes are fried down to a rich paste for a curry base. She also adds the fresh ginger and ground spices at the end rather than frying them into oblivion with the onions as is frequently done. The ginger and coriander retain thus a bit more vibrancy giving the curry a brighter flavor.

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All in all this a great basic chicken curry for beginners to try or old pros to add to their repertoire. The only changes I have made are adjusting the amount of liquid and the cooking time of this recipe. I increased the chicken stock or water from 1&1/2 cups to 2 cups because the sauce seemed a bit thick. Mrs. Omar stews her chicken for a good 40 minutes, I find both potatoes and chicken both take about 20 to 25 minutes to braise to perfection on my stove. (Perhaps the African chickens Mrs. Omar cooks are the tougher free-range sorts?)  This recipe perfectly demonstrates the traditional building of flavors and complexity in Indian cooking layer by layer. Yet it is not so overly complicated with long lists of ingredients and numerous intricate steps as to be intimidating. The result is a delectably rich, deep red, and vibrantly savory chicken curry! Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 large whole chicken, portioned & skinned
3 TBS sunflower oil or cooking oil of choice
3 green cardamoms/elaichi, bruised with a mortar pestle
2-inch cinnamon stick or piece of cassia bark/dalchini
4 cloves/laung
1 TBS butter or ghee
2 onions, sliced thinly into half moons
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 big tomatoes, pureed or finely diced
1 TBS tinned tomato paste
1 TBS grated fresh root ginger/adrakh
1 TBS coriander/dhania powder
2 tsp cumin/jeera powder
1 to 2 tsp red chili powder (I used Kashmiri mirch, use less for less heat)
½ tsp turmeric/haldi
2 C chicken stock/shorba or water
6-8 small potatoes, peeled and halved

Here's what to do:
1) Heat cooking oil in large heavy-bottomed skillet or kadhai for about 5 minutes. Fry the cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves in the oil until they release their aroma.

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2) Add the butter and the onions and fry until translucent. Add the garlic and stir through. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the garlic has lost it's raw smell.

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3) Add the pureed tomato and tomato paste and cook over a low heat for 5- 7 minutes to form a thick sauce.
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4) When you see the oil coming to the top of the sauce add the chicken pieces, ginger, coriander, cumin, chili, and turmeric. Stir well.

5) Add 2 cups water or chicken stock and potatoes and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and allow the curry to braise until chicken is tender and potatoes are very soft.  (This usually takes about 25 to 30 minutes on my stove.) Serve with rice, rotis, and a few fresh chutneys for a complete meal.

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Aug 7, 2017

Murgh Xacuti (Goan Spiced Chicken)

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Pronounced 'sha-koo-tee,' this spicy chicken recipe comes from the tropical shores of Goa. A truly classic dish that can be found in almost all restaurants dotting the beaches, towns, and villages. Featuring a savory blend of rich coconut milk, hot red chilis, and aromatic spices- it's best served with steamed rice and mango chutney. 

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This recipe is adapted from the book Recipes from an Indian Kitchen by Parragon Books Ltd. I bought this book in Delhi's IGIA duty-free shopping area on a bargain table for about $6. I've since seen it in Target stores in Florida as well as on Amazon. It's a great cookbook for the price with 100 recipes from all across India. Most of the recipes seem to be restaurant versions of regional dishes rather than from an Indian's home kitchen. It is very well written, easy enough for beginners, and all recipes are accompanied by beautiful photographs.  

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I have made a few changes my adaption of this recipe. The original instructions called for 600g of boneless and skinless chicken pieces. I've upped the quantity of chicken to 1 kg/2.2lbs and use bone-in chicken as it's more authentic. Since I increased the quantity of chicken I increased the amount of spices accordingly. The amounts of coconut milk and water were generous to begin with so I left them the same. The recipe called for whole dried red chilis to be ground but of course I changed them to Kashmiri mirch as per my Kashmiri clan's preferences. The recipe also called for the whole spices to be dry roasted before grinding. I didn't do that. I don't think the dry roasting is a necessary step when then spices are going to be fried and then simmered with the chicken anyway. It is my understanding that dry roasting the spices is only necessary in humid climates to facilitate grinding. (You can read my diatribe on why I don't dry roasting spices here.) I think I added a bit of ginger paste to the base too. That's because ginger is good for you, I love it's lemony flavor,  and most other Xacuti recipes I've perused online include it too. Anyway, this is a really easy and really delicious South Indian style chicken curry. If you're new to making curries or a seasoned pro - I'm sure you'll enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!

Ingredients:
1kg/2lbs skinless chicken pieces
3 TBS cooking oil of choice or ghee
1/2 C onion, finely diced
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrakh paste
400ml (1 can) or 14 oz coconut milk or coconut cream
1 C water
2 tsp tamarind paste
Grind to powder for masala:
1 TBS coriander seeds/dhania
1 TBS white poppy seeds/khus khus or ground cashews
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch (or 1&1/2 tsp cayenne plus 1&1/2 tsp paprika powder)
2 tsp fennel seeds/saunf
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 tsp turmeric/hali
5 green cardamoms/elaichi
10 black peppercorns/kali mirch
5 cloves/laung
1 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini, broken into small pieces (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)

Here's what to do:
1) Grind coriander seeds, poppy seeds, Kashmiri mirch, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, green cardamoms, cloves, and cassia bark to fine powder. Set aside. (I use a coffee grinder dedicated solely to grinding spices.)

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2) Heat cooking oil or ghee with 2 teaspoonfuls salt in kadhai or deep heavy bottomed skillet for 5 minutes. Add diced onions and fry until beginning to brown. Add garlic paste and ginger paste and fry for about 2 minutes or until raw smell is gone from garlic.

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3) Add ground spices for masala to the fried onions, stir well, and fry for 2 minute. Add chicken pieces to fried onion mixture in pan. Cook chicken pieces for 2 minutes on each side. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 C water to the pan, stir well, and reduce heat.

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4) Add coconut milk and water to pan. Stir well. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low/medium and allow to simmer gently for 20 minutes.

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5) Stir in the tamarind paste and cook for 5 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through and tender. Salt to taste and serve immediately. 

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Helpful hints:
You can make the spice mixture ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Gorgeous Goan coastline.

Feb 15, 2017

Kohinoor Chicken Curry

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From the royal courts of the ancient Mughals comes this recipe for a rich chicken curry. First, the chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices which will render it moist and flavorsome. The marinated chicken pieces are then slowly simmered until tender in a creamy gravy lavishly laced with traditional spices. Truly a regal dish that requires far less effort than you might think to prepare!

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This is one of those creamy, rich, ultra-posh Mughal dish with all the "bells and whistles" so popular around Delhi. The long list of ingredients does look quite daunting, but I've broken it down and simplified the steps so it's really not that difficult! It is also a great recipe for any special occasion as most of the preparation can be done a day in advance. A word of warning though, this chicken curry is VERY spicy. This isn't one of those bland, timid Mughlai recipes relying mostly on butterfat and cream for it's flavor. There's definitely a lot of spice and heat going on here, but it is masterfully blended to perfection. So if you're looking for a chicken curry recipe with bold, vibrant, IN YOUR FACE flavor - this is it!

Ingredients:
1kg/2lbs chicken, skinless and cut into 8 pieces, bone in preferred
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
1 C onions, thinly sliced into half moons
3 tomatoes, diced finely or pureed
2 C water or stock/shorba
1 TBS dried mint (optional for garnish)
Grind to smooth paste for masala:
1 TBS coriander/dhania
2 tsp cumin/jeera
9 cloves/laung
12 black peppercorns/kali mirch
7 green cardamoms/elaichi
1 inch piece cassia bark/dalchini, broken into small pieces
1 TBS water
Grind until smooth for marinade:
1 C full fat yogurt
1/2 tsp flour/maida (this will keep the yogurt from splitting)
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
3-4 green chilis/hari mirch
1/4 C almonds/badaami, ground finely (or coconut cream)*
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne powder)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind almonds to fine powder in mixie, food processor, or blender. Grind powdered almonds and all ingredients listed for marinade to smooth paste in a mixie, foods or blender. Coat each piece of chicken in marinade. Place chicken and marinade in airtight, sealable container and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

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2) When ready to cook, heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai for 5 minutes. While oil is heating grind spices with water as listed for masala in mixie, food processor, or blender and set aside. Add thinly sliced onions to hot oil and fry for 5 to 7 minutes or until just beginning to brown. 

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3) Add diced or pureed tomatoes and ground spices for masala to the fried onions, stir well, and fry for 5 minutes or until oil separates from the mixture.


4) Add marinated chicken pieces to fried onion mixture in pan. Reserve marinade. Cook chicken pieces for 2 minutes on each side. Add reserved marinade and 2C water or stock/shorba. Stir well.

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5) Bring the dish to a simmer covered over medium heat. Stir well every 5 minutes turning the chicken pieces to be sure they cook evenly. The dish is ready when the chicken is cooked through, about half the liquid has evaporated, and the oil separates from the gravy. This usually takes 20 to 25 minutes.  Salt to taste, garnish with dried mint if desired and serve!

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Helpful hints:
For persons suffering peanut or nut allergies a good substitute for ground almonds is canned coconut cream. (Persons suffering peanut and tree nut sensitivity can usually safely eat coconut.)

Lithograph dated 1844 from the online gallery of the British Library depicting the Maharaja Ranjit Singh's jewels including the famed Kohinoor diamond (top center). Maharaja Ranjit Singh extorted the Kohinoor diamond from the Emir of Afghanistan in 1813. The lithograph also portrays one of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's favorite horses shown with the head officer of his stables.

Jan 9, 2017

Malai Methi Murgh

malai methi murgh recipe chicken curry indian fenugreek cream creamy easy

Malai means cream, methi means fenugreek, and murgh means chicken. In this dish chicken is simmered until meltingly tender in a rich, creamy gravy fragrant with fenugreek and traditional aromatic spices. A true North Indian delicacy that's mild in heat yet boldly spiced and flavorsome. A perfect recipe for a cozy and comforting Fall or Winter supper when paired with rice or rotis!

malai methi murgh recipe chicken curry indian fenugreek cream creamy easy

Fenugreek and I have not always been such good friends. It's not a familiar flavor to the Western palate and can easily overpower a dish if not used properly and judiciously. This dish uses the dried leaves of fenugreek which are usually available at any Indian grocers' by the name kasoori methi.

Kasoori Methi or dried fenugreek leaves usually come sealed in foil in a small box of a few ounces.

Dried fenugreek leaves or kasoori methi require a little special treatment to get them to release their rich and complex flavor without becoming bitter or overwhelming. As with herbs in general, fenugreek's flavor is much more concentrated in the dried form while the fresh leaves are much milder. A few pinches of the dried herb is all that's necessary to imbibe it's earthy flavor often said to be a bittersweet blend of celery, fennel, and maple.
The herb kasoori methi or dried fenugreek leaves.
Cream is the perfect agent to mellow the sharpness of kasoori methi and best bring out the rich, complex flavor. Never fry kasoori methi as it may scorch and turn unpalatably bitter. (One of my first unfriendly encounters with kasoori methi was the result of just such a scorching.) Only add the kasoori methi towards the end of the dish after the cream or other liquid has been added. Be sure to crush the kasoori methi between your fingers when adding it to a dish to help release it's flavor. Not more than a tablespoonful is usually all that's necessary, anymore than that in a recipe is cause for grave suspicion! If you follow all these suggestions you'll be rewarded with a gravy whose velvety texture is enhanced and warmly accented with kasoori methi's unique and robust flavor. If you wish to learn more about fenugreek when used as a spice, fresh herb, or dried herb you may do so on a post I did here. Despite any previous mishaps, I think you'll find when fenugreek is used gently and judiciously it's quite the taste sensation!

Ingredients:
1 kg/2lbs chicken pieces, skinless and bone in
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee (clarified butter)
1 C onions, thinly sliced into half moons
2 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
2 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, finely chopped (omit for less heat)
1 TBS ground coriander/dhania seeds

1 tsp turmeric/haldi
2 tsp garam masala
5 green cardamoms/elaichi, bruised with mortar and pestle
3 black cardamoms/badi elaichi, bruised with mortar and pestle
5 cloves/laung
1 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
10 black peppercorns/kali mirch, ground coarsely
2 cassia leaves/tej patta
1 C milk mixed with 1/4 C cream
1 C water or stock/shorba
1 to 2 TBS dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi

Here's what to do:
1) Heat oil or ghee with 1 teaspoon salt over medium high heat in a deep heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai for 4-5 minutes. Add thinly sliced onions and fry for 8-10 minutes until medium brown. Add green chilis, garlic, and ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes stirring well. Add coriander, turmeric, garam masala, green cardamoms, black cardamoms, cloves, cassia bark, black peppercorns, and cassia leaves. Stir well and cook mixture for at least 2 minutes or until raw smell leaves spices.


2) Add chicken pieces to the pan. Allow chicken pieces to cook for about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in milk mixed with cream. Return pan to heat and bring to simmer over medium heat.


3) Add 1 to 2 cups water or stock (or enough to cover chicken by at least a half an inch of liquid)  to chicken mixture in pan. Crumble dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi over chicken mixture and stir in well.

4) Allow to simmer over medium covered for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and oil separates from the gravy. Salt to taste and serve with rice and/or rotis.



Nov 30, 2016

Chicken Rogan Josh

Chicken Rogan Josh kashmiri recipe curry easy authentic indian

In Persian, Rogan means fat or ghee and Josh means intense or boiling. Rogan Josh made with mutton is a traditional dish of Kashmir and was introduced by the Persian speaking Mughals. This recipe uses chicken in place of mutton for a delicious red curry. Although lavishly spiced this dish is more aromatic in flavor than fiery hot. The chicken is seared until golden brown then braised until tender in the rich and velvety sauce. Perfect for a chilly Fall or Winter day served with rice and a few piquant chutneys.

Chicken Rogan Josh kashmiri recipe curry easy authentic indian

As is the traditional Kashmiri manner the chicken is first browned in salted ghee and oil then set aside. Browning the chicken in salted oil gives it a bit of a savory crust as well as leaving delicious drippings for making the sauce. The sauce is then made with layer upon layer of flavors. The Kashmiri mirch, fennel, dry ginger, cassia, cloves, black and green cardamoms are all authentic flavors of Kashmiri cuisine. Tempering the yogurt gives the sauce that velvety texture. Finally, the sauce and chicken are combined to slowly simmer to meld the flavors. The sauce is quite soupy as it is served with rice like most Kashmiri dishes. (If you'd prefer a thicker gravy then grind the onions to a smooth paste before frying.) Kashmiris probably wouldn't use the cassia leaves but I find their delicate fragrance enhances the flavors so I put them in. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1kg/2lbs chicken, skinless and cut into 8 pieces with bone in
2 TBS cooking oil
2 TBS ghee/clarified butter
3 onions, sliced thinly into half moons (or ground into paste for thick gravy)
2 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
2 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 cassia leaves/tej patta (optional)
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
2 C water or stock
1 TBS dried mint (optional for garnish)
Grind for masala:
3 black cardamoms/kali elaichi
5 green cardamoms/elaichi,
6 cloves/laung
10 black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
2 tsp coriander seeds/dhania
Mix until smooth for sauce:
1 cup full fat yogurt/dahi
1/2 tsp flour/maida (this will keep the yogurt from splitting)
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch (or 1&1/2 tsp paprika plus 1&1/2 tsp cayenne)
2 tsp ground fennel/saunf
1 tsp dry ginger/soonth
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do:
1) Heat cooking oil or ghee with 1 teaspoonful salt in kadhai or deep heavy bottomed skillet for 7 minutes. While oil is heating mix yogurt together with spices and flour as listed for sauce until smooth and set aside. Grind spices listed for masala and set aside.


2) Fry chicken pieces in hot oil and ghee for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Set fried chicken pieces aside on a plate.


3) In same pan fry sliced (or ground) onions until beginning to brown. Add garlic paste, ginger paste, cassia leaves, cassia bark and spices ground for masala. Fry for about 2 minutes or until raw smell is gone from garlic.

4)  Remove pan from heat and add yogurt mixed with flour and spices to fried onion mixture. Stir well and return pan to heat. Bring mixture to a simmer. (This tempers the yogurt to give it a smooth texture.) Allow mixture to simmer for 5 minutes. If mixture begins to scorch or stick reduce heat, add 1/4 cup water and stir well.

 

5) After 5 minutes return the fried chicken pieces to the pan with the onion, yogurt, and spice mixture. Stir well. Add 2 cups water or stock to the spice and chicken mixture and bring to a simmer. Cover pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked through and oil separates from the sauce. Salt to taste and garnish with dried mint if desired.


Helpful Hints:
I do find that sometimes chicken can get a bit dry when cooked this way. To prevent that I usually soak the skinless chicken in a brine solution of 3 tablespoons salt to one liter/four cups water for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight in the refrigerator. Before fryimg rinse the chicken pieces well  and dispose of the brine solution. This really makes for tender, juicy chicken!

Nov 22, 2016

Chettinad Style Egg Curry

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Chettinad is a region of southern India famed for it's vibrant and fiery cuisine. Hard-boiled eggs are tossed in a delectably spicy sauce in this signature dish from the area. Black pepper, cloves, cumin, red chili, and cardamom are first freshly ground for maximum flavor. The spices are then simmered to perfection recipe in a rich tomato gravy that compliments the richness of the eggs. Best served with steamed rice or hot chapattis.

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I've been making this recipe for so long I've forgotten where I got the recipe. I think it was from the Times of India. It has become a family favorite at our house. At the time I had never heard of an egg curry or egg gravy dish. This recipe is quite spicy and definitely for those who like a lot of heat. Not for the timid in taste at all! Get your best Tellicherry peppercorns out for this dish as they're the star of the show here! The pepper is beautifully balanced by the cumin, cloves, cardamom, and coriander. Kashmiri mirch adds an extra dimension to the black pepper's pungent heat but does not overpower it. The spicy sauce over hard boiled eggs is a brilliant take of the old classic combination of cracked black pepper and eggs. You don't have to fry the eggs if you don't wish to. Another way to serve this dish is to shallowly score the hard boiled eggs a few times end to end with a knife so they'll soak up a bit of the sauce. Either way, this makes quite a tasty lunch or dinner served with rice or chapattis. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
5-6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
3 TBS cooking oil
1 C onion, diced finely
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 tsp black mustard/rai seeds
3 large tomatoes (about 1&1/2C) chopped roughly or pureed
Grind until smooth for masala:
3 green cardamoms/elaichi
3 cloves/laung
2 tsp black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 tsp coriander seeds/dhania
2 tsp cumin seed/jeera
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne)
1 tsp shahi jeera/black cumin (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do:
1) Grind all spices listed for masala into powder and set aside. (I used an electric coffee grinder.)


2) Heat oil and 1 teaspoonful salt in a kadhai or deep heavy-bottomed skillet for 7 minutes. Fry peeled hard boiled eggs on oil about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. (If you wish to be authentic and have yellow fingers for weeks you can rub the eggs with a bit of turmeric.) Put fried eggs aside and continue to next step.


3) Add mustard seeds to the same salted oil and fry for a minute. Add finely diced onions and fry until golden brown. 


4) Add ground masala powder, garlic paste, and ginger paste to fried onions. Stir well and fry for two minutes. Add masala powder and tomatoes to mixture and allow to simmer for five minutes or until oil separates from the mixture.


5) Add 1 cup of water to the fried mixture and allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is to desired consistency. Salt to taste and stir in fried hard-boiled eggs. Serve with rice and or chapattis.

Helpful Hints:
You don't have to fry the eggs if you don't wish to. Another way this dish is typically served is with the hard boiled eggs shallowly scored a few times end to end with a knife so they soak up a bit of the sauce.

The shahi jeera/black cumin is traditional but it won't alter the flavor of the dish is you leave it out. Its delicate flavor gets a bit covered up by all the pepper and cumin anyway.
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