This recipe is adapted from a cookbook by Julie Sahni titled “Indian regional Classics”. Julie Sahni has been widely acclaimed author of many cookbooks and her articles have been published in New York Times and Gourmet also. And her New York cooking school is widely acclaimed as one of nation’s best.
If you like, you can catch up with her in these three part question and answer series in NY Times food blog -Diner's Journal - Click here for part-1, here for Part-2 and and last for Part-3.
Have I mentioned that our recipe for Beet Rice Pulao - Click here for the recipe ,also got mentioned in NY Times Food blog by one of the readers there-- Click here to go to the post .
Anyways, I have found this particular cookbook worth a mentioning in this post (I generally don’t like to cook from cookbook, but this one is sure a special one) I picked this from our local library this time, and liked many recipes listed there. There are no tantalizing, eye popping pictures of any recipes, but the directions are more accurate and easy to understand. This cookbook has a very distinct introductory page on the spices and herbs used in Indian cooking and also the Indian way of eating/dining.
I thought the recipes reflect the real regional cooking, but somehow I do feel the spice content or hotness is kept at low, perhaps to satisfy the taste palate of those people, who are still new to Indian Cooking.
I have almost doubled the spice content to satisfy our Indian palate. If you are not sure about the correct amount of hotness then I would suggest sticking to the book guidelines.
Now to the preparing directions
1 inch ginger
5-6 tsp of grounded coriander
2-3 tsp of grounded red pepper
1/2 tsp of grounded turmeric
3-4 green chilies slit in between
Salt as per taste
¼ cup of cooking oil and some more to fry the chicken
1 cup plain yogurt lightly beaten
Wash chicken/Cornish hen with warm water, pat dry with kitchen towel. Smear some salt and red pepper powder all over well. Keep refrigerated for 1 hr.
I do personally think it’s easy to handle chicken quarters for this recipe, however if you feel you may use Cornish hen or baby chicken (both are same)
Chop 2 onions, reserve half for making paste and half for the frying/browning purpose.
4 cloves garlic, 1 inch ginger, chop finely and crush them over a cutting board with a rolling pin. This is just like preparing fresh garlic/ginger paste over sheel nora or mortar and pestle.
2 tsp of garam masala or cardamom powder.
5-6 heaped tsp of coriander powder/grounded coriander
Soak about 15-16 almonds in some water for 4-5 hrs. Peel the skin and prepare to make a paste with the fried onions.
Heat up a saucepan, add about 3-4 tbs of cooking oil, fry the Cornish hen or the big chicken leg quarters till they loose their pink colour and are evenly but lightly browned.It will take some5-6 mints at medium flame.Never hurry the process at high , the outer portions will get browned soon or may end up burnt.
Take out with a big spoon/ladle and drain on tissue paper.
Now prepare the paste of blanched almonds and half chopped onions with some oil and water.
Add some more oil, add in chopped onion first.Fry it till turns light brown at medium high.Depending on the pan , it will take approx 10-12 mints.
Now add the fresh crushed ginger/garlic or the paste.Fry well for 2-3 mints.
Now add in all the seasonings-turmeric powder, red pepper powder,coriander powder and salt.
If you wish you may add in paprika and red pepper powder in equal proportions.This reduces the heat of the recipe. How ever I do added only red pepper powder and 3 green chills slit in between for extra heat.
Now add in the onion-almond paste with some half cup of water. Mix well with the spices.
Now it’s the turn of adding yogurt. Fold in about 2-3 tbs of heaped yogurt at a time, stirring continuously, until well incorporated. TIP-This way the yogurt won’t curdle in the gravy.
Add the fried chicken quarters. Tastes the seasoning, if required add some salt or red pepper powder as well. Add in about half a cup of warm water.
Now cover the lid and cook for 30-35 mints at medium low flame or till the chicken is soft and gravy /sauce is thick.
Transfer to serving bowl and serve with romali roti or simple steamed basmati rice.
This method is straight cut process.
Quick blanching of almonds
Soak about 15-16 almonds in some hot water. After about 20 mints, peel the skin and then transfer to the food processor jar.
Make a smooth paste in a heavy duty processor with the following ingredients
Blanched almonds, onions, ginger and garlic, grounded coriander powder, red pepper powder and some water + some oil.
Heat up a saucepan, add in 4-5 cloves, and add in this paste. Fry it well for 7-8 mints.
Add in fried chicken quarters, mix well. TIP-Adding yogurt in batches to the sauce reduces the chances of curdling the sauce; gently fold in yogurt about 2-3 tbs one at a time, stirring continuously so that it gets all incorporated to the sauce.
Add about 1 and half cup of lukewarm water.
Cover it and cook it at low for 40-45 mints. Make sure to check in between so that the gravy/sauce doesn’t get stick at the bottom of the pan.
Serve with some cooked basmati rice.
If you wish you can use ready made onion, ginger/garlic paste.
You may use bite size chicken pieces, quail, and rabbit also with the same recipe.
By the time this dish was cooked, our entire apartment smelled of some exquisite home full of rich aroma. We served over some garam bhaat/steamed Basmati rice.Next time we will be having this with romali roti or naan.
Thanks for visiting Spice and Curry, Happy Cooking Friends