Butter Chicken

 

Here is a recipe that I’ve built after much experimentation. Every time I was cooking my kids would ask for Butter Chicken. This creamy, rich, mildly spicy, mildly sweet and yummy dish was often relegated to dining out and mostly inconsistent taste – every restaurant seemed to have its own recipe. Some recipes were legendary and SECRET. Some were ordinary – too creamy or too sweet. Some were downright awful – sweet, excessively creamy and usually very heavy on the stomach. Many recipe books gave you a recipe that would either take an eternity to cook or would be just terrible. Personally, I’ve found Butter Chicken overrated but nothing that my kids love so much can be overrated. It has to be recreated in my kitchen. And my kids must swear by my recipe! This is one such recipe. It is simple and it works like a dream. Here it is…

Ingredients

Marination
1 kg Chicken (with bone) or 750g Boneless – you choose
4 tbsp Ginger -Garlic paste
3 tbsp Red Chilli powder (vary depending on how spicy you want it)
3 tbsp Coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
2 tsp Garam Masala powder
1 tsp Sugar (can be reduced)
1 cup Hung Curd or Greek Yoghurt
1-3/4 cups Tomato Puree
1/2 cup Fried Onions
1/2 cup Mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
Salt, to taste

To cook
3-4 tbsp Butter / Ghee or Oil
2 Cinnamon sticks  (dalchini)
4 Green Cardamoms (Chhoti Elaichi)
1 leaf Mace (Javitri)
1/4 cup Fresh Cream

Procedure

  1. Mix all ingredients for marinade together. Mix well and ideally keep refrigerated for at least 30 mins to 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator at least 20 mins before you begin cooking.
  2. In a deep pan heat the butter/ghee/oil and fry the Cinnamon, Cardamom and Mace for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the marinated chicken. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for approximately 20-25 mins until the chicken is done.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add cream. Mix quickly so that it gets incorporated into the gravy and does not curdle.
  5. Bring the pan back to heat. Simmer for 5 minutes and let the chicken rest for another 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish with ginger juliennes and a little kasuri methi. Serve hot with roti, naan or plain rice.

And thats it!

 

 

 

 

 

Palak Chicken

palakchicken

My wife loves spinach. So do I. Both of us love this simple yet delicious curry. I had surfed the net and my collection of cookbooks for a suitable recipe but found most either pale/dark colored or too greasy or just too convoluted. This recipe is my own concoction out of the many websites and books I referred to before embarking on my own exploration. I might not be a trained chef but now I can call myself an experienced adaptor of published recipes.

Ingredients

1.5 kg Chicken (medium pieces)
2 large bunches Spinach (palak), roughly chopped
3 medium onions, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 sticks (1”) cinnamon (dalchini)
2 bay leaves (tej patta)
5 green cardamoms (chhoti elaichi)
2 tbsp oil or ghee
1 tsp red chilly powder (additional 1 tsp if you want it spicier)
2 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
½ tsp dried fenugreek (kasuri methi)
salt, to taste

For tempering (tadka)

2 dried red chillies, halved
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp oil

Procedure

  1. Put the spinach in boiling water for approximately 12-15 minutes (do not cover).
  2. Drain the spinach and reserve the water. Put the spinach in cold water and let it cool down completely.
  3. Puree the spinach or finely chop (I prefer to chop the spinach but my kids prefer the pureed spinach). Keep aside
  4. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Add the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and green cardamom and cook until the begin to crackle.
  5. Now add onions and fry until they turn transparent.
  6. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 5 minutes (until the raw smell disappears)
  7. Mix the red chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric and salt in 3-4 tbsp water to make a fine paste. Add this paste to the pressure cooker and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  8. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are mashed.
  9. Add the chicken pieces and garma masala powder. Cook on high heat until the chicken pieces change color, their juices are sealed and the masala envelopes the pieces. This may take 3-5 minutes.
  10. Add ¼ cup (or less) of the reserved spinach water. (If you have drained the spinach water, just use plain water). Bring to a boil.
  11. Cover the pressure cooker, reduce flame to simmer. Let the chicken simmer under pressure for 8-10 minutes. Turn off the flame and wait until the pressure is released from the cooker.
  12. Open the lid of the pressure cooker and cook the chicken curry for another 5 minutes or until the gravy is reduced considerably.
  13. Now add the chopped or pureed spinach to the curry. Let it cook for approximately 5-7 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.
  14. Sprinkle kasuri methi and let it cook for another minute.
  15. Heat some oil in a pan. Add the chopped garlic and fry until it turns golden brown. Add the red chillies and let them fry for 2 minutes.
  16. Pour the tempering over the Palak Chicken gravy. Mix and cook for another minute.
  17. Serve hot with roti, naan or rice.

This recipe is simple, nutritious, satisfying and vibrant. My daughters who are usually averse to spinach now demand that I make Palak Chicken every time I am asked to cook a chicken dish. Add more red chilly powder and coriander powder if you like your curry spicy. I prefer my curry to be subtle and particularly light if it is being cooked for a weekday dinner.

Its been a long time since I shared recipes on the blog. There are many new recipes that I promise to share soon!

Chicken Curry – Amritsar Style

This is an amazingly simple recipe that I have adapted from an original mutton recipe. It is easy to make and is truly delicious. It tickles the palate and gets the digestive system really stimulated (in a good way!)

Ingredients

1 kg Chicken
12-15 Green Cardamoms (Elaichi)
2 Bay Leaves
5 Medium Onions, chopped
5 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
3 Large Tomatoes, chopped
300 gms Yoghurt (Dahi), beaten
1.5 tsp Coriander Powder (Dhania Powder)
1.5 tsp Red Chilly Powder
1 tsp Dried Mango Powder (Amchoor)
1.5 tsp Garam Masala Powder
Bunch of fresh coriander (Hara Dhania)
4 tbsp Oil
Salt, to taste

Procedure

  1. Boil the chicken in approximately 1 litre of water with the cardamom and bay leaves.
  2. After 20 minutes reserve the stock, discard the cardamom and bay leaves. Keep the chicken pieces aside.
  3. Heat oil and add onions to this. Saute until golden brown.
  4. Add ginger-garlic paste and bhunao for 2 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and bhunao for 7 minutes.
  6. Add coriander and red chilly powders. Bhunao for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add yoghurt and bhunao for 7 minutes.
  8. Add dry mango powder (amchoor), garam masala powder, chicken pieces and reserved stock. Bring to a boil.
  9. Cover and simmer until gravy is fairly thick (approx 20-30 minutes).
  10. Sprinkle fresh coriander. Cover and let the curry rest for 10 minutes.
  11. Serve with jeera rice, plain steamed rice or hot parathas.

A word about ‘Bhunao’ : This method implies continuous stir frying of masalas on high heat, stirring briskly and without diverting your attention to other insignificant worldly matters! It is a vital part of most Indian recipes – a method that gives the spices a slight ‘toasted’ flavor. It is also very simple, needs only your undivided attention and a strong hand!

Given the price of onions I feel a sense of guilt suggesting this but fresh chunks of onion, whole green chillies sprinkled with generous amounts of chaat masala, kashmiri chilly powder, chopped mint and lemon juice are a brilliant side to this dish.

I would love to have this with a glass of good chardonnay. But the doctor has asked me to stay off wine for a while as he suspects a wine allergy. So it’s just buttermilk for now!

 

Yusuf’s Kate Masale Ka Gosht

 My father-in-laws secret recipe revealed!

This is a recipe that my father-in-law Yusuf Husain has perfected. It is his secret recipe – one which he rarely shares with others! Even if he does share it you can be sure that he will leave out some important detail.   I have ‘cracked’ the recipe after many unsuccessful attempts and after much cajoling. It was cooked last night and everybody loved it. Yusuf saab approved of the preparation and finally welcomed me to the family secret!

Ingredients

1 kg Mutton / Lamb, big pieces
10-12 Medium Onions, thick slices
12 Garlic cloves,  roughly chopped
3 tbsp Ginger, chopped
2 Bay Leaves (tej patta)
5 Black Cardamoms (badi elaichi)
2  Cinnamon Sticks (dalchini)
15 Whole Black Pepper Corns (kali mirch)
12 Whole Dried Red Chillies
Salt, to taste
75 gms Yoghurt, beaten
4-5 tbsp Ghee or Oil

Procedure

  1. Heat ghee/oil in a saucepan. Take approximately half the quantity of onions and sauté until golden brown.
  2. Add mutton, bay leaves, black cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, pepper corns, red chillies and 1.5 tsp salt.
    Sauté on high flame until the meat changes color.
  3. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining onions. Mix well and sauté for about 1 minute.
  5. Seal the vessel. Cook for approximately 45-50 minutes on low flame. In case you are using a pressure cooker, wait for 3 whistles and then let the meat rest while pressure is totally released from the cooker.
  6. Open the lid and you will see that onions are totally liquefied and the meat has been simmering in the liquefied onions.
  7. On medium heat sauté the meat until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  8. Reduce heat and add yoghurt. Mix well. Cover the vessel once again (not under pressure) and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the meat is totally done.
  9. Let the meat rest for at least 15-20 minute before serving.

This is perhaps one of the most delicate, delicious and wholesome meat recipes I have come across. The cooking of meat in the onion gravy is the key to a successful result.

You can also follow the same recipe for Kate Masale Ka Chicken. With chicken you have to be careful that you do not overcook and that onions, ginger and garlic are chopped into smaller pieces to allow the onion gravy to form faster.

The red chillies and browning of the onions lend this dish its distinct reddish color. Excessive browning will make the dish very dark and some people prefer it that way.  You can add approximately 1 tbsp roasted and roughly pounded coriander seeds after adding the yoghurt. This adds a little extra bite but many people do not enjoy the distinct coriander flavor. Try it or give it a miss, but this is one recipe that you must try!

Enjoy this with rotis, naan or steamed rice. I prefer devouring this recipe without any of these!

Chicken Breast in a Bag!

chicken in a bag

INGREDIENTS

2-3 Chicken Breasts
2-3 Baby Potatoes
2 Lemons
4 tbs Olive Oil
1 tbs Ginger Paste
1 tsp Fennel seeds, hand pounded (saunf)
2 cloves Garlic
2 tbs Dried Oregano
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Salt

PROCEDURE

  1. Pre-heat the oven to approx. 220°C.
  2. Make a bag placing 2 pieces of tin foil (large enough) on top of each other. Fold three sides and keep one side open.
  3. Flatten the chicken breasts with a mallet.
  4. Pierce the baby potatoes with a fork.
  5. Squeeze the lemon juice and reserve the lemon. Put these in a bowl.
  6. Add olive oil, crushed dried oregano, ginger paste, pounded fennel seeds, garlic, and black pepper to this.
  7. Put the chicken breasts and potatoes. Mix.
  8. Keep this mixture aside for around 45 minutes. (Longer the better!)
  9. Place this mixture in your foil bag. Seal the bag and place carefully on a roasting tray.
  10. Heat in the pre-heated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven. Break open the foil on the table.

Enjoy this simple recipe with pao, garlic bread or lemon rice. Experiment with different herbs like thyme, rosemary and vegetables like spinach, beans, mushrooms. You can also add fresh cream or white wine to the marinade to get delightful variations. Serve with a glass of good white wine.