After my vegetarian feast on Saturday, I felt my Sunday deserved to be treated to some chicken at the very least! I am not an overtly huge fan of chicken, but, it’s easily the quickest to whip up in times of crisis…translation – when we want to eat ‘non veg’ and have no time to cook something elaborate.
I don’t eat the ‘desi’ chicken we get here, just don’t like it much. And broiler meat here is tough to find, so I stock my freezer with frozen chicken packets. In Mumbai, we used to eat Godrej frozen chicken and I miss that here, but make do with Venky’s, which is good enough….no actually it’s quite good, and serves my purpose just brilliantly 🙂
I find a number of non vegetarian dishes having similar ingredients and the end result always makes me feel like I’m eating the same dish. So I like recipes that are a little different. I also don’t always like rich sauces, and if I make the main dish very rich, then I prefer a light side, like steamed or cumin/jeera rice.
This Mughlai Chicken recipe is by Nigella Lawson; I had seen the recipe on her show some years back, and found it on her website. I’ve followed it exactly as noted by her, and while I don’t know how authentically MUGHAL it is, it tastes pretty darn awesome.
MUGHLAI CHICKEN (Recipe by Nigella Lawson)
- Skinless, boneless chicken – 750 gms, cubed
- Onions – 3, sliced fine
- Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
- Garlic – 8 to 10 cloves
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – 2 tsp
- Red chili – 1 tsp
- Cardamom pods – 3, bruised
- Cinnamon stick – 1 small
- Bay leaves – 2
- Cloves – 3 to 4
- Almond meal/Ground almond powder – 4 tbsp
- Yogurt – 1/2 cup
- Cream – 1/2 cup
- Chicken stock – 1 cup or Water
- Golden raisins – 2 tbsp
- Garam masala – 1 tsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Slivered/flaked almonds for garnish
- Put the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and chilli into a food processor, and blend to a paste. Add the almond powder and water, then blend again, and set aside. You can use a mortal and pestle as it’s done traditionally, or a spice grinder, or a mixie.
- Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces – in batches so they fry rather than stew – and cook them just long enough to seal on both sides, then remove to a dish.
- Tip in the spices and turn them in the oil.
- Add the finely sliced the onions, and cook until softened and lightly browned, but keep the heat gentle and stir frequently, to avoid them catching.
- Pour in the blended paste, and cook everything until it begins to colour.
- Add the yogurt, (beat it to a smooth paste) half at a time, stirring it in to make a sauce; then stir in the stock, cream and raisins.
- Put the browned chicken back into the pan, along with any juices that have collected under them, and sprinkle over the garam masala, sugar and salt.
- Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes, testing to make sure the chicken meat is cooked through.
- Serve this with a smattering of flaked almonds (toast them lightly before), with steaming hot rice. (I had made some restaurant style Jeera rice…) 😀
Note: Nigella says that the, the flavours best develop after the dish is rested. So I cooked this the night before, cooled it and stuck it in an air-tight container in the fridge. Then in the morning, I let it come to room temp and heated it before serving. Magic! Also, the flavours here come from the almonds, so don’t add anything that overpowers the subtle nutty flavours, like rosewater or kewra 🙂