Wednesday, November 27, 2013

chicken masala

One of my best friends, Bal, has 7 sisters. Of all her sisters, two of them, sisters #1 and #2 are really, really fantastic cooks. It is part of my evil plan to learn how to cook Indian dishes from them, and last week, one of these super-cooks sisters, Kulwant, came to visit me. While she was here, she taught me how to make chicken masala.

I admit that I have very little knowledge when it comes to cooking Indian food. I have tried making a couple of dishes on my own using recipes I had found online but nothing ever came out tasting like what they should. And the problem is, I have no idea where I had gone wrong.

Since it was an impromptu cooking lesson, I discovered that I did not have enough red onions, which are basically the soul of this dish. What I had, though, was a big bag of peeled shallots. So we sliced them up and used them instead.

I have decided that I would only use shallots when I cook Indian food from now on. :)

The spices needed are cinnamon, cardamom and cumin.

Into a casserole, I added some oil and the cinnamon.

Once the cinamon had turned a darker shade of brown, the cumin was added.

And about a minute or so later, the cardamom joined in.

These were stirred around for a few minutes. Soon I was able to smell the aroma of the spices.

Here's Kulwant slicing more shallots. :)
This was when the shallots were added.

Just keep stirring them over low heat until they have caramelised. This is very important - you don't want the taste of raw onions in your curry!

I added curry powder. I like this one. And some chilli powder.

Since I did not have tomatoes, we added about 1/3 of a can of chopped tomatoes.

And seasoned with salt and coarsely ground pepper.

The paste can be cooked till this stage (but omit the tomatoes) and kept frozen until needed.

I had some skinless, boneless chicken thighs so I added that to the paste. And stirred to mix.

Then we added some hot water (I wanted more gravy, so we added more water) and bay leaves, gave everything a stir, and cooked the chicken, covered, over low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken was cooked through and was tender.

Finally, we added some yogurt and stirred that into the curry. If you do not want to add yogurt, you can also add ground cashews to thicken the curry.

This is simple to cook, but so very very tasty!!

Have you taken part in my cake giveaway? If not do hope over here to take part!

Chicken Masala (Serves 4-6)
Recipe from my friend, Kulwant Kaur

4 chicken legs, boneless and skinless, cut into smaller pieces
3-4 large onions, sliced
1 stick cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
10 cardamom pods, discard shells
2 tomatoes, or 1/3 can chopped tomatoes
2 heaped tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, more if you prefer it to be more spicy
4 bay leaves
2 heaped tablespoons yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup hot water, more if you prefer more gravy

1. Heat vegetable oil in casserole. Add cinnamon. Once cinnamon had turned a darker shade of brown, add cumin and stir for a minute. Add cardamom and cook for a few minutes, until you can smell the spices.
2. Add onions. Cook over low heat until onions have caramelised, about 15-20 minutes.
3. Add curry powder, chilli powder, salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes. Stir to mix.
4. Add chicken, stir to coat. Add water and bay leaves. Stir to mix.
5. Cook, covered, over low heat for about 20-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and is tender.
6. Stir in yoghurt to thicken the curry.
7. Serve immediately, with rice or bread.

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