Sunday, January 23, 2011

Test: Kashmiri Chicken

I've been lacking inspiration in the kitchen lately, but reading through my favourite food blogs today, I came across a few awesome recipes to try out in the next few weeks. (Check out the Sites We Like for some of your own inspiration!) This Kashmiri Chicken from Anjum's New Indian cookbook (as seen on Serious Eats) provided just the challenge that I needed to re-inspire me to get back to the kitchen. I don't normally cook Indian food, but this recipe intrigued me. The last Indian recipe I made (for Butter Chicken), though delicious, also had a lot of cream and extra-calories, so the prospect of cooking something with all of the same flavours, but much less fat sounded great. 

Since this recipe uses some less-common spices, I recommend going to a bulk store to buy just enough for the recipe. I was able to buy four of the spices that I needed for less than what one container of spices would cost, which makes it a lot more affordable to experiment. 

From Top Clockwise: Green Cardamom Pods, Black Cardamom Pods, Bay Leaves, and Cloves

Kashmiri Chicken
From Anjum's New Indian by Anjum Anand

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
6 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
1 small–medium onion, peeled and sliced
1/4 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
Salt, to taste
3/4 teaspoons pure red chile powder (or paprika or Kashmiri chile powder, for color)
1 rounded teaspoon ground cumin
1 rounded teaspoon ground coriander
3 medium–large tomatoes, puréed
1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces or 4 leg quarters, skinned 

Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan and add the whole spices; let them splutter for 15 seconds. Add the onion and cook until golden. Meanwhile, using a blender, make a fine paste of the ginger and garlic with a little water. Add to the pan and cook until the excess liquid has evaporated and the paste has fried for 30 seconds. Add the salt, powdered spices and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until oil is released from the masala sauce, around 10–15 minutes. 

Add 3/4 cup water and bring to the boil, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the chicken pieces and cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, around 25 minutes. Take off the lid and add a splash of water from a recently boiled kettle if the gravy has reduced too much or, if necessary, cook off excess liquid over high heat. Serve with rice (optional).

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