A Special Indian Feast: Mughlai Chicken with Almonds and Raisins

Don't let the long ingredient list or the instructions scare you away.  If you're looking for something delicious and a little different, this is worth a try!  It's not hard ... just a little involved.  Invite a friend over to cook it with you!  Or work on it during nap time (the kid's nap time, that is - not yours).
Bay leaves and whole cardamom pods
Serves 6

1-inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
8-9 cloves garlic, peeled
6 Tbsp. blanched, slivered almonds
4 Tbsp. water
7 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 lbs. chicken pieces, skinned
10 cardamom pods
1-inch cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
5 whole cloves
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
7 Tbsp. plain yogurt
10 oz. light cream
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 Tbsp. golden raisins
1/4 tsp. garam masala

Put the ginger, garlic, 4 tablespoons of the almonds, and the water into a blender and blend until you have a paste.

Put the oil in a wide pot or deep frying pan and set over medium-high heat.  When hot, put in as many chicken pieces as the pan will hold in a single layer.  Let the chicken pieces turn golden brown on the bottom.  Now turn all the pieces over and brown the second side.  Remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl.  Brown all the chicken this way.

Put the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cloves into the same hot oil.  Stir and fry them for a few seconds.  Now put in the onions.  Stir and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes or until they are lightly browned.  Put in the ginger/garlic/almond paste from the blender and the cumin and cayenne.  Stir and fry for 2-3 minutes or until the oil seems to separate from the spice mixture, and the spices are lightly browned.  Add 1 tablespoon of the yogurt.  Stir and fry it for about 30 seconds.  Now add another tablespoon of yogurt.  Keep doing this until all the yogurt has been incorporated.

Put in the chicken pieces, any liquid that might have accumulated in the chicken bowl, the cream, and salt.  Bring to a simmer.  Cover, turn heat to low, and cook gently for 20 minutes.  Add the raisins and turn the chicken pieces.  Cover and cook another 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender.  Add the garam masala.  Stir to mix.

Put the remaining almonds on a baking pan under the broiler and lightly toast them, tossing frequently.  Sprinkle these almonds over the chicken when you serve.  Note: the whole spices in this dish should not be eaten.

Do you remember this "Year of Food" thing I blogged about in January?  Basically, we're trying new ethnic cuisines in 2013 - tackling recipes and ingredients that are not in our normal repertoire so that we can learn about and enjoy other cultures through food.  The first three months of this year we ate Indian food about once a week.  This delicious dish was our last in the Indian series.  We'd been talking with a friend who is quite a fantastic cook how great it'd be to try some dishes together.  He brought some ingredients and we spent a couple of hours cooking together.  The final product what such a feast that we all ended up with full bellies and enough leftovers for another meal or two.

This is a Madhur Jaffrey recipe (she has a few cookbooks out there - can't remember exactly which one this comes from).  I don't have the recipes for the other dishes we ate, but there was a simple dal, a spiced potato and cauliflower dish, yogurt with walnuts and cilantro (and some surprisingly bold serrano peppers), and naan bread.  For a dessert, I made Malai Kulfi, which is an Indian ice cream dish, with cardamom and cinnamon.  It was a very rewarding way to end our first culinary experiment!

Alright, farewell Indian food!

Next up: France.  I am more familiar with French food than I was with Indian food, but there are still some techniques that I will have to work on ... like how to end up with an omelette that looks like an omelette, and not like scrambled eggs with stuff in it.  Here's to trying something new!

No comments:

Post a Comment