This is a traditional gourmet chicken dish often made when welcoming newlyweds into the family or on special occasions like Eid. It is generally quite heavy due to the frying but I’m going to give you a healthier version which tastes just as good!
For instant taste, see if you can buy a ready made korma mix called “Moghlai Korma Massala.” Use instead of the spices mentioned below and just add salt to taste. It tastes awesome!
Click image to enlarge
Ingredients: Serves 8
Leg quarters or whole breast pieces work best and look better when serving. My measurements are aimed at 1 piece per person.
2 6 oz pots of low fat yogurt (or 1 can low fat coconut milk, or if lactose intolerant, any dairy substitute)
3 large onions
6 cloves of garlic, 1 inch piece of ginger (or 2 heaped tsp ready made garlic & ginger paste).
Spices: Coriander seeds & coriander powder, bayleaf, black peppercorns, cumin powder, garam massala powder, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, salt.
1. Prepare the chicken by washing and cleaning it thoroughly. Remove all skin. Drain off any excess water and pat dry.
2. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and grill until 1/3 cooked and browned well all over. (Traditionlly, the pieces would be fried in a fair amount of oil but I choose not to for health reasons and because it’s time consuming. (If you wish to fry it to make it more authentic, make sure the chicken pieces are fried well and browned all over).
3. While the chicken is grilling, prepare the massala. Dice 2 large onions finely and fry in 3 tablespoons of oil until the onions turn brown. Add 2 cardamoms, 2 bayleafs and 2 thin sticks of cinammon. Continue to fry until the onions turn brown (don’t make them crispy though). If using the Korma Massala mentioned above, add the whole packet and 1 and half tsp of salt.
4. Cut up another onion and place in blender. Add in the garlic and ginger as well as about 8 coriander seeds, 5 black peppercorns, and 3 cloves. Blend for 2 minutes. (If using ready made garlic and ginger paste, no need to place any onion in the blender. Instead, fry all the onion until browned well and then add the garlic and ginger). Fry for 2 mins.
5. Lower the heat then add 2 heaped teaspoons of coriander powder, 2 level teaspoons of salt, 1/2 tsp garam massala, and 1 teaspoon of cumin powder. Stir well. Add 1-2 cups of water and allow the spices to blend in well, stirring all the while on low heat. (Add water as necessary to make a smooth paste like massala. Don’t add too much since the yogurt that we’ll be adding will make enough massala anyway).
6. Add the grilled chicken and cook for 5 minutes on medium to high heat allowing the spices to blend into the chicken.
7. Lower the heat then add 2 small pots of plain non-fat yogurt or 1/2 large pot. Before adding the yogurt, stir it well for a smoother massala. Mix the yogurt in to the massala really well ensuring it doesnt curdle. Note: you can use lite coconut milk for a smoother, creamier sauce if you wish.
8. Lower the heat, cover with lid and allow to simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is soft and soaked in the massala. Then remove from heat.
This next part is optional but does enhance the flavour.
9. To make “beresta” (or crispy fried onions): slice 1/2 onion into really thin strips and fry until brown in one tablespoon of oil. You’ll want to brown them really well until almost crispy. Add just a sprinkle of salt. Once done, add to the pan by sprinkling all over the chicken and massala. Put the lid back on. You’re done! When serving, remove the bayleafs and cardamoms.
Recipe & image by Sabina Huq