I came up with the idea of this dish after having tasted a sour cherry and meatball dish at our favorite Turkish restaurant in the city of San Carlos, CA. I’m not a huge fan of sweet things in my curries, but my husband is. So after some deliberation, I decided to throw in some sour cherries and some tamarind into this chicken bhuna dish and the result was actually amazing! The sour cherries gave the dish a nice sour kick and with the addition of the tamarind, this dish was tasty, mouthwatering, and left you hanging for more!
Ingredients: Serves 4
1 lb of chicken tenders or 2 large chicken breasts (diced into 1 inch pieces)
3 medium sized onions
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1.5 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and crushed/grated
1/2 cup dried pitted Tart Montmorency Cherries
1 tsp Tamarind Chutney (found in a jar at most Desi/Indian grocery stores) (Optional)
Spices: 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 level tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder
2 green chillies (optional)
2 tbsp Cooking oil
1. Heat up a non-stick pan up and add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Finely dice up 3 onions and fry on high heat.
2. Add 1 level tsp of salt (to help soften the onions) and then add the garlic and ginger prepared as above. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and cover. Onions should be softened and browned. Add enough hot water (preferably from a kettle) to soften the onions further, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
3. When all the water has evaporated from the onion paste, add all the spices and cook on high heat for 5 minutes to make sure the spices are cooked through and not still raw and powdery. Add 2 green chillies sliced in half sideways if desired.
4. Stir in the cherries, cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
5. Stir in the chicken pieces making sure they are coated evenly with the onion and spices. Cook on high for 5-8 minutes making sure the chicken browns all over.
6. Add 1 tsp of the tamarind chutney (if desired). Reduce the heat, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, adding a little more hot water if need be. If you prefer it with a little more sauce, add half to one cup of hot water and cook on a medium heat until the sauce thickens. (If at any point during the bhuna/massala process you feel the sauce is getting too dry, add 1/2 cup of water). Remove from heat when done.
Recommendations: Serve with a rice dish of your choice and a leafy side salad.
Recipe & image by Sabina Huq