It’s that time of year again when Hubs & I celebrate our wedding anniversary. How the 3 years have flown. Traditionally we have an Indian takeaway in or around our anniversary as the romantic chap Hubs is proposed over a Chicken Tikka Biryani from the classily named Balti Towers way back in 2005.
I adore Indian food and used to cook it quite regularly but something happened and I lost my Indian food cooking mojo. I don’t know if it was the hours in work or that a great Indian takeaway had opened a small drive away. An email from the wonderful Mallika about her new cookbook – Miss Masala came to the rescue to get me back on to the Indian food bandwagon. I’ve been following Mallika’s blog from back in the day when I was a Domestic Goddess in Training. What I love about her cookbook and blog is that she is great at explaining the ingredients and techniques and also she tells you all the fantastic shortcuts that really work and that most people won’t tell you about.
As soon as I opened the cookbook I knew I had to make Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken). It’s one of my favourite Indian dishes that is rarely seen in many Indian restaurants around here. Who can say no to spiced chicken in a buttery, creamy, tomato sauce? I realised this was also a great dish to cook for our anniversary and time to chuck the takeaway menu.
Because the weather was so beautiful last night we started the chicken on the BBQ then finished it off in the sauce on the hob. The sauce was really easy to make and I have to say produced one of the best tasting curries I have ever made; Just like the Makhanis I have tasted in the past. The meal with accompanied with papads (poppadoms), raita and a chilli dip. I did have a slight rice fail though; I had a good intention to make a beautiful spice infused rice but hadn’t spotted we had run out of basmati rice. We never run out of basmati rice so had to sub with a long grain & wild rice mix. This didn’t distract from the delicious curry though.
Thanks to Mallika I think I have rediscovered my love for Indian food and Miss Masala will certainly be reappearing the in the kitchen soon, especially now that Hubs has built the Tandoor clay oven in the back garden I think we’re very much geared for an Indian Summer. One thing though, I should have taken Mallika’s advice as to getting rid of eau do curry as right now I smell strongly of fenugreek.
From Miss Masala by Mallika Basu
2 kg boneless chicken breasts
250 gm + 4 tbsp natural yogurt
142 ml soured cream
500 gm salted butter
1.3 kg passata (the best you can get)
8 green cardamoms
16 whole black peppers
4 inches cinnamon
2 inches ginger
16 cloves garlic
2 tsp kassori methi (dried fenugreek)
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1) Preheat the oven to a high heat (200 degrees centigrade). Start cutting the chicken into large bite-sized chunks and piling them up in a mixing bowl. Place the whole spices on a baking sheet and dry roast them for about 10 minutes until you can smell them strongly.
2) In a blender, whizz together the roasted spices with the ginger and garlic. Add a little bit of water to get a smooth paste. I would ask you to powder the spices et al but it’s too tiresome.
3) Don’t worry if the paste is a little grainy. Add it along with salt, lemon juice and the 250 gm of yogurt to the chicken and mix the whole lot together well. Leave this to rest for 2-3 hours. When you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 200°c, gas mark 6.
4) Spoon the pieces of chicken into two shallow baking sheets and bake for twenty minutes until they are white all the way through. You could also skewer the chicken pieces on to metal or moistened bamboo skewers and stick themm on a BBQ, cooking them for 10 min on each side. Soak the kasoori methi in two tablespoons of hot water.
5) In the meantime, bring the passata to heat in a large pot over a medium heat. Mix in the remaining yogurt, sour cream and butter. When you can see the melted butter on the surface of the curry, mix in the cooked chicken with all its juices. Simmer for 10 mins, or until the oil floats to the surface
6) Finally, stir in the kasoori methi and its hot water. Serve immediately with jeera pulao and Cobra beer for ultimate satisfaction.