I was first pointed to the book from Anjum Anand by Soma from the fabulous blog ECurry. If you haven’t checked out her blog you should. It has loads of Indian recipes and beautiful photos too. Anyway Soma gave a review of the new book by Anjum and I just had to get that book for myself and so I did. It finally arrived this week and I couldn’t resist making one of the recipes straight away. There are loads of delicious recipes in the book so it was hard to pick but I didn’t want to make life too difficult for myself so I started with something that felt fairly simple to me. A punjabi chicken curry. I love curries and I love Indian. Usually the food we get served here in the Netherlands is toned down a bit on the spices as our weak stomachs are not used to the hot flavors in a true Indian dish but as Tom and I really do like spicy food, I think over the years we have become a bit more used to it.
Making the dish was fairly straightforward and easy. I used chickenlegs (the larger ones) instead of chickenfilet as I think that really does enhance the flavor a lot. Ever since I used those for making chicken satay last week I am convinced it is worth the extra effort of cleaning the bones! So much more taste and the meat stays lovely and succulent as opposed to dry. I can highly recommend doing that.
So what did we think of the dish? The taste was good. Spicy but not too spicy and it all went in really well, but…. I know what I did wrong and it’s just stupied that I didn’t think about it before. I used old spices… Indian spices such as ground coriander, ginger, cumin and garam masala are not spices we use a lot, so the stock I had was apparently not good anymore. I didn’t think about checking it before I started cooking and while eating both Tom and I felt it was lacking a bit of… well a bit of punge. And that’s when I started thinking it could have been the spices I used. So I checked them afterwards and tasted them and indeed, that was the issue… No flavor left in those spices!! I threw them out straight away!
I will have to make this dish again (or maybe one of the other curries in the book) with the proper spices as I am convinced that will mean a world of difference in terms of flavor. Good dish that can be much better. We still did enjoy it quite a lot!
Punjabi chicken curry
Delicious and fragrant. If you love Indian food this is a winner. But be sure to check that your spices are still good before starting out!
- 1 1/4 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 10 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 4 small brown cardamom pods
- 4 cloves
- 2 in piece of cinnamon stick
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 green chilis, whole but pricked with the tip of a knife
- 1 3/4 lb chicken pieces, skinned and deboned
- 5 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp pure red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
- salt, to taste
- 3 medium tomatoes, cut into small wedges
- large handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- Using a blender, make a fine paste of the ginger and garlic with a little water, set aside.
- Place the brown cardamom pods in a mortar, give them a bash with the pestle, then remove the husks to leave only the seeds.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Add the bayleaf, onion and spices and cook until brown, around 8-10 minutes.
- Add the green chilies and ginger and garlic paste and cook until just golden, around 2-4 minutes.
- Add the chicken and brown gently over medium heat. Stir in the spices and salt and give the pan a good stir. Add the tomatoes and enough water to come 1 inch up the pan. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
- Uncover the pan, increase the heat to high and boil to brown the masala. This will add a lot of depth to the flavor. Toss and turn the chicken in the reducing paste. Once the water has reduced, lower the heat and continue for another few minutes - the masala should release some droplets of oil. Then add enough hot water to the pan to come more than halfway up the chicken pieces, bring to the boil, stir in the fresh cilantro and serve.
Great with naanbread or chapati's.
Recipe by Anjum Anand