Our weekend meals are usually elaborate, experimental dishes. However, yesterday I chose to prepare chicken so that we could enjoy some leftovers today as I had to take the kids for a musical concert in the morning and knew I'd barely have any time to finish the cooking and clean up the kitchen before leaving. I flipped through a few books and checked my list of bookmarked recipes on the kitchen pin up board. I had finished making almost everything I had bookmarked since ages save for a kebab recipe. I then grabbed my favourite book by B.F Varghese and narrowed down on this recipe which she named the Rajput Chicken Curry. I cross checked on google for a similar recipe but couldn't find any by the same name. On the contrary I found many recipes with more or less the same ingredients named as Badami chicken or chicken in almond sauce although those recipes were more elaborate and extragavant.
I really didn't have the time to gather all those ingredients and kill myself in the kitchen especially on a school day. My son was expected home in a couple of hours and I had little time to finalise and set off to cook. Since he totally loves North Indian style chicken curries I decided to try my hand at this simple version of Badami chicken. The prepping didn't take a lot of time and its one of those dishes that don't demand your complete attention. I set about attending to other chores when the chicken was cooking. So it's totally my kind of curry.
However, when the time came for me to do the photo shoot I was in for a big disappointment. My camera is on the verge of dying and I am not sure how much more time before it gives up completely. I barely managed to grab a few shots before it died down. While I decide what to do with it I think I will keep the blog alive with some recipes which have not yet been published because I wasn't completely happy with the pictures and was intending to do a re shoot. However, I don't think I'll have that privilege for a long time and so I'll just go with the flow and post stuff that deserves to be on the blog but hasn't yet been given that chance.
Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves 4-5
- 1 kg chicken, cleaned and cut into medium sized pieces (use boneless chicken if you wish)
- 2 cups finely chopped onions (approx 2 medium-big ones)
- 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (approx 1 large)
- 1/2 cup thick curds/yogurt, whisked
- 4 cardamoms, slightly bruised
- 2 inch stick of cinnamon or cassia bark
- 4 cloves
- oil for shallow frying
- salt to taste
- 20 almonds or cashew nuts
- 1-1/2 inches ginger
- 2 fat cloves of garlic
- 3 teaspoons plain red chilli powder (adjust to taste) * see notes
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1. Marinate the cleaned and cut chicken lightly with salt and keep aside.
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'To be ground' to a fine paste. Tip: Use the smallest jar/dry grinding jar of your mixie to powder the almonds first and then add the rest of the ingredients and a little water to make a smooth paste. Reserve the masala water from the mixie (about 1/2 cup)
3. In a heavy, wide based pan or kadhai heat the oil (on a medium heat) and toss in the whole spices - cardamoms, cinnamon/cassia bark and cloves.
4. Add the onions and fry on a medium low heat for a good 5-7 minutes or till they turn translucent/pale and slightly golden. Don't be in a hurry - this step is important to make a good, thick gravy.
5. When the onions have fried add the ground masala paste and the chicken pieces and saute on a medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Do not add any water. The chicken will release its own juices and help cook it. You can cover the pan and check every now & then to ensure that the masala doesn't get burnt.
6. Add the tomatoes, mix well and allow to cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and the water has almost dried up.
7. Now add the salt - if you have previously marinated the chicken with salt, skip this step or adjust to taste. Add the whisked yogurt and mix to incorporate. Cover the pan and cook the chicken till it is done and the sauce/gravy has thickened up.
8. Remove from heat, garnish with chopped coriander (optional) and serve with rice or rotis/chapathis/naan/phulka/dosa
Use Kashmiri chilli powder for its great colour but lower spice quotient