Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mughlai Chicken and Rice Pilaf

We have been watching Nigella Feasts on Saturday afternoons and after seeing this recipe my son wanted to make it. So we made a list of all the things we didnt have in the house (there are a lot of ingredients), popped to the supermarket and then got stuck in. This is one of those recipes you need to 'prepare' yourself for mentally. There are a few steps but you just get on with it because you know that all those lovely ingredients can't help but taste good together. And they do taste very good together. It is not the most photogenic of dishes, all white and off white and beige together, but what it lacks in good looks it makes up in flavour. It is a very subtle curry, and while it was cooking I was concerned at how bland it tasted, but it developed over the cooking time to something we all enjoyed. Nigella suggests making this the day before and reheating for serving (as a time saving measure), and I have to say that I was glad there were plenty of leftovers, as it tasted fantastic the next day reheated!

Mughlai Chicken

1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
4 tablespoons ground almonds
1/2 cup water
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 pounds boned chicken thighs, each cut into 2
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted, to garnish
Put the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and chili into a food processor, or into a mortar and pestle, and blend to a paste. Add the ground almonds and water and then blend again, set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces - in batches so they fry rather than stew - and cook them just long enough to seal on both sides, then remove to a dish.

Add the spices and turn them in the oil. Add the onions and cook them until softened and lightly browned, but keep the heat gentle and stir frequently, to avoid sticking. Pour in the blended paste, and cook everything until it begins to colour. Add the yogurt, half a cup at a time stirring it in to make a sauce, then stir in the stock, cream, and sultanas.

Put the browned chicken back into the pan, along with any juices that have collected under them, and sprinkle over the garam masala, sugar, and salt. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes, testing to make sure the meat is cooked through.

It's at this stage, that I like to take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool before reheating the next day.

So either now, or when you've reheated it, pour into a serving dish and scatter with the toasted flaked almonds.

Rice Pilaf

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves
3 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 3
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds, optional
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Cook the onion in the oil, in a deep saucepan with the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, and nigella seeds, if using, until the onion is slightly browned and soft. Keep the heat medium to low and stir frequently; this should take about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and move it about in the oily spiced onion until it is slicked and glossy, then pour in the stock and bring the pan to the boil. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over the lowest heat possible for 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat, take the lid off, cover with a tea towel and clamp the lid back on the saucepan. You can leave the rice to rest like this for at least 10 minutes, and up to about 1 hour. Fork the rice through when you are ready to serve it, scattering the toasted sliced almonds and cilantro on top.

1 comment:

Kitchen Goddess said...

This is my favourite of the "Feast Curries", it always goes down a treat and is equally good made with king prawns and other seafood rather than chicken.