Baking | Smoked Indian Chicken Curry / Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh … giveaway to end 2013

“People close to me called me ‘Curry in a Hurry.’
I was moving through life at 100 miles an hour trying to further my career and be a great mom and make everyone happy.”
Ann Curry

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka MurghSmoked Indian Chicken Curry / Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh … a simple slow cooked baked Indian chicken curry that makes life on the table seem somewhat easier. I normally cook curries on the stove top. This time was different, and it worked out quite well. Smoking it added a delicious dimension!

Chicken KormacurryI haven’t posted a curry for ages even though I cook them often, including chicken and lamb korma. I’ve recently done a ‘butterless‘ butter chicken and the feedback was great. Mr PAB even commented saying it was better than buttery butter chicken!! At the time I took no pictures as it was still ‘work in progress‘…

Nirlep Anodized CookwareNirlep contacted me and asked if I would like to review any of their products. With a range as varied as Premium Steel Casseroles to a simple sandwich pan, I left it to them. All I asked for was something I could maybe pop into the oven, since I know they do a stove top range. Not that I don’t cook stove top {read I DO ALL THE TIME}, but the baking blog needed a connect!

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh They sent me a beautiful hard anodized handi, so I grabbed a chicken and set to work. The curry is simple as can be. It’s a simple overnight marination which tenderises the chicken. I cook it on the bone, but you can go boneless too if you like. This time I added green chutney to the marinade, some caramelised onions too. Experiment as you like because you never know what will hit the sweet spot!

Caramelised onionsAs all Indian cooking, this curry works on beautiful ‘andaaz‘, eye balling as it is better known. A bit of this, a dash of that, a few green chillies for flavour, maybe a couple of beautiful red ones too. Mix it all in and marinade straight in the pot, and then throw into a low oven the next day. An hour and a half later, you have CURRY, a nice thick wrapped one!!

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh OR … heat a little clarified butter in the handi / pan {OK you can use oil}, caramelise some finely sliced onions, pick out the chicken pieces from the marinade and cook over high heat to seal the juices and get the pieces beautifully browned. Add the rest of the marinade, give it a quick gentle stir, seal tightly … into the oven again! Of course you could also cook over a very gentle stove top.

Passionate About BakingI have a few idea for the handi. A Basque Lamb Stew, kaali dal, stir fried veggies, Thai green curry, kadhi … all in the pipeline. Maybe a little ambitious but pot bread too. It’s quite cold {read freezing} here these days, so as soon as the weather lets up, it’ll be time to bake bread. Have to keep the yeast monsters happy!

What I love about the Nirlep Ebony Handi / anodized pot…

  • Good quality, feel good pot with a snug lid
  • The handles don’t get hot
  • Heavy duty
  • Convenient ergonomic design which is ideal for sauteing, cooking, heat distribution
  • That it goes from the stove into the oven, and back with ease
  • That you can serve right out of it, fuss free!
  • Easy clean up

So tell me dear readers, what would you make if you had a pot / handi like this? Nirlep will be happy to giveaway a similar pot to a reader of my blog. Additionally, I will add a cookbook from one of my favourite Indian authors and chef Vikas Khanna. He’s a large-hearted, fun, talented guy who is passionate about what he does. I love ‘My Great India Cookbook‘ {one of his 3 cookbooks ranked #1 in India by Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2013}. I figured you might love it too, so I am including it in the giveaway. The giveaway is open to anyone who has an Indian postal address and loves to cook/bake of course!! {Entries close on the 15th Jan 2014}

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | The original butter chicken … make yours at home

” If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.”
Romain Rolland
Today is India’s 61st Independence Day… & I decided to post something Indian today. In fact, India’s most popular gastronomic export to the Western world, which is Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani.
Quoting from a snippet in a tabloid debating butter chicken vs chicken tikka masala…”Many years ago, a man named Robin Cook, not the novelist, but the late Labour Party leader & Britain’s Foreign Secretary, had stirred an international gastronomic debate by calling Chicken Tikka Masala his country’s national dish. People who contested his claim, should have saved their breath, for CTM indeed is a British creation. What they did was dunk chicken tikka that didn’t sell during the day, Campbell’s tomato soup, fresh cream & lots of red chillies into the frying pan, & they called the result CTM. It must have come as a blessing to a generation that must have grown tired of the blazing vindaloo.” But this was far from butter chicken…
This appeared in the newspaper in July 2008, in an article from the man who gave Delhi the most memorable Butter Chicken ever…& has been doing so for years – Monish Gujral of Moti Mahal. The article has interesting trivia about the original murgh makhani, or butter chicken, which originated in a dhaba (roadside eatery) near Peshawar in the 1920′s. Like everything pertaining to Indian cuisine, there are no records to prove any claim – & was imported into post-partition Delhi by a refugee named Kundan Lal Gujral, or so says his grandson, Monish Gujral. He remembers the founder of Moti Mahal telling him that the dish originated to end the problem of excess chicken tikka, which if left overnight, gets hard & fibrous. This kind man shared his best kept secret of one of India’s most famous exports to the Western world in his book, Moti Mahal’s Tandoori Trail….& in a moment of weakness, shared that you need to keep certain points in mind to get best results.
In brief, the chicken should be a broiler, weighing no more than 600-700 gms. This recipe is made ‘best with bones’, & you can’t make butter chicken with anything other than tandoori chicken. Also, the butter chicken tastes best when gravy tomatoes (bright red ones) are used, as compared to ready made tomato puree from the market. To balance the sourness of the tomatoes, use a bit of sugar, & to get the right consistency, add cashew paste. I can say it works, & works brilliantly. I’ve made this thrice (on the bone, boneless breast & boneless drumsticks) & it’s very, very nice indeed. The sauce is brilliantly flavoured & quite mild despite the garam masala, red & green chilies.
I had an old aunt, my mother’s elder sister, visiting on her way out to Canada. Feisty old lady, at 80+ speaks her mind & has brought up 2 sons & a daughter. One son is a Professor of Genetics at Pittsburgh University, & the other is a Geologist in Canada. Sadly, she lost her daughter, quite young, to Multiple Sclerosis last year.

I played host to her while she was transiting to catch her flight last month, as my Mom was out of town. My aunt babysat me often when I was very young, & the few food memories I have of when I was a child, all relate to her…right to the aromas of the dal she fed me, to the crisp onions on top. My mother is horrified that I remember nothing of the good stuff she slaved to make & present on the table….shudder…I just hope that doesn’t happen to me!!

Anyway, I asked my aunt if there was something special she would like to eat, or else I would figure out what would be nice. Pronto came the reply…a request for Butter Chicken! She said she always remembers a very nice butter chicken I made for her almost 5 years ago, & that’s just what she’d love to have. Obviously, our food memories were mutually complimentary…so I set to make this recipe. My recommendation…on the bone is the best!

…like from the horses mouth!
Chicken – 600-700 gms (on the bone)
For the first marinade:
Lime Juice of 1 lime
Red chili powder – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
For the second marinade:
Yogurt – ½ cup / thick
Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Ginger – 1 tbsps
Rock salt – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Kasoori methi – ½ tsp (these are a variety of dried fenugreek leaves often used in Indian cooking)
Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Make 2 deep incisions each in both breast pieces &s drumsticks. Mix all ingredients on the first marinade & rub well into chicken pieces. Keep aside for an hour.
  • For the second marinade, mix all ingredients well & rub into chicken pieces till they are well coated. Leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours. I usually leave this overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Place the chicken on the grill rack, with a tray underneath to collect the drippings. Grill for 8-10 minutes, brush with oil, turn the pieces, & grill for another 4-5 minutes until the chicken is tender. Keep aside.

For the makhani sauce
Ripe, red tomatoes – 800gms / chopped
Oil – 2 tbsp
Onion – 1 / chopped
Red Chili powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala _ 1 tsp
Cumin/Zeera powder – 1tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Cashew paste – 2 tbsp (I ran a handful in my dry grinder in short bursts)
Bay leaf – 1
Green chili – 1-2 / finely chopped
Butter – 50 gms
Single Cream – 50 ml (original has 100 gm double cream)
Kasoori methi – 1 tsp
Green chilies, fresh coriander, cream for garnishing. Method:

  • Heat the oil in a pan, add onion & sauté for a few seconds. Put in chopped tomatoes, bay leaf & salt & simmer, stirring occasionally, until the oil leaves the sides. Cool slightly & strain the sauce. (Do this the previous day to save time).
  • Pour the sauce back into a pan over low heat. Add all the spices, followed by the tandoori chicken. Stir well & simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the butter & stir in till it melts. Finally stir in the cream & take off heat.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, cream & green chilies, as desired.
  • Serve hot with crisp garlic naan, & a salad of onion rings tossed in lime juice & salt.

Enjoy a finger-licking good chicken gravy…the original butter chicken!

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