We have been craving to go for some spicy food at our favourite Indian restaurant for more than a month, however the thought of dinning in a restaurant with our active and curious 1 year old is enough to dampen our desire. Even in a kid friendly environment, our little Miss Curious will start squirming in her seat within 30 minutes and want to walk around the restaurant, check out the people, the tables and what is on them. So in the end, we decided to cook an Indian meal ourselves. Pierre picked this Moghul-Style chicken out of all the curry dishes for it's use of saffron, and of course the fact that we have never tried it before!
Moghlai Cuisine originates from the kitchens of the the Mogul Empire. This cuisine, influenced by Middle-Eastern cuisine, is predominantly found in Nothern-India and many of the dishes carry over some of its dishes names: kofta, kebabs, pulao, etc. It's usually quite spicy like other Indian Cuisines, but has its own distinct aromas and taste - something I found out by cooking this dish.
This is my very first entry to this month 'Think Spice...Think Saffron' - a monthly spice event host by Sunita's World.
(taken from Indian - Shehzad Husain & Rafi Fernandez)
- 2 eggs
- 4 chicken breasts
- 6 tbsp ghee or butter
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 1 fresh ginger -5 cm or 2" long (finely crushed)
- 4 cloves garlic (finely crushed)
- 4 cloves
- 4 green cardamon pods
- 1 cinnamon stick - 5 cm or 2" long
- 2 bay leaves
- 15 - 20 strands saffron
- 150 ml or 2/3 cup natural plain yogurt
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 5 tbsp double or heavy cream
- 50 g or ½ cup ground almonds
- garam masala
- Coat the chicken with a little garam masala.
- Lightly beat the eggs with salt and pepper and then brush the chicken with it.
- Heat the ghee or butter in frying pan and fry the chicken. Remove and keep warm.
- With the same ghee or butter, fry the chopped onions, crushed ginger, garlic, cloves, cardamons, cinnamon and bay leaves until the onions turn golden. Remove the pan from heat and let it cool a little.
- Beat the yogurt with 1 tsp cornflour. Add the saffron and the beaten yogurt to the onions and spices. Mix it well to prevent the yogurt from curdling.
- Put the pan back to the heat, season it with salt, add in the chicken with its juices (if any) and gently cook until the chicken is tender.
- Just before serving, fold in the cream and ground almonds.
- Serve hot.
Saffron is crucial to the flavour of this dish and we can distinctively smell and taste it. It is creamy, nutty with the dominant parfum of saffron. The chicken pieces were very tender and tasty with the garam masala. Although there is no chilli in the recipe, we could feel a very light spiciness (that's the garam massala). I love the whole dish so much that I couldn't get enough of the chicken and its creamy sauce - definitely something I'll cook again!
(Taken from Indian - Shehzad Husain & Rafi Fernandez)
Serves : 6
- 450 g / 2 ¼ cups Basmati rice
- 750 ml / 3 cups Water
- 3 Green cardamom pods
- 2 Cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp crushed Saffron strands
- 2 tbsp Milk (semi-skimmed)
- Wash the rice at least twice and place it in a medium saucepan with the water.
- Toss all the whole spices into the saucepan along with the salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the saffron and semi-skimmed milk in a small pan and warm. Alternatively, put the ingredients in a cup and warm for 1 minute in the microwave.
- Check the rice to see if it is fully cooked. Use a slotted spoon to lift out a few grains and press the rice between your index finger and thumb. It should feel soft on the outside but still a little hard in the middle.
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully drain the rice through a sieve (strainer).
- Transfer the rice back into the pan and pour the saffron and milk over the top of the rice.
- Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place the pan back on a medium heat for 7-10 minutes.
- After cooking, remove the pan from the heat and leave the rice to stand for a further 5 minutes before serving.
It was good but it wasn't as fragrant as I thought it would be. Everyone seems to enjoy it though. I have an empty pot at the end of dinner.
Perhaps this is because I used the rice cooker instead and I put a little bit too much water -the rice wasn't fluffy and loose. Unfortunately yesterday night I was rushed for time to prepare dinner so I didn't try out their method.
And also the book asked for green cardamom pods but I didn't have any so I used white cardamom instead. I don't know whether this has any effect on the final results or not. Will have to try this recipe another time and let you know the differences.