Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I was also drawn to this recipe because I learned that it includes a spice that I have never used before: fenugreek seeds. I was really curious to know what this spice tastes like, and now I know: curry. Seriously. Most Indian curries I have tried (though I am no authority on the subject) have evident notes of fenugreek. If you have never had a curry and are waiting to lose your murgh makhani virginity, fenugreek is like maple syrup but with peppery hits.
It is an odd remark, but - of all places - I drew my inspiration from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's The River Cottage Meat Book. Found in his "Fast Cooking" chapter, his recipe comes from Indian sisters-in-law. My angelheart Eric scoffed at the notion of this being fast cooking; he noted, acerbically, that this obviously does not take into account the amount of time to take and return the spice vials. That being said, the actual cooking time is brief.
I made a few changes to the ingredients. I omitted green chillies but will include them in parentheses should you wish to use them. I did not have any mixed spice on hand (also known as pudding spice), but substituted 2 teaspoons of it for 1/2 teaspoon each of: cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and ginger. I used lemon juice instead of lime, finding it less acidic and more compatible with butter and chicken. Finally, I reduced the amount of butter from 125g/4.5oz to 100g/3.5oz. This serves four comfortably.
(Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's The River Cottage Meat Book)
750g/1.6lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the Tikka marinade:
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons chilli powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons mixed spice (or substitute as above)
2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons groundnut (or sunflower) oil
(2-4 green chillies, finely chopped)
For the tomato sauce:
2 x 400g/14oz tins of chopped tomatoes plus their juice
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
(1-3 small green chillies, finely grated)
1 teaspoon salt
175ml/6 fl. oz water
For the makhani sauce:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Tomato sauce (as above)
2 teaspoons tomato puree
4 teaspoons honey
150ml/5 fl. oz double/heavy cream
1 tablespoon ground fenugreek
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
To prepare the chicken:
1) Mix the Tikka ingredients together in a large bowl.
2) Add the chicken to the bowl, rub Tikka in well.
3) Leave to marinate overnight or for about 6 hours.
4) Bring out of the fridge 30 minutes before roasting.
5) Preheat oven to 230 C/445 F.
6) Put chicken on a roasting dish with the marinade and cover with buttered foil.
7) Roast for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to 200 C/390 F and roast for 20 minutes.
8) Once roasted, take out from oven and leave to rest.
To make the tomato sauce:
1) Put all the ingredients in a large pan and bring to the boil.
2) Once boiled, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
3) Stir regularly. The sauce should thicken.
4) Push sauce into a bowl through a sieve, remember to include the sauce hanging on to the underside of the sieve. Discard remnants in the sieve.
To complete the makhani sauce:
1) Melt butter in a large pan.
2) Add cumin and let sizzle for 2 minutes.
3) Add the now-sieved tomato sauce.
4) Bring to a simmer, then leave for 5 minutes.
5) Add the rest of the ingredients.
6) Simmer gently, then stir occasionally until the sauce has thickened and is creamy, approximately 5 minutes.
7) Add chicken, which you can cut however you please; I cut mine into cubes.
8) Mix well and heat through, about 5 minutes.
While roasting the chicken, I made the tomato sauce. When the chicken was resting, I made the makhani sauce. Easily on the table within 45 minutes. I served the murgh makhani with a mound of plain boiled jasmine rice, but add whatever carbohydrate(s) you wish in order to soak up the brick-coloured sauce. Perfectly spicy to awaken one's tastebuds, and lusciously buttery to provide comfort and luxury.
I've got fenugreek seeds, and knew about their curryness - very keen to try your recipe soon!
I love the mellowness of your curry and the colour is beautiful. I can imagine how flavourful the ginger and yogurt are in this dish.
P.S. - I'm glad you've found my new location because I no longer am involved w/ Zinfully Delicious.
I was recently looking at a recipe for this in The Bollywood Cookbook (really!! everything you'd expect it to be) but yours looks a bit more saucy, and I like curries with plenty of delicious sauce.
Veron - It has been a while since I last had something Indian, too, but there is something incredibly life-giving in the application of all those spices. What else did you learn to make at the Williams-Sonoma lesson (Eric has been trying to get me to sign up for one of those courses for the longest time now).
Cynthia - What would you say marks the distinction between North and South Indian cuisine? I'm sure yours is a mixture as Indians from all over the subcontinent have moved to the Caribbean and Eastern Africa since the 19th century (maybe earlier, but this is the earliest period I am aware of). What is the best Caribbean curry you can think of?
Amanda - The curry went down really well and was easy to take care of. I, too, love "The River Cottage Meat Book" but this was the first time I have actually used a recipe from it. I have joyfully read it cover to cover a few times over the last two or so years I have had it.
Susan, lovie - Pudding Spice is a British spice mix that usually has allspice, ginger, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. It is used in traditional goodies, like gingerbread and Christmas pudding. I had each of these on hand anyway, so I just used them. Chinese Five Spice is the only spice or herb mix that I have on hand. I tend to just combine the mixes myself. As to whether it is really needed, I would have to say that its components (or the mix itself) are required because the final result tasted of Murgh Makhani, the variants of which I have had many. So, it must all work in there somehow.
Freya, love - I, too, love to use bucketloads of herbs and spices. I did not know what fenugreek tasted of by itself, so this seemed like a great recipe to try as so much is required. This could have been creamier, but I thought 150ml of cream was sufficient.
Bruno - Please do give it a try and let me know, especially if you love curries. This is even mild enough for a Summer evening outdoors, served with riesling. Yes, I had noticed you weren't posting on the Zinfully Delicious blog anymore.
Kelly-Jane - Oh, ye, weaker than me when it comes to an inability to resist cookery books! Please do tell me more about the Bollywood cookbook, for I have not heard about it. This was creamy but not a swamp of fat; 150ml is perfectly adequate for the richness.
Christina - I don't know what it would be look to eat right now, given the heat on the West Coast, but it is worth trying - effortless and flavorful.