Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My take on Chicken 'teeka' masala

Well you would think why I would choose this particular dish! I mean its so popularly available everywhere and yet you find very little variation. Even america's test kitchen has a version of it.

But truth be told, I wanted to better something the world makes so proudly and yet add my own twist to a timeless classic.

What I want ? Is the following:

A chunky yet creamy sauce
A vibrant reddish orange
A sauce with a kick
The chicken itself not showing signs of prolonged exposure to colour ( yes that yucky orange when you break into the piece )

The perfect pairing, garlic naan and basmati rice.

To achieve this I use unusual ingredients. Ancho chile paste to build the base for the reddish orange. Annato seed powder and dried saffron flowers to give a bright red colour and fragrance to the dish. You can find all three ingredients in a mexican aisle of your grocery store.

4 lb of chicken ( white and dark with bone )

For the rub:
2 ancho chile
3 tbslpn yogurt
2 tblspn ginger garlic paste
2 tsp red chile powder
2 tsp ground corriander
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt and pepper
2 tblspns oil
1 tblspn chili oil

For the sauce:
2 medium onions - finely chopped
3 green chillies finely chopped
2 tsp cumin ( jeera )
1 stick cinnamon
5 cloves
5 cardammom (crushed)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 bay leaves
2 tsp saffron flowers
1 tsp annato seed powder
1 28oz can whole peeled san marzano tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup cream
1.5 tblspns kasoori methi - dried fenugreek leaves

Start by preparing the chicken. In a small bowl, place the ancho chille and cover with water. Then microwave for 3 mins. Discard water and puree with yogurt. Add this with the rest of the ingredients into the chicken and mix well. Let this sit for 30 minutes. Pre heat the oven to 375F. Pour the chicken mixture on to a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins. Then turn the oven to broil and let a brown crust form over the chicken (about 3-4 minutes). Remove the chicken from the oven and set aside.

For the sauce: In a big ( I used a 5.5 qt pot ) start by heating the oil. Add the green chillies, jeera, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and let fry for about 3-4 mins. Add the cardammom , onion , saffron flowers, nutmeg and fry until the onions turn light brown. Add the salt, annato seed powder & kasoori methi. In a seperate vessel crush the canned tomatoes, then add to the pot. Let the mixture stew for about 15 mins until the tomatoes have broken down. Remove mixture into a seperate vessel and puree with a hand blender until smooth ( a few chunks of tomato are ok ). Pour sauce back into original pot.

Add the chicken ( and gravy ) into the tomato sauce. And leave to simmer ( low heat ) for 10 mins. 2-3 mins before serving add cream and let simmer.

Serve with garlic naan & basmati rice :)

Sorry I do not have a picture for this one, it was all gone by the time I realised I should take one !

- posted from my IPAD !

Location:Bandooks kitchen, Germantown

Comfort food and lamb stew

How do you define comfort food? Its a coversation I've had with multiple people without finding any conclusive answer.

For me the definition of comfort food is something that would bring a smile to your face even before tasting it, something you would crave for when you are depressed or maybe after a long day at work.

One of the foods that has consistantly satisfied the criteria above is lamb stew with khichdi. At home we prefer to call this haleem and that is different from the pakistani version of it.

Its primararily a lamb and vegetable stew dunked into a lentil rice. For the meat i prefer to use lamb neck bones. This cut is cheap ( 2-3$/lb ), easily avilable ( safeway has it in their meat section ) and a pound and a half of meat is enough to satisfy 3 people. I pressure cook this to make it an everyday food but this could very well be done in a dutch oven.


1.5 lb lamb neck
1.5 tb spn ginger & garlic paste
2-3 bay leaves
6 pearl onions peeled
6 small potatoes ( fingerling or similiar ) peeled
8 florets of cauliflower ( this would be half a head of a cauliflower - ea floret being no more than an inch )
40 fluid oz of water.
10 mint leaves
4 thai hot peppers ( can be substituted with other chiles or amount varied to suite your taste ) - roughly chopped or broken
1 tsp of salt
1.5 tsp ground corriander (seeds)

For roux
1.5 tblspn white unbleached flour
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp garam masala
1tsp black pepper
2tblspns vegetable oil

For lentil rice: Khichri
2cups Sona masuri( find this in an indian grocery or use thai jasmine if not available )
1/2cup yellow Moong daal
1/2cup red lentils ( pink masoor daal )
1/4 tsp tumeric ( haldi )
1 tsp ghee

Wash & soak rice and lentil mixture in water ( until fully covered ) for half hour. Then transfer to a heavy bottom pan or saucier. Remove existing water and add in 3 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil (high heat) and then turn down the heat to a simmer (low heat) for 16-18 mins or until the rice is aldente. Add ghee and fork the rice.

For the soup:
Wash the lamb. Then allow to marinade in salt and ginger garlic paste. In a pressure cooker, add the lamb and the rest of the ingredients ( first set ). Close the cooker, turn up the heat to med-HI and allow the soup to cook for 40 minutes.

To prepare thr roux:
In a heavy bottemed pan ( large ) heat the oil and add in the cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter, add the rest of the ingredients. Allow the flour to brown for about 1-2 mins until the flour changes from a light off white colour to a khaki color. Then add the lamb mixture from the cooker into the roux. ( The roux will burn quickly after it has turned brown, remove the mixture from heat and then add the lamb stew )

Allow this mixture to boil for about 10-15 minutes until it thickens to a soupy consistency. Adjust the salt if needed.

As seen in the picture, it is served up with the khichri. A variation of this would be to add milk in the last 5 minutes of the boiling process.

- posted from my IPAD !

Location:Bandook's kitchen, Germantown,United States