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  • Chicken Makhani

    TOOLS: You’ll need a food processor; a large mixing bowl; a whisk; 4 small mixing bowls; heavy-bottomed 4-quart / 4-L and 6-quart / 6-L sauté pans with lids; and a blender or an immersion (stick) blender.
    VEGANIZE IT! You can easily replace the chicken with 24 to 28 ounces / 680 to 790 g of cubed Baked Tofu, seitan, or tempeh. Follow all of the steps above, except that in Steps 8 and 9, the cooking time can be reduced to 4 minutes. Swap out the dairy by using nondairy alternatives like vegan margarine and soy or coconut cream.

    Buttery, smooth, and decadent are the characteristics of this dish. It’s not one we typically make in Indian households, but has become a household name in homes outside of India.

    For the MARINADE:
    • 1 (4-inch / 10-cm) piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 2 cups /470 mL plain, unsweetened yogurt
    • 1 heaping tablespoon Tandoori Masala
    • 2 teaspoons amchur (dried mango powder)
    • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • ½ cup /10 g kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • 2 pounds /910 g boneless, skinned chicken, cut in strips
    For the CURRY:
    • ½ cup /70 g raw, unsalted cashews
    • 5 cups /1.2 L boiling water, divided
    • 1 medium yellow or red onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 (4-inch / 10-cm) piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
    • 3–6 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
    • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons /60 mL plus 45 mL ghee, butter, or vegetable oil, divided
    • 2 (3-inch / 8-cm) sticks cinnamon
    • 4 black cardamom pods
    • 4 green cardamom pods
    • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
    • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
    • 2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • ¼ cup /5 g kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor
    • ¼ cup /60 mL heavy cream
    • Brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan, for serving
    For the MARINADE:
    1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the ginger and garlic until a smooth paste forms. You’ll use the food processor again when making the curry. No need to wash it before moving on to Step 2 in the curry recipe.
    2. Transfer the paste into a large mixing bowl. Add the yogurt, Tandoori Masala, amchur, black pepper, salt, kasoori methi, and lemon juice and whisk until fully combined.
    3. Fold the chicken into the yogurt marinade. Stir gently, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
    4. Allow the marinated chicken to rise to room temperature for 20 minutes before making the curry.
    For the CURRY:
    1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cashews and 2 cups / 470 mL of the boiling water and allow them to soak while you prep the remaining ingredients.
    2. In the bowl of the food processor, grind the onion until smooth. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and set aside. No need to clean the food processor bowl in between. Add the ginger and garlic to the food processor bowl and grind into a smooth paste. Transfer to a second small mixing bowl and set aside. Again, no need to clean. Add the tomatoes and fresh chiles to the food processor bowl and grind into a watery paste. Transfer to a third small mixing bowl and set aside.
    3. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium heat, warm the ¼ cup / 60 mL of ghee. Add the cinnamon, black and green cardamom pods, and fenugreek seeds and cook for 40 seconds, until the seeds are browned. Don’t overcook the fenugreek seeds—they will turn bitter.
    4. Carefully add the ground onion from Step 2 to the sauté pan. Raise the heat to medium–high and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
    5. Add the ginger paste from Step 2 to the sauté pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, until cooked through. Add the ground tomato from Step 2 and cook for 20 minutes, until the moisture becomes dry and the ghee starts to pull away from the sides.
    6. Add 2 cups / 470 mL of the boiling water, the Garam Masala, the red chile powder, the salt, and the kasoori methi to the sauté pan and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully remove the whole spices.
    7. Transfer the curry to a blender or use an immersion blender in the sauté pan. Drain the cashews, discarding the water, and add them to the mixture. Process on high for 1 to 2 minutes.
    8. Return the curry to the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 cup / 240 mL of the water (if you used a blender, you might want to run that cup / 240 mL of water through the blender in order to get every last drop of the curry), 1 tablespoon of the ghee, and the cream and cook, covered, for 5 minutes, until warmed through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    9. In a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of the ghee. Carefully add ½ of the marinated chicken and cook, turning once to ensure even cooking, for 8 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a serving platter.
    10. Repeat with the remaining ½ of the chicken and discard the marinade. Remove from the heat.
    11. Add all the cooked chicken to the sauté pan containing the curry and return the pan to medium–high heat. Cook for 4 minutes, until warmed through.
    12. Transfer the chicken and curry to a large serving bowl and serve immediately with the brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.