Imperial Chicken Curry

I was really in the mood for a tasty curry tonight. The last couple of curries I made (which didn’t make it onto the site incidentally) have been a little lacklustre in their delivery of flavour. I really wanted to eat something memorable. I had totally forgotten about this curry. I’ve made this a few times, but for some reason haven’t put it on the site – no idea why – as it’s a cracker! It’s a very simple and very tasty curry from Delhi. With it’s lighly coloured gravy, rich and glossy and it’s amazingly fragrant taste, Imperial Chicken makes for a very special curry indeed.

1kg chicken thigh fillets (cut into large pieces)
250g Greek style yoghurt
8 cloves
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
6 dried chillies (or 2 teaspoons chilli powder)
6 cardamom
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt

4 medium onions (sliced)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
5cm piece fresh ginger (chopped)
2 cinnamon sticks

In a small dry frying pan, heat the cloves, cumin seeds, chillies, cardamom, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and salt for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Tip the contents into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind into a fine powder.

Mix the powder with the yoghurt and then pour over the chicken. Mix well to cover all the chicken pieces, cover then set aside while you prepare the onion paste.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a moderate heat and gently fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 10 minutes until very soft and golden. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly before blending together in a food processor until smooth. Return the onion paste back to the pan then mix in the chicken and marinade and cinnamon sticks. Bring this to a bubbling simmer then reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently for 45 minutes, partially covered until the chicken is tender and the sauce thickened. Remove from the heat and adjust salt levels if neccessary.

I served mine garnished with spring onion and coriander, but I’ve also served scattered with toasted slithers of almonds and even fresh dill which worked well. As this is a Northern Indian dish I often serve it with chapati, paratha or naan breads, but rice works equally well.

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