Punjabi Chicken in Pickling Spices

Suffering from a rather magnificent hangover, tonight I wanted needed something spicy to lift my spirits and bring me back to life. This Punjabi curry, which is traditionally cooked with lamb seemed like a good contender. I didn’t have the energy to go buy lamb so lazily opted for chicken, which was in my fridge, instead. It worked a treat. I love discovering new flavours with Indian food and the pickling spice flavours are just amazing. This is a dish worthy of a top place in my curry hall of fame. A wonderfully complex and flavour filled sauce quite unlike any other I’ve tasted. Truly delicious.

1 onion (sliced)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1kg chicken thighs (cut into chunks)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup mustard oil
8 dried red chillies
1 cup natural yoghurt
1-2 teaspoons salt

Whole spices:
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
20 fresh curry leaves
6 cloves
5 black peppercorns

Spice Paste:
2 teaspoons nigella seeds
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder (or normal chilli powder)
2 teaspoons garlic puree
2 teaspoons ginger puree
1 tablespoon palm sugar

Combine all the whole spices and set aside.

Combine all the spice paste ingredients together and set aside.

Heat the peanut oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Gently fry the onion for 6 minutes until golden and caramalised. Remove from the pan and blend into a puree. Set aside.

In the same pan, bring to a boil 1.25 litres water with the turmeric over a moderate heat. Add the chicken and simmer gently for 35 minutes until cooked. Remove from the heat then drain the chicken over a large sieve, reserving the stock.

In the same saucepan, heat the mustard oil until hot. Add the dried chillies and stir fry for 30 seconds. Remove the chillies and discard. Add the whole spices to the pan and let them splutter for 5-10 seconds before adding the chicken pieces and the spice paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is lightly browned before adding the pureed onion and half the reserved stock. Let this come to a vigorous boil and reduce for 5 minutes. Add half the remaining stock and all the yoghurt and stir well. Let this come to a boil and again reduce for 5 minutes. Season with salt to your taste and serve.

Serve with lots of basmati rice. I used the remaining stock as part of the liquid to cook the rice and it turned out jolly nicely.

%d bloggers like this: