Mughlai Chicken is one of those North Indian curries that completely take you by surprise. A supremely delicious, perfectly balanced sauce that just took me right to India! As authentic as it gets, just like I ate in India. As curries go, Mughlai Chicken is fairly light on ingredients, but it really does pack a hit of flavour - big time! It's a worthy inclusion as one of my 10 Best Chicken Curry Recipes. Find out why...
I was tentatively optimistic when I first cooked this curry but hugely surprised by the creamy texture and complex, rounded and fragrant sauce. It's one of the best curries I've tasted. I'm normally more of a fan of a Southern Indian Curry, they tend to be lighter and quicker to cook, but every now and again (all the time) I'll crack out a Northern style curry.
Mughlai Chicken - creamy, decadent North Indian curry
Southern style curries feature a lot of coconut oil and cream and are thinner and soupier in consistency, like my delicious South Indian Salmon Curry, while Northern Curries, like my Chicken Saag and this, Mughlai Chicken curry call upon ghee and cream to create thicker, richer sauces. It's winter time, so these Northern curries really do fit the season, a rich warm comfort food.
Nuts about Mughlai Chicken!
The use of nuts is something we see used throughout the North too – not only as a garnish, but also ground to powders, which act as thickeners to the gravy. This curry uses almonds to great effect bringing richness and glossiness to the curry sauce. Depending on the heat of the chilli powder you use this dish is pretty mild. Kashmiri chilli powder is generally not hot, but try a little on your tongue first. If you want to spice it up, add 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.
Mughlai Chicken gets its name from the Mughlai Empire, where cooking techniques of the ancient Persian and Central Asians met local cuisines to create what we know today as North Indian and Pakistani cuisine. As a consequence, in the North, bread is king, so this curry is spectacular served with Naan, Chapati or Paratha but it's equally special served with a fluffy basmati rice.
I'm sure you're going to LOVE Mughlai Chicken. Once in a while, a very special curry comes along - today's your lucky day people!
How to make my Mughlai Chicken
- 2.2 lb (1kg) chicken thighs (boneless & skinless, cut into chunks)
- 2 medium onions (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 3 tbsp ghee (or vegetable/canola/peanut oil)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
- 5 garlic cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
- 1 tsp (level) ground cardamom
- 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp almond flour
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds (toasted) for garnish - optional
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro for garnish - optional
- Using a stick blender or food processor, blend the onion into a puree.
- Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the onion puree and fry gently for 10 minutes until brown.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the cardamom, Kashmiri chilli powder, garam masala and cinnamon stick.
- Cook, stirring over a lower heat for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chicken, turn up the heat slightly and cook for 5 minutes until cooked on the outside. If it begins to stick, pour in a little water.
- Add the water and salt and stir well. Partially cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the almond powder and cream and bring back to a simmer. The sauce will thicken. Remove from the heat and check for seasoning, adding a little salt if it needs it.
- To serve, sprinkle over the fresh coriander and toasted almonds (To toast them, fry in a dry frying pan for 2-3 mines until browned. Leave to cool.) Serve with Indian breads or Basmati rice.
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