Thursday, 18 October 2012

Murgh Makhani

For those of you who do not know, there is no such thing as a chicken tikka masala in India, it's a dish that has been made up in this country to suit our British palate. The closest dish in India I have ever come to our Anglo-Indian curry, is either butter chicken or Murgh Makhani. I'm sure that a lot of people do not know how Chicken tikka masala originated, I have heard that the Tikka masala was invented in Birmingham, but others say Glasgow, I digress, the story goes that a customer at an Indian restaurant had complained that the dish he had ordered was too spicy, and when the chef was asked to adapt the curry to the customers taste he improvised by using a tin of tomato soup and cream to make the curry milder. Tikka masala has become such a huge success in this country that we have now adopted the curry as a national dish. I was asked by my students in my class to  teach them how to make a chicken tikka masala, a request that makes me want to weep with despair, so what I came up with was a compromise, a half way point between Anglo Indian and authentic Indian. So here is my British style Murgh Makhani, designed with even heat haters in mind. 

You will need:
For the marinade:
500g Natural yogurt
1 tablespoon of mild paprika (for colour to the chicken)
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 tablespoon of meat tenderising powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp of aesofatida
a pinch of salt

Five very large chicken fillets

For the sauce
2 tablespoons of ghee
2 teaspoons of onion seed
20 curry leaves
one very large white onion sliced
1 tsp of chilli powder
2 tsp of turmeric
2 tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp corriander powder
1/4 tsp of mango powder
4 cloves
a pinch of saffron threads
5 bruised cardamon pods
2 tablespoons of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of crushed ginger
1 tin of heinz tomato soup
200ml of double cream
1-2 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
100ml water
1 chicken stock pot
the juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
a handful of chopped coriander
Make sure that you allow enough time to let your meat marinate overnight, longer if you can. Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and add large chunks of diced chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To start the curry melt the ghee in a large sauce pan, with the heat on high add the curry leaves, onion seed and onion and cook until the onions have begun to take on a golden colour. Add the Cumin powder, corriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric and mango powder. Cook for a further 5 minutes so that the rawness in the spices have had the chance to cook out (this is the mistake that most people make).Using one of the two teaspoons of sea salt crush the fresh garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar until it is a paste. Add the ginger and garlic paste to the pan and cook for five minutes to cook the rawness out of the garlic. Once the onions, spices and garlic and ginger have made a rough paste, add the chicken and the contents of the marinade too, cook the chicken until it starts to turn white, this should take no more than 5 minutes. Add a pinch of saffron and the tomato soup (stick with me it works), follow this with the water, cloves and the bruised cardamon pods. I usually add the chicken stock pot and one tablespoon of sugar now, saving another for later one in case I think it needs more sweetness, cook the chicken on high for 5 more minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Finish with the cream,  remaining salt, lemon juice and sugar if necessary. Finish with a handful of chopped corriander.

Serve with Saffron rice and my coconut Sambal, not conventional but so very yummy.

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