What I’m going to give you here are the bones of the recipe – you need to add some stock if you’re cooking it on the stove-top and maybe if you’re slow-cooking it. I don’t add any more chilli than is in my fancy-bought-at-a-market garam marsala because 5,000 children mean 5,000 variants of chilli tolerance, so by all means, add away.
Anyway, it’s delicious and really very straight forward. Get to it. Make your #everyfuckingnight a winner.
1 kg chicken (I have used thigh fillets in a stove-top version and three marylands in a pressure-cooked version)
1 ½ cups Greek yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tbsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp ground cumin
For the sauce
115 g butter
2 yellow onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 tomatoes, diced
salt to taste
(If cooking on the stove-top ⅔ cup chicken stock)
1 ½ cups cream or sour cream or yoghurt
3 tbsp almond meal
Smoosh everything together and marinate for as long as you've got - at least a couple of hours
If you like you can brown the chicken but really, who has the time or energy for such nonsense
Melt the butter and add the onions. Saute for a couple of minutes
Add the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and tomatoes and cook for a few minutes
Add the chicken AND all the marinade If using a slow cooker put the lid on and set on high for, I don't know, four hours? Or low for eight? It's impossible to destroy food in a slow cooker, you know your machine, do what you think best. Add a splosh of stock if you so wish but I find I always over water things in the slow cooker In the pressure cooker, on highest setting for 45 minutes for marylands, 30 for chicken with no bones On the stove add the stock and simmer for about 30 minutes
Once cooked, add the almond meal and cream and cook for another 10 minutes or so In the pressure cooker I take the chicken out, set the machine to reduce, add the meal and cream and reduce for 15 mins. (Just stir through yoghurt at the very end in this case otherwise it will split.)
Serve with fresh coriander, chutney and cucumber raita
OK, so my love affair with Indian began several years ago when a friend of mine organised a cooking class with Ajoy Joshi, he of Nilgiri’s restaurant fame. At his restaurant he changes the menu every three months to showcase all the regions of India. His food is complex, delicate, sophisticated and delicious. He is a LEGEND in terms of dragging the India food scene in Australia forward by a hundred years. On top of that, he is THE MOST lovely guy.
Anyway, his cooking class completely demystified Indian food for me and I was hooked.
Now forget the cloying butter chicken from the bain marie and brace yourself for something from a different realm.
This recipe takes time and there is a huge list of ingredients. I break it down, marinating the chicken the day before and then making the sauce and assembling the dish the next day.
You can make it as hot or as mild as you like, I tend to put in the full amount of chilli powder in the marinade and then less chilli powder and green chilli in the sauce so it’s more palatable to all the kids.
Embrace the mis en place. Get everything ready before you start cooking. I measure out the spices into a little saucer/dish so when it comes to adding them it’s just put it all in from a dish rather than farnarkling around with teaspoon measures.
Prepare the garlic and ginger in bulk. I have one of those mini blitzing bowl things (technical term) that attaches to my stick blender. I peel a whole head or two of garlic, blitz it and then put in a ramekin. Ditto for a piece of ginger. Even if you have some left over, cover what’s left with a layer of olive oil, wrap in clingfilm and keep it in the fridge. Sorted.
Use your food processor to chop the onions and blitz the tomatoes.
When I say cook the onions for 20 minutes I really mean it – they need to be a deep caramel colour.
The main thing to remember here is to just take your time, the end result is totally worth it.