Friday, October 17, 2008
Bin Masala Chicken: Chicken cooked without a heavy masala
Here is an extremely easy and delicious chicken "curry" recipe from Lucknow, UP. It was shown to me by my mother in-law. It is called Bin-Masala Chicken which means chicken cooked without spices--- although there are spices in the recipe, it doesn't have the usual garlic/ginger paste or caramelized onions that typify many "curries." You can do this recipe two ways: chicken is cut into pieces and cooked stove-top, or whole skinless chicken is cooked partially stove-top but finished off in the oven (pictured above). Here is what you need:
1 whole chicken, skinned and cut into medium pieces, OR one skinless whole chicken
1.5 cups real yoghurt (buy it from desi or Middle Eastern Market)
2 tbs of a good brand of "garam masala" which can be bought an Indo-Pak grocery store
small pinch each (1/4 tsp each) of nutmeg and mace (this is necessary to make it Lucknawi style)
1/2 tsp of Kashmiri chili powder or paprika if you don't like heat
2-3 tbs oil
salt to taste
Fully Stove-Top with Chicken Pieces: First whip the spices and salt into the yoghurt. Add chicken pieces and marinade at least one hour or up to 24 hours. Heat oil in pot, add chicken with marinade and stir on medium heat until the oil separates from the yoghurt (+/-10 mins). Turn heat down very low and cook until the chicken is fully cooked. (around 30-40 minutes depending on how fast chicken cooks where you live, where I am it is very tender and cooks very fast and will fall apart if cooked for more than 30 minutes) When finished, the gravy should be slightly thick. If it is not, remove chicken pieces from gravy, turn up heat and stir for a few minutes till it thickens, then return the chicken to the gravy and serve immediately. You must remove the chicken or it will break apart--the yoghurt marinade makes it extra tender and sensitive also.
Whole Skinned Chicken: Whip powdered spices, salt and yoghurt together in a large bowl. Add the whole skinless chicken to marinade. Allow to marinade from 1 hour up to 24 hours. Heat oil in pot. Add in chicken and marinade at medium heat and cook, stirring around gently until the yoghurt is cooked and the oil rises to the top of the gravy. Once the oil has risen to the top of the gravy, lay the chicken on one side, breast and thigh piece down, and cook covered at a simmer for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, turn the chicken so that the other breast and leg are at the bottom of the pot and cook covered for another 12 minutes. Stir in a little bit of water if the gravy looks dry. After the 12 minutes is up, turn the chicken so that the breast side is down and cook off for a final 12 minutes, adding a tiny bit of water if necessary. This rotation method insures that the thigh-leg pieces stay in a good shape and don't flail out. Once this 12 minutes is up, transfer chicken and gravy breast side up into a baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes to brown the chicken and make sure that it is cooked through. Baste it with gravy once it is remove from the oven, then allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so. This whole chicken is nice to serve at a small dinner party so that you may cut it up in front of the guests and impress them. :-)
Best with naan or plain basmati rice.