Friday, June 17, 2011

Butter chicken / creamed? :)

Stuff that you would need:

For the marinade:
Considering 1/4 kg chicken, I'd say-
Hung curd – about ¾ tea cup
Turmeric – a big pinch
Chilly flakes – 1 & ½ tsp
Ginger - garlic paste – ½ tsp
Juice of half a lemon
A pinch or two of color (red)
*** You could taste the marinade and change proportions of the above as required.
Marinate the chicken and let it rest for as long as possible. I leave it overnight in the freezer.

For the masala :
For ¼ kg chicken -
4 cloves
Cinnamon (clove sized barks 2 to 3)
Aniseed small - 2
Cardamom 2 to 3 pods
I added a little cumin seeds too (about ½ tsp)
*** Roast the above spice mix dry (should do till the cloves pop out). Keep tossing them frequently to make sure they don't burn. Run in the mixer till it is powdered coarsely/fine which ever consistency you choose. This could be pre-prepared and stored - though nothing beats a freshly prepared one! :)

For the gravy:
Oil – 2 tbsp
Red chillies - 2
Onion – 2 medium
Ginger - garlic paste – ½ tsp
Salt to taste
A splash of pepper powder
Tomato – 3 to 4
Bay leaves - 2
Tomato puree (commercially available)
Milk cream (Amul should do)
Coriander leaves
Butter (but ofcourse! ;))

What and how:
While the chicken is defrosting the next day, pressure cook 3-4 tomatoes and 2 onions with a little salt. I wait for 3 whistles. I guess 2 should be as good.

Grind the onions coarsely (1-2 whirls in the mixer should do) and keep aside. Do the same with the tomatoes (separate). I don’t really like the tomato skins sticking out.. and so I trash them away. You could leave them on if you choose to. Retain the water that the onions & tomatoes cooked in.

By now, your chicken should be defrosted. Remove excess water and stash away the chicken in the tandoor till done. Smear a little oil or butter on the aluminum foil before you place the chicken - else it will stick and also be a little dry. Turn over for even cooking. The 'peaks a little burnt' look makes for an appetizing gravy.

While your tandoor is busy, take a wok with 2tbsp oil .. or butter if you wish and break 2 red chillies into the heated oil. Toss to ensure it doesn't burn and add the pre-prepared masala. Toss again and immediately add onions, ensuring the masala doesn't burn. Add salt as required. Stir well and add ginger-garlic paste.
Wait till the paste changes color and add the pureed tomato. Add 2 bay-leaves, a splash of pepper powder and stir. Once you see the oil seeping through the mixture, add the remaining water from the pressure cooker (quantity- as much as you think is necessary). Bring to a boil. Add the store-bought tomato puree (this gives it a better color), stirring occasionally.

By now, your tandoor should be done. Once the gravy reduces to a thicker consistency, check for salt and drop the tandoori chicken into the boiling gravy and mix well. Add the chicken at the very end since simmering it further in the gravy would harden it. Garnish with coriander leaves.
You could finish off with cream and a dollop of butter. Close & rest till served.
I prefer to use more cream and chuck out the butter. Not that I wouldn’t want to add it, but my worse-half freaks out wit the amount of 'fattening elements' in my cooking. The cream would make the gravy a lesser red - but undoubtedly yummier! Njoyyy!!! :)

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