Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chicken Makhani with Peas Pulav

I went through a phase when I was into all things related to Indian food. Once, I invited a group of friends over for dinner and made chicken tikka masala, but I was a little too heavy handed with the cayenne. Everyone ended up gulping pitchers of water, and finally one of my friends went to the corner market to buy vanilla ice cream for us to sooth the horrible burning.

I still made chicken tikka masala as well as other Indian dishes every once in awhile, but although these experiences were not nearly as disastrous, none of the outcomes were what I would deem a success. Until this dish. I stumbled across this recipe by Top Chef winner Floyd Cardoz on Serious Eats. It's been filed away in a Pinterest folder amongst a list of things I've been planning to make. I've been procrastinating since the directions are tedious and the product is heavy (lots of butter and heavy cream), but I finally got around to it. It tastes incredible. 

Marinate a pound of chicken thighs overnight in a mixture of 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 cloves garlic (minced), 1 tsp powdered ginger, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 2 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp paprika, 2 tsp garam masala, and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I just estimated everything). Line baking tray with foil and grease with cooking spray, then broil in oven for 10 minutes on each side.

Chicken thighs yum. This chicken is delicious without the sauce even. The marinade is totally versatile enough to make spicy chicken for a variety of applications. Slice the chicken thighs into bite sized pieces.

Dice 1/2 an onion, as well as 5 medium-sized tomatoes. The recipe said to just use a 28oz can of diced tomatoes (so you can do that) but I don't have a can opener since I'm moving soon, so I had to do this the hard way. Diced tomatoes aren't pictured because I did an ugly job.

In a medium sized pot, throw in the diced veggies, 1 cup water, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tsp powdered ginger, 1/2 a stick of butter, 2 cardamom pods, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp black pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. 

Now, you can eat this curry with regular rice and it would be just as delicious, but you also have 30 minutes of time to wait around, so why not make peas pulav? Hehe. Cook 1 cup of brown rice in 2 cups of water. You can use stove top or a rice maker. 

While the rice is cooking, cook the remaining 1/2 onion (diced) with 1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp garam masala, 3 cloves (the spice), 1 tsp cumin, and some salt to taste until the onion is browned. Add 1/2 cup of frozen peas and stir fry for a minute (I just did it until the peas weren't a big frozen clump anymore). Add everything in the pan to the rice that is still cooking, and stir. Leave the rice alone until it's done.

 Meanwhile, after 30 minutes, your sauce should look something like this.

Transfer sauce to a blender and puree for about 30 seconds until smooth. Have a taste. This was a holy crap moment for me.

Pour sauce back into the pot and turn on low heat. Add 1/3 cup of heavy cream (I just poured and guessed) and stir.

Add the sliced chicken pieces and stir.

 At this point, your peas pulav should be approximately done. This is what it should look like.

 Peas pulav, plated.

Chicken makhani. Floyd Cardoz is brilliant, as is this recipe.


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