Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Smoked Chicken Curry

School holidays have started and so have my woes. The constant hunt for excitement, new toys and old forgotten ones too, finger foods every half hour, play doh, and so on and on. Gosh! I really wish I could vanish away to some place for a few hours in the day. I do not even want to glance upon my messy dirty home which does not even look clean no matter how many times I try to clear it up during the day! To top it all, I have to think of a new menu each day for my Father-in-Law who is visiting us these days. I do not mind his visit otherwise but having to cook something proper each day is quite a task, especially with school holidays. Anyway, it's just a matter of one more week and even though things will only get tougher after he leaves, the cooking can be neglected on most days! Here is what I prepared for him today.
1 kg chicken washed and cut
2 big potatoes halved
1 big onion sliced finely
1 medium tomato chopped
2-3 fat cloves of garlic chopped
1" piece ginger grated
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Fresh coriander for garnishing
Salt to taste
1/2 tbsp of dry roasted and crushed kasuri methi

For the marination
1/3 cup thick yogurt
1 big onion finely sliced
1" piece ginger grated
2-3 fat cloves of garlic minced
1-2 tsp salt
2 tbsp mustard oil (you can use any other oil as well)

For the masala
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorn
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 black cardamom
3 green cardamom
3 cloves
1" piece cinnamon
1 star anise
2-3 dry red chilli (I skipped as I was serving it to my baby too)

For the smoke
1-2 pieces of charcoal
1 tsp ghee
Aluminium foil made into a bowl (it is advisable to keep it ready before starting to smoke)

Take the washed and cut chicken pieces in a bowl and ensure that the water is properly drained out. Now add all the ingredients listed under marination and mix and coat well on the chicken pieces. Cover and leave it for at least 2-3 hours. Overnight marination is highly recommended and that is what I did. 
The next morning, take the chicken out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before starting to cook. 
Dry roast all the ingredients listed under masala and grind to a fine powder. Keep aside. 
Now in the same grinder, add the chopped tomato, garlic, and ginger and make a fine puree. Keep aside. 

Fry the potato halves in little oil till golden and keep aside. 

Now heat a deep bottomed big wok and take the chicken out onto it along with the marinade. Keep the flame high and keep stirring at regular interval to avoid sticking. We are doing this step to seal the juices and to dry up the excess liquid of the marinade as well as to bring out the fat from the yogurt and the chicken since we have not added any additional oil. Within 10-12 minutes, the water will start drying up and the chicken will start getting golden. 

Add the sliced onion and fry till translucent. Now add the tomato puree and fry till the raw smell disappears and oil starts leaving the sides of the pan. Add the ground masala and turmeric powder and stir well. Tip in the potatoes and 1 cup warm water. Mix well and cover and cook on a medium flame till the chicken and the potatoes are cooked through and tender and the gravy reduces to your desired consistency. You can either have it dry or with gravy depending on your requirement. Now add the crushed kasuri methi and fresh coriander. Check for seasoning and remove from heat. Transfer to the serving dish with a proper tight lid (without any gap or hole). Take the prepared aluminium bowl and place it securely in the center of the chicken ensuring that there are no open edges on the sides through which liquid may seep in or out. 

Take the charcoal pieces in a small bowl or tadka/tempering wok and let it heat up to red hot. Add a tsp of ghee now and as the ghee melts and smoke starts coming out, pour it into the prepared aluminium bowl.

 Cover the dish instantly and tightly close it so that no smoke can escape. Let it remain that way for about half hour till the charcoal cools down. Discard the aluminium foil and the charcoal (if completely charred) and serve hot with roti/rice.

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