We haven’t tried enough Nigella Lawson recipes around here, so today is all about changing that. At least a little. It’s only one recipe after all.
I love to catch one of her cooking shows whenever I can. Her approach to cooking is so relaxed and yet confident. Sis blogging partner and I joked that we could see this relaxing tendency in this recipe’s directions, to the point we just had to interpret as best we could with some parts, but in the end we came out with an exceptionally tasty dish.
Dudes, there’s a lot of ingredients in this recipe, half of which are spices. Amazingly enough, I only needed to buy a few of the ingredients shown here. By the way, we forgot to add the cumin to the picture. Heh! Not sure there was room for it anyway.
This is the base for the dish, a paste of sorts made from ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and chili in a food processor, or a mini food prep like ours. Ground almonds, which we ground in the same mini food prep first, and a little water are added. This wasn’t quite as potent as the paste/base layer we made in the chicken tikka masala, but it’s got a nice flavor all the same.
Browning the thigh pieces took the longest in this recipe, and while the recipe calls for boneless, we discovered ours were actually bone-in despite the grocery labeling them as boneless. It was hard to tell till we opened the package. Oh well, bone-in or not, it works either way and I wasn’t inclined to bother with de-boning the meat. This step takes a little while because you don’t want to crowd the chicken, cooking it in batches to allow for a nice browned color. We had slightly more chicken than called for, but there was plenty of sauce for this amount.
I just loooove me some saucy chicken.
You know what added a surprisingly nice, subtle flavor? That little cinnamon stick! You work it, cinnamon, mmm hmm!
Once the sauce base is worked in, throw in a little Greek yogurt to turn it all to the creamy side. Love this stuff, so of course we highly approved.
From here on out it’s a free and clear ride to a wonderful sauce, with some heavy cream to help even more, and the chicken gets a little more of a simmer in it, too. The chicken is also sprinkled with some garam masala spice mix and a little sugar. Honestly, I might add some garam masala to the sauce itself as well next time.
My only real complaint, and it’s a minor one because this was so delicious, was that the sauce be thicker, but it’s possible we just needed to let it cool a little more, too. As is, it’s kind of like a stew and the rice we made to accompany it was so good with it that I mixed it all together. This is yet another awesome Asian dish that is easy, albeit a little time consuming to make. You could of course cut in half though, if necessary. That being said it’s wonderful as leftovers, so I’m all for making the entire thing just to have lunch to look forward to the next day! Hope you give this one a try and enjoy!
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: about 40 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 8
- 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 4 tablespoons ground almonds
- 1/2 cup water
- 5 cardamom pods, bruised
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 pounds boned chicken thighs, each cut into 2
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted, to garnish
Put the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and chili into a food processor, or into a mortar and pestle, and blend to a paste. Add the ground almonds and water and then blend again, set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces – in batches so they fry rather than stew – and cook them just long enough to seal on both sides, then remove to a dish.
Add the spices and turn them in the oil. Add the onions and cook them until softened and lightly browned, but keep the heat gentle and stir frequently, to avoid sticking. Pour in the blended paste, and cook everything until it begins to colour. Add the yogurt, half a cup at a time stirring it in to make a sauce, then stir in the stock, cream, and sultanas.
Put the browned chicken back into the pan, along with any juices that have collected under them, and sprinkle over the garam masala, sugar, and salt. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes, testing to make sure the meat is cooked through.
It’s at this stage, that I like to take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool before reheating the next day.
So either now, or when you’ve reheated it, pour into a serving dish and scatter with the toasted flaked almonds.
In place of the cardamom pods, we used one teaspoon of ground cardamom.
Since our chicken was bone-in, we cooked them initially for about 6 minutes on each side.