Smile Politely

Doing chicken masala the hard way

Not to start a theme or anything, but you all will think I’m crazy with this recipe. In fact, I’ve made it with with Indian friends and they thought I was crazy. Not for making this mind you, just for taking the time to roast and grind all the spice mixtures that can be had pre-packaged for about the same price as whole. Now, kinder recipe authors will tell you just to use pre-ground, and your Indian friends might even tell you the same, but, if you have the time nothing compares to the aroma and taste of roasting whole spices until fragrant and then grinding them to a fine powder, plus your guests will be amazed to watch you in action.

1) Marinate Chicken: combine in resealable bag, rub to coat, refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  • 1 lb. chicken, washed and cut into medium sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp. yogurt
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste

2) Dry Roast the whole spices and cashews for steps 3, 4, & 5 in a 325 degree oven for 10–15 minutes. I make a multi-compartment roaster out of aluminum foil, so i can keep them all together, but that’s probably more complicated than it has to be, so you can just using ramekins.

3) Garam Masala: dry roast, grind to a fine powder, set aside.

  • 1″ cinnamon
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 3 coriander seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom seed

4) Spice Mix: dry roast, grind to a fine powder, set aside.

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (adjust to suit your spice level)
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds

5) Cashew Milk Paste: grind cashews to a fine powder, combine with milk.

  • 10 cashew nuts
  • 4-5 tbsp. milk

6) Ginger-Garlic Paste: mash ginger and garlic together w/ a pinch of salt

  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp. fresh ginger
  • pinch salt

7) Drink time: we were drinking Kingfisher beer this night, but something with lemon and gin would also go down nicely as well. Anyhow, your guests (or lovely wife) will be tired of watching you by now and need some refreshment. Plus you’ve still got a ways to go and you need to keep everyone happy.

8) Onion: 2 Large, finely chopped

9) Tomato: 1 Large, finely chopped

10) Heat 1 ½ tbsp. of oil in a cooking vessel. Add the onions and a
few pinches of salt, sauté 10-15 minutes.

11) Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté further for another 3-4 minutes.

12) Add Spice Mix, sauté for another minute

13) Add tomato and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside.

14) Heat 1 ½ tbsp. oil in the masala pan, add chicken. Cook on high
flame for 4-5 minutes (turning once), reduce heat and cook covered for
another 4-5 minutes.

15) Add the masala paste, cashew milk, and garam masala, combine well.
Cook till chicken pieces are soft and you get the desired curry
consistency. Adjust salt.

16) Green Pepper, sliced thin, added to pan.

17) Cilantro, finely chopped, added to pan.

18) Serve! (of course, you’ll want to have some rice, perhaps some
raita, perhaps a few veggie dishes, perhaps your married to an amazing
cook who will run make all those side dishes whilst your cooking, if
not i share my simple green beans saute sometime soon…i promise)


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