The Mughals and Persians from western Asia brought their rich artistic and gastronomic culture of eating meat to India. This influence lasted for more than 400 years and is now part of the fabric of Indian culinary culture.The splendor of the Mughal rule is reflected in the Mughlai Cuisine of India which is the richest and the most lavish in the country.
Punjab has bequeathed the institution of Dhaba to the world. The Dhaba moves wherever a Punjabi goes would be the correct thing to state about its origin. Dhabas were food stalls which were often run by single families and mushroomed all along the trunk road serving fresh regional cuisine. The dhabas mainly gained popularity in the Northwestern part of the country from Peshawar to Punjab. The dhabas were characterised by open kitchens, clay ovens also know as tandoor and used brass and copper utensils. Dhabas today have become very popular all over the country and many modern versions have evolved.
I have selected one of the most popular dishes from their menu a simple chicken curry cooked with yoghurt and whole spices.
Serves 6-8 people
Cooking time 40 mins
2 Baby chicken whole (approx 900 gms each)
3 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon 5 cm
6 green cardamom
1/2 tbsp Cumin seeds
7-8 whole kashmiri red chillies
4 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp desi ghee
4 medium onions
250 gms ginger and garlic paste (100 gms ginger & 150 gms garlic)
500 gms yoghurt
125 ml double cream
25gms or around 1 heaped tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
3 tbsp chopped coriander
1.Clean chicken and trim any excess fat. Cut each chicken into approximately 18 pieces or you can ask your local butcher to do that for you.
2. In a pan heat oil and ghee. Once heated add all the whole spices. The idea here is to make sure that the spices release their flavour into the oil. Make sure not to burn the spices.
3. Add 4 finely chopped onion and saute until slightly brown, we don’t want the onions to be golden brown. Just a slight colour on them will do.
4. Now add the ginger and garlic paste and saute for 7-10 mins until the ginger and garlic paste is cooked.
5. At this stage add all the dry spices except the garam masala powder. Before you add the spices I would recommend to add 2 tbsp of hot water to the cooking pan, give a quick stir and then add the spices. This will prevent the dry spices from burning and help impart the best flavour possible,.
6. Saute for further 2 mins and add the chicken pieces, at this stage add the salt. Saute the chicken for 7-10 mins until evenly coated with the masala.
7. Lower the heat to minimum and add the yoghurt . Mix well and increase the heat. Saute for further 5 mins. Lower the heat back to minimum and cover the pan with a lid and cook for further 15 mins.
8. Remove lid and increase the heat. Saute on high heat for further 5-7 mins or until the gravy has slightly thickened. At this stage add the cream, chopped coriander and garam masala powder. Cook for further 5 mins.
9. The Chicken curry is now ready. Serve hot with chapatis or rice and finely sliced onions with a dash of lemon on the side.
I can say this with full assurance and confidence that is will be the best form of Chicken curry you have ever tasted. Simple yet gratifying and scrumptious.
Looking forward for your feedback once you have made it.
I have put together a short video below which demonstrates the various stages of cooking the above recipe.