Saturday, 14 February 2015

Chicken Khyberman

This will serve 4 people.


You'll need:


A chicken. Don't get a big chicken, the bigger they are, the drier they taste. With bone, go for one under 700 grammes - if you're going boneless, then about 500 grammes of boneless chicken thigh chopped into bite-sized pieces will do - chicken breast doesn't absorb flavours that much, it dries out and tastes like sawdust. Breasts are overrated. Thighs are where it's at.

An onion. A fairly big one, say the size of your fist. Or get two little ones. I prefer using pink ones, but red or white ones will do.

A fistful of coriander leaves. Don't be lazy, get rid of the stems.

Picture a cabbage the size of a softball - just under 4 inches in diameter. A 32B. You need HALF of that.

Fresh tomatoes. You'll need around 3 of them if they're as big as tennis balls, maybe 4 or 5, if smaller.

Ginger. Say about the same volume as a golf ball.

Garlic. Three or four cloves should do it. Please don't use garlic paste. Please.

Green chillies. Get two of them. Chuck in a couple of red ones as well.

Cooking oil, 2 or 3 table spoons will do - use whatever you want - olive oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil - whatever. Even ghee, if you have a death wish.

Button mushrooms - 4 or 5 of them will do. This is an optional extra.

Spices: High piled teaspoons of red chilli powder, turmeric powder, Garam Masala, a pinch of cumin seeds, 2 or 3 black cardamoms, salt, a few cloves, and if you're an advanced currier, some anardana powder as well.

You'll need a non-stick wok with a lid, to cook it all in.


How it's done:


  • Chop the onions, cabbage, garlic, and ginger into little slivers - no thicker than toothpicks.
  • Chop up the tomatoes into little chunks, say as big as a key on your keyboard. Do not de-seed. You need it all.
  • De-seed the chillies - you don't need that much fire - and cut them into inch-long pieces in case you want to pick them out while eating.
  • Chop the mushrooms (did I say they're optional?) into thin slices.



And then...

  • Heat the oil in the non-stick wok, and chuck in the onions. As soon as they
    collapse and soften a bit, showing signs of browning, throw in everything else (yep, the spices and salt too). Yes, everything except the chicken. Cover it, and let it all cook on medium heat for about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • When the mixture in the wok is sufficiently mushy and soft, and the smell is making you hungry, add the chicken. Stir until all the chicken is covered in the gloop you've just created.
  • Put the lid back on, reduce the heat to low, pour yourself a glass of wine and chill for about 20-25 minutes. Do get up a couple of times to stir it around a bit. Add the mushrooms 15 minutes in.
  • If you feel it's drying up too much, throw in a dollop of yoghurt and mix. You could instead, use a little tap water, some tomato juice, or even a splash of the wine you're having...
  • That's it really. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and serve with naan, or bread, or rice.







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