Thursday, 19 June 2014

Chicken Kofta curry

My mother used to make this gravy for chicken pieces on the bone; However, I modified her version and decided to add a few other things. I replaced the curry cut chicken with minced chicken (keema) thereby making them into soft koftas. Sometimes I like to stuff them with a mixture of raisins and other nuts and other times I just cook it plain and simple. Depending on my mood, I keep altering the ingredients that go into the koftas. Most of the time, I do stick to the flavors (for koftas) I know works well with the gravy.

This looks like a lot of ingredients but most of these ingredients are easily available in an Indian kitchen. And it is super easy dish that does not need much effort.

This is the simplest of koftas where I do not use anything to stuff it. It works very well with naan/roti/ plain parantha or simple steamed rice. Since the flavors are a little heavy, I do not suggest paiting this curry with any kind of spiced rice or stuffed paranthas.

The minced chicken in this recipe can be substituted with Minced mutton.

For the Koftas:
2 cups Minced Chicken
1 tbsp minced or garlic paste
1tsp Cumin Powder
½ tsp Black Pepper powder
1tsp Garam Masala (Readymade) or ½ tsp Homemade garam masala
¼ tsp cardamom powder and cinnamon powder
½ cup milk
2 slices of bread
1 egg
Oil to shallow fry

Mix the ingredients for the meatballs and shape them into round balls. The size can vary accordingly. I prefer ping pong sized balls. Heat a heavy bottomed pan with mustard oil in it. You can use any other oil but the mustard oil gives it a really good depth of flavour. Once heated, shallow fry the meatballs on a medium – high flame until it yields a nice golden brown colour to it. At this stage we are just browning the koftas and not cooking them.  Do not throw away the oil that is left in the pan since it has all the chicken flavour in it.

For the Curry:
200gms Yogurt
½ cup single cream
100ml Tomato puree (tinned/readymade) or 8 tomatoes pureed homemade
2 cups Chicken stock (can use cube stock)
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala (readymade) or ½ tsp homemade 
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
2 Cups Sliced onions
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
3 tbsp Ghee or clarified butter
Whole spice – 2 cloves, 2 cardamoms, a little Mace, 1 inch stick cinnamon, 1 tsp whole cumin
1tbsp cashew paste (optional)

In the same heavy bottomed pan, heat the ghee and chuck the whole spices in it.  As soon as the cumin starts popping, fry the onions on a low heat until it becomes soft and translucent. Do not be impatient with the onions as it is the base of this curry. We need the onions to have a golden colour on it before we add the tomatoes and ginger garlic. Once we have achieved that luscious colour, add the tomato puree and put in all the powdered spices and the dried fenugreek leaves. Add the cashew paste. Let it stay on a low flame. We will not add anything further until we see oil separating in the pan. This needs to be continuously stirred.

Once the oil has separated, add chicken stock and the yogurt. Keep stirring as we do not want the mixture to curdle.  Cover and let it simmer on a low heat.

Chuck the koftas into the curry and let it seethe for at least  20 minutes. At this stage the curry seems to come together, add the cream and let it bubble away for another 5 minutes. Adjust the consistency accordingly. I do not prefer curries that are extremely thick so I used 2 cups of stock. However, if you like the gravy to be thick you can use about 1 cup of stock instead of two.

Serve it hot with some beautiful Steamed basmati rice.

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