Saturday, 5 July 2014

Quick Chicken Curry with Saffron

This recipe is perfect for busy weekdays dinner or lunch. It’s quick and very healthy. It can be eaten with rice, tortillas, pitas, Naan, Couscous, Quinoa etc. One thing I like about this dish is that it is incredibly easy to make. There is practically no effort required for this dish and giving less time doesn't mean you are compromising with the taste.

I must admit I came up with this recipe on an urge to cook something different with the chicken yet I thought it would become the same old boring chicken curry that I cooked often. While pureeing the cooked onion and cashews, I saw the tiny box of the gorgeous bright red strands of saffron and I just decided to add a pinch to it. Turns out, my spice intuition was right. The curry was incredibly aromatic with the fragrance wafting through the kitchen making me jump with delight. It did not taste like a quick fix chicken.

Few things before the recipe. I did not marinade the chicken well in advance as I was on a time crunch. However, if you wish to you can do this step and keep the chicken in the fridge to marinade. You can find these spices across most supermarkets in countries like US and Australia. These spices store well. All you have to do is keep it in some dark cool corner of your kitchen in air tight jars. They will last forever.  

For the marinade:
1 cup chicken (with bones)
1 tsp Tumeric powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp Paprika
¼ tsp Cinnamon powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
¼ cup Lemon juice

Firstly, I used chicken with bones as it makes the curry taste better. However, you can substitute with boneless chicken thigh pieces and later on use good quality chicken stock to make the sauce. Marinade the chicken in all these spices and the lemon juice and set aside.

For the Curry:
4 medium onions diced
3 - 4 tbsp mild olive oil
10-12 raw cashews
5 cloves of garlic
½ inch piece of ginger
2-3 green chilies or Serrano peppers
A pinch of Saffron

Heat a pan, add a little oil and chuck in the onions, chilies, Cashews, garlic and ginger. Give it a stir until the onions turn golden brown. Make a puree out of this. Just before pureeing it, add a pinch of saffron to the mixture. It will be quite thick and we will be diluting it with water/stock once we fry the chicken.

Heat the pan with remaining amount of oil and chuck in the marinated chicken on a high flame. The idea here is to just give the chicken a beautiful charred color on the outside. At this stage the protein will still be under-cooked. Add the puree and stir to combine.

I added water since I used Chicken with bones but if you are using boneless chicken I insist that you use stock. Adjust the stock accordingly. Let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is completely done. Serve hot.

You can eat this with steamed rice. I like it better with rotis but you can replace it with tortillas. Just warm them up before serving it. Happy cooking!! :)

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