Just when I think there couldn’t be another curry to cook, as I have cooked hundreds of them, along comes this deliciously authentic, Punjabi Chicken Curry that I found online. It is an SBS recipe and I have probably changed its authenticity somewhat, as I just love to mix things up a bit. I really have no idea if they would serve it with cumin spiced rice, a cooling raita, slices of cucumber or roti bread. I do know, that I really don’t care as it tasted fantastic and that is all that matters in my book. Whatev’s!
This Punjabi Chicken Curry was particularly spicy (which I love), so if you like it less spicy just leave out either the chilli powder or whole chillies (or both). While this may look like a long list of ingredients, if you have cooked my curries before you should have most of the spices in your pantry so try not to be put off. The Sides are also optional as you could just use plain rice and yoghurt but I will say, for minimal extra effort, you will get maximum flavour and results and adulation from your fellow diners.
Prep time: 20 Minutes Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours $$ Medium Budget
1 tbs of ghee
8 Chicken thigh cutlets, skin on and bone in (best for flavour)
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
5cm piece of ginger, finely minced (use a mini food processor or chopper for the garlic and ginger to save time just add a tbs of water)
1 large brown onion, peeled, halved and sliced top to bottom
1-2 green chillies, pierced with the tip of your knife (optional)
2 tbs of ground coriander
1 tbs of ground cumin
1 tsp of ground turmeric
1/2-1 tsp of chilli powder
1 cinnamon stick
3 brown cardamom pods*
4 green cardamom pods
3 fresh bay leaves
A big pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 a cup of chicken stock
2 tsp of garam masala
1/2 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
1 lebanese cucumber, finely sliced (I use a mandolin)
Coriander sprigs for garnish
Roti bread or Poppadoms to serve
For the Raita:
1 lebanese cucumber, finely grated
1 cup of greek yoghurt
1 tbs of finely chopped coriander
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Sea salt and pepper
For the Cumin Rice:
1/2 tbs of ghee
1/2 a small brown onion
1 tbs of cumin seeds
1 cup of basmati rice
11/2 cups of chicken stock
Sea salt and pepper
Heat a large heavy based pot (with a lid) and add the ghee. Once melted add the cardamom (black & green), cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaves. Fry for a minute, until aromatic and then add the onion and cook until golden. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir continuously for approximately 1 minute before adding the chopped tomatoes, ground spices (except the garam masala) and green chillies along with the chicken stock. Stir to combine the pop a lid on and allow the tomatoes to break down, simmering for 5 minutes.
Once the tomatoes have broken down a little, add the chicken thighs and garam masala and spoon the sauce over them and then top the pot up with about 11/2 cups of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring the pot up to a simmer, pop a a lid on and cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if needed.
After 45 minutes, remove the lid and give the curry a nice gentle stir. Allow the curry to simmer with the lid off for a good 15-20 minutes or until the sauce is nice and thick. Stir through the chopped coriander just before serving
While the chicken is cooking make the raita. Use a few good layers of paper towel of a new chux super wipe to squeeze all of the water out of the grated cucumber. Place it in a bowl with the yoghurt, cumin, coriander and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Place in a serving bowl, ready for the table.
To cook the rice, melt the ghee in a large heavy based saucepan. Add the onion and lightly fry until translucent before adding the cumin seeds and rice. Stir for a minute or so to toast the rice and then pour in the stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring the rice to the boil and once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer, place a lid on and allow to cook for 12 minutes. At the 12 minute mark, turn the heat off and allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes, with the lid on. Once rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
To serve the Punjabi Chicken Curry, divide the rice between four serving bowls and top with one or two thigh cutlets. Spoon over the curry sauce and top with a good dollop of raita, fresh cucumber slices and garnish with fresh coriander sprigs. Serve with a side of warmed roti bread or poppadoms.
*Black cardamom pods can be found at Indian grocers or online at https://www.herbies.com.au/shop/herbs-and-spices/spices/cardamom-pods-brown-indian-20g/