Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chicken in Spicy Red Sauce (lal shorve vala murgh)

     It's always nice to find a flavor-packed recipe that comes together quick enough to use as a mid-week meal. This particular recipe was a fine way to use up a big pack of discounted chicken thighs that was taking up room in the freezer. You are welcome to use any cut of chicken you'd like. While the recipe comes together in less than an hour, it does qualify as a PITA, since it requires constant vigilance until you get to the simmering stage. It's worth it. We served it up with a side of Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds. This makes for a satisfying meal that's mercifully low on calories. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.

Chicken in a Spicy Red Sauce
lal shorve vala murgh
via Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking

  • 2-1/4 pounds chicken pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 large cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped (we grated ours, since chopping ginger is more trouble than it's worth)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Generous pinch asafetida optional (this is a powder that's available at Indian grocers. Alternately, you can get it at The Spice House online.)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 inch stick cinnamon
  • 6 cardamom pods (didn't have the pods on hand. I did have cardamom seeds. I used about a dozen)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 dried, hot red chiles (I used my own dried cayenne)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (don't be a wuss, use 1/4)
  • 1-1/2 cup canned, chopped tomatoes (I used canned whole tomatoes. They'll break up during the cooking)
  • 12 ounces potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks (I'm pretty sure we cut ours into 1/2 inch chunks because I don't read directions particularly well)
  1. Sprinkle the chicken pieces lightly with salt and black pepper and set aside.
  2. Put the garlic and ginger into a blender, along with 3 tablespoons water and blend into a paste.
  3. Put the oil in a wide, nonstick pan and set over medium high heat (I used my enameled Dutch oven. I figured there's be a lot going on here and I didn't want everything spilling over the sides of my pan. The Wife will abide a small mess, but nothing extravagant). When the oil is hot, put in the asafetida if using. A few seconds later, put in the cumin seeds. Wait 10 seconds and put in the cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and chiles. Stir for a few seconds until the large spices begin to turn darker. Add the garlic and ginger paste. Stir and fry it for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, turmeric and cayenne. Stir and fry for another minute (nothing like dozens of tiny time constraints to make you want to order a pizza). Add the chopped tomatoes, potatoes, 1-1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are tender (I'd be more concerned with the chicken being done. An undercooked potato won't kill you). 
Good times!

1 comment:

  1. The spices in this dish sound fantastic! Thanks for sharing at Simple Supper Tuesday, Frank.