Although I had posted this Indian chicken recipe on my menu plan a few times before, I never actually got around to making it as it turned out to be something more time-consuming than I had anticipated. I finally had a quiet, rainy afternoon this week which afforded me ample time to whip up this Chicken in Light Sauce dish from none other than the best Indian food cookbook out there. We are definitely a family who likes spicy food, but I took it easy on the spice this time and didn't add the optional hot red peppers. It was absolutely delicious, although I was urged by my husband to add a little extra *heat* next time I make it. I have to say, it really tasted like authentic Indian food.
Chicken in Light Sauce - from An Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey
3 T tomato sauce
3 T plain yogurt
4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A piece of fresh ginger, 1-inch cube, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 chicken legs
1 whole chicken breast
6 T vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
5 whole cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
2 hot dried red peppers (optional)
1 t ground turmeric
1 t salt
1/8 t freshly ground pepper
1 T lemon juice
In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, yogurt, and 1 cup of water. Mix well and set aside.
Put chopped garlic and ginger into the container of an electric blender, along with 2 T of water. Blend until you have a smooth paste. Cut chicken into serving portions: divide legs into drumstick and thigh, and quarter the breast. Remove skin from pieces of chicken and pat dry.
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed 10-12 inch casserole-type pot over medium-high heat. Put in chicken pieces, a few at a time, and brown on all sides. When each batch turns a golden brown, remove with slotted spoon and do the next batch. When all chicken pieces have been done, put the cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves and red pepper into the same oil. Stir once. The spices will darken immediately. Now pour in the paste from the blender and add the turmeric. Stir and fry about one minute.
Next, put in the browned chicken pieces, the mixture of tomato sauce, yogurt and water, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, turning chicken pieces a few at a time.
Uncover pot, raise flame to medium, and cook 5-7 minutes or until sauce is reduced to half, turning chicken pieces over gently.
Serve with rice.