Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Balti Chicken - a Brit take-away favorite, now a part of my kitchen too. Another pot boiler from the curry nation.

An eager beaver of a cook, I am. Every week, a new dish from some part of the world. That's how it is with me. Things haven't changed ever since I learnt cooking.

Here is the recipe for you: But this is not chicken. Its made of paneer. A vegetarian version of its meaty cousin.

I didn't click a picture to share with you. Hence a borrowed one, just to give you an idea of how it will look.


Ahoy, let's get cooking!

Don't be daunted by the long list of ingredients.
Just have faith, some patience and we will make it to the end. So, there.

2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon turmeric
A good slug of oil (use groundnut or sunflower oil)
2 onions (roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon crushed garlic or 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger (finely grated)
400g chopped tomatoes
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 lemon
1 cup frozen baby peas (or fresh if you have them)
Fresh coriander (to serve)

Paneer : 300gms

You may want to grind all the spices to powder and then proceed. If you are the slightly lazy kind, then just use store-bought powdered spices.

1. Measure all the spices except the cardamom into a bowl. Meanwhile, bring a large frying pan or wok to a medium to high heat. Add the spices to the dry pan and stir them constantly to ensure they don’t burn. After about a minute or so you’ll begin to smell the aromas and they will be darkening in colour. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside. There will likely be some leftover spice in the pan. That’s ok – just leave it there.

2. Add the oil and onion to the pan and cook until the onion is translucent. Once it’s cooked, add the garlic and ginger, stirring constantly. Garlic burns easily so make sure this doesn’t happen. 

3. After about a minute, stir the spice mixture back in as well as the tomatoes, the cup of water, bay leaves, cardamom powder, the lemon zest, the juice of half the lemon, (putting the other half of the lemon aside) and salt. Stir the mixture well and bring to the boil.

4. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes. You want almost all of the liquid to reduce off so that the curry is nice and thick.

5. Once the liquid has reduced, take the pan off the heat, let cool; remove the bay leaves and blend the mixture until smooth.

6. Once smooth, put the sauce back in the pan, cover it and put it back on the stove on a low heat for ten minutes.  At this point, taste the curry. If it lacks flavour, add extra salt. If it’s too salty, add a chopped clean potato for the last ten minutes, if it needs more zing, add the remaining juice from the lemon. Add in the frozen peas. Add in pre-seared paneer.

7. It’s serving time! Spoon the curry into bowls, top with fresh coriander and enjoy with rice or roti!
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