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North Indian main course rice dish (Mughlai Style). Serve it with plain yoghurt or yoghurt and chopped cucumber (raita). Many of the ingredients are inexpensive and can be found in an Indian grocery store.
- 1 1⁄2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1⁄2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
- 4 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste, divided (may substitute 2 tablespoons each ginger and garlic finely chopped)
- 3 tablespoons ghee or 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
- 1 1⁄2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 green cardamoms, brused (pound once or twice in a mortar and pestle)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1⁄4 cup golden raisin
- 3 tablespoons raw cashews, whole
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder (1/2 tsp reserved)
- 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne powder (to taste)
- 1 (14 ounce) can canned stewed tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
- 1 jalapeno pepper (with or without seeds, chopped coarsely then pureed with the tomatoes in a food processor)
- 3 cups basmati rice, soaked
- 4 1⁄2 cups water or 4 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
- 3 teaspoons salt (to taste)
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped (cilantro)
- Trim the fat from the chicken and cut into 1 inch pieces. Boneless, skinless breasts also work very well. In a shallow bowl or large zip lock bag combine the chicken, yoghurt, half the ginger-garlic paste and 1 teaspoon salt. Marinate for several hours at least. (Note: I do this step first thing in the morning to allow it to marinate all day).
- Rinse and soak the rice for an hour. Drain and keep aside.
- Heat the ghee or olive oil in an electric skillet or large heavy bottomed frying pan that has a tight fitting lid. When the oil is hot but not quite smoking add the cumin seeds and allow to sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes then lower the heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes more, stirring every couple of minutes until they are golden brown. Don't hurry or skip this step!
- When the onions are golden brown add the remaining ginger & garlic and saute for 3 minutes or so. Add the cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom, raisins & cashews and cook for a minute.
- Add the cayenne powder & garam masala and stir for a few seconds. Add the pureed tomato & jalapeno and saute on high heat while stirring continuously for about 5 minutes until nearly all the liquid has evaporated and you are left with a thick paste (called masala).
- Add the chicken and marinade and fry on high heat for a few minutes. Lower the heat and saute about 10 minutes or until the chicken is about half cooked. (Note: if using chicken breasts only cook a few minutes).
- Add the rice and stir gently to coat well. Add the lemon juice, water and salt and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook at 350F in an electric skillet for 10 minutes until the rice is cooked and nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Stir gently once halfway through. If using the stove, cook in a shallow frying pan with a tight fitting lid on med-low heat. May add one or two tablespoons additional water if needed at the end.
- Reduce heat to warm and allow to finish cooking about 5 more minutes. Fluff gently.
- Garnish by sprinkling 1/2 tsp of garam masala and the chopped coriander (Cilantro) leaves.
- Serve with yoghurt or yoghurt raita.