Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Resisting the lure of the Curry House: Chicken Lahori
Friday night is curry night. And Friday night is THE night of the week that I am utterly banjaxed and grateful that the day after is Saturday and I can choose to do absolutely zilch (yeh right, I start the washing and clear all the crap I have been unable to shift all week because I have been a) taking an interest in my children b) generally distracted and c) marking something or other) and for some reason Friday night feels like a take away night. It's like a reward for getting to the end of another week without telling someone to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. This week, I evidently wasn't knackered enough to tell Phill to find the menu for the Indian takeaway; I volunteered to cook one. I had the ingredients, I could have wine whilst I was doing it, Finn's football on the Saturday was a later kick off.... why shouldn't I? And I am glad I did because this recipe is, frankly, glorious. Punchy spice with a languid kick of chilli right at the finish, it was made for the bottle of Riesling that I had opened and half consumed by the time I actually got round to serving this.
A Google search consisting of 'Atul Kochhar, curry and chicken' threw up the frankly amazing Chicken Lahori. It was very easy to make, low maintenance and after half an hour or so cooking away whilst I was rounding up washing and threatening my kids with violence if they didn't get their uniforms off THIS MINUTE, this was ready to be served. It filled the kitchen with the heady smells that I normally associate with Phill bringing in a Friday takeaway. Thank God it's Friday and for once, I cooked it all myself...
Chicken Lahori adapted from the recipe by Atul Kochhar in the Daily Telegraph
Serves 4 in the original recipe: I approximately halved the ingredients below to create a hearty meal for two.
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 black cardamom pods
4 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
3 onions, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste*
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 green chillies, chopped
800g chicken thighs, skinless and
boneless cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt (You can add more if you find this too spicy for your palate)
400ml chicken stock or water (I used chicken stock)
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
*Ginger-garlic paste: Blend equal quantities of peeled garlic and fresh ginger with 10 per cent of their total weight in water, using a blender or mini food processor. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. If you want to keep this for longer than a few days, add 5 per cent vegetable oil and 2 per cent lemon juice when you blend. Or you can freeze this in ice-cube trays.
Heat the oil in a wok and sauté the whole spices with the bay leaves until they crackle. Add the onions and sauté until lightly browned. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute, stirring well, then add the ground spices (except the garam masala) and the green chillies and tomatoes. Cook for 5–8 minutes or until the tomatoes soften.
Add the chicken pieces with the yogurt, stock and salt to taste, and mix in well. Simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked. If the sauce is too thick, add more stock. I found that after the recommended cooking time the sauce was still a bit loose for my taste, so I increased the temperature and reduced the sauce further.
Stir in the chopped coriander leaves and garam masala, then serve.