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Jul 7, 2009 10:10 AM

Looking for Killer Spicy Indian Recipe

I'm hoping someone can help me out.

I'm looking for an absolutely killer recipe for any type of Indian food, main entree, preferably using chicken, and preferably spicy. I've made many a dish before and have never been dissapointed, but I've yet to find that perfect dish. Vindaloo, Korma, Tikka Masala, it doesn't matter. I just need something out of this world.


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  1. Look up recipes for butter chicken (aka murg makhani or makhni,) or chicken handi.
    Butter chicken usually has cream and ghee or regular butter in it, so, it's gonna be nice and fatty. You never have to follow any recipe to the tee when it comes to spice level if you are referring to heat as "spicy." Using a combination of chilies, fresh and dried will not only add heat, but also layer the heat to create differnt mouthfeels and flavors. My usual heat combo when I'm creating Indian food with a decent amount of heat is fresh serrano, fresh jalapeno, dried aleppo, and dried dundicuts.

    For good n greezy Indian style chicken with curry (which is a word for "sauce") that makes you wanna lick your plate, I usually turn to Butter Chicken using thighs.

    If you dig stew type things, a nihari might float your boat.

    1. Makhani murghi is not usually a spicy dish and with so much dairy and fat to cut through the burn, does not punish the tastebuds terribly, as is also the case with korma. I've seen chicken vindaloo before and though I've not strayed from the traditional pork (or lamb in Muslim areas), I imagine this fiery curry would be your best option. Nihari sounds interesting but I having a hard timing imagining it without beef.

      If you're just looking for heat, go for vindaloo, karhai or phaal. If you want something that you can bring out again and again as a stellar main for company, try making a chicken biryani with a scotch bonnet raita.

      9 Replies
      1. re: JungMann

        Thanks for your replies! I've actually made all of these dishes before and been quite pleased with the results. What I'm looking for is a specific recipe. I've used recipes I've found online, in books, and in magazines, and they've all been good, but nothing truly stellar, and that's what I'm looking for.

        Do you have a specific recipe that you use that you love?

        Thank you!

        1. re: dagwood

          Here's my favorite vindaloo recipe:

          Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking
          Servings 4
          1.5 tbsps grainy mustard
          1.5 tsp cumin
          3/4 tsps ground turmeric
          4 tsps cayenne or more
          2 tsps salt
          2 tsps red wine vinegar
          4 tbsp vegetable oil
          1 sm onion -- cut into half rings
          8 cloves garlic -- crushed or grated
          1 1/4 lbs boned shoulder of pork or lamb -- cut into 1" cubes
          2/3 cup canned coconut milk -- well stirred

          Combine mustard, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt and vinegar in cup. Mix well. Put oil in large nonstick frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, put in onion. Stir-fry until it is medium brown. Put in the garlic. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Put in spice paste. Stir-fry for a minute. Put in meat. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Add coconut milk and 2/3 cups water if you are going to cook in pressure cooker or 1 cup if conventionally cook. Cover and either bring up to pressure or bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer for 20 minutes in pressure cooker or 60-70 in conventional pan.

          My notes:
          I've made this with chicken, goat, lamb and pork shoulder. All worked well, my favorite so far has been the pork.

          I used 4 tsp cayenne pepper and it was pretty spicy. I'd suggest 4-5 for spicy, 1-3 for just a little heat. Korean ground chili peppers make a good substitute but is not as hot so you might need a bit more.

          I cook it covered, then uncovered for about 10 minutes after it's done to reduce the sauce a bit and thicken it.

          This recipe calls for an hour of cooking or so, but that's for beef/pork/lamb. With chicken, I'd go 30 minutes and just use thigh meat. Also, cut the water down a bit, maybe 1/2 to 2/3s a cup since you don't want to simmer it too long to reduce the sauce.

          I've made this 4 times in the last week and a half if you can believe that, it was great every time!

          1. re: Botch

            Thank you very much! I appreciate it.

            1. re: dagwood

              I just want to second Botch on Madhur's recipes. You may want to consider picking up that cookbook. I have challenged myself to try something new each time, because I keep thinking that the last recipe I made was definitely my favorite and I just want to make it again and again! Her "toothpick shrimp" (made whole, without the toothpicks) is a wonderful pre-chicken dish.

          2. re: dagwood

            I think stellar would come from YOU. You are the only one who knows what stellar tastes like to you. You have to take a recipe and adjust it to your tastes to make it stellar for you. Most of the time, I'll take a Shan masala, and doctor it up with fresh ingredients to make something stellar.

            JungMann - good suggestion on the karhai, or as I always see it spelled: "kerahi."
            I don't think I've ever had phaal - gotta look that one up (and then make some.)

            1. re: gordeaux

              I believe it's actually karahi - pronounced karhai more often then not - after the name of the vessel the dish is cooked in.

            2. re: dagwood

              Given how easy it is for me to get goat and lamb, I rarely make chicken curry, so I am likely not as valuable a resource for you as luckyfatima or Rasam would be if they were to stop by this thread to offer their advice and recipes.

              For my part, I might suggest starting with a Shan masala and adjusting it according to your taste. As for biryani, this recipe looks terrific ( though I prefer to have larger chunks of tomato with chicken biryani.

              1. re: JungMann

                Thanks! I'm actually a huge fan of biryani but my husband is not, and this time around I'm looking for a recipe to make for him. But I'll definitely save that one for another time.
                Thank you!!

                1. re: dagwood

                  whichever way you go on this, I recommend that you throw some green chiles (thai, serrano, long green from the indian or chinese market) in with your final garnish. It will add a good, fresh and traditionally indian chile flavor.

          3. Chicken Tikka Masala

            1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
            2 garlic cloves, minced
            1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
            1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
            1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
            1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
            1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
            1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
            Salt and freshly ground pepper
            CHICKEN 2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
            Salt and freshly ground pepper
            2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
            1/4 cup blanched whole almonds
            1 large onion, finely chopped
            2 garlic cloves, minced
            1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
            1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
            1 1/2 teaspoons pure chile powder
            1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
            One 35-ounce can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
            Pinch of sugar
            1 cup heavy cream

            MAKE THE MASALA MARINADE: In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.
            Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade; scrape off as much of the marinade as possible. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread the pieces on a baking sheet. Broil the chicken, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut it into 2-inch pieces. (I usually cook the chicken on a charcoal grill and it adds another level of flavor to the dish.
            Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.
            In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken; simmer gently for 10-30 minutes.