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October 09 COTM: "Indian" Chicken

Welcome to the October 2009 Chow Cookbook of the Month featuring:

Classic Indian Cooking, by Julie Sahni
&
Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking

Please post your full-length reviews of *Poultry and Egg* recipes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book or author and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

This thread will encompass the following chapters-

Jaffrey, "Chicken"
Sahni, poultry and egg recipes from "Main Dishes"

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Sahni's Murgh Masala (Chicken in Onion and Tomato Gravy) from the generously provided website on the main post (sorry, I forget by whom) at: http://maninas.wordpress.com/2008/02/...

    I made some of the changes that the person with the website had made; used oil instead of ghee, added one chopped chili, and used 3 green cardamom pods because that is what I had. My husband had told me a day or two before that he was going to be late home for dinner (which, with a toddler, means after 6:30) so I wanted something Lulu and I could start on that would still be good when he got home. The recipe mentions that this only gets better with time on the stove - perfection! I served with some store bought naan (unimpressive), a bit of plain yogurt and a little cilantro chutney. It needed neither of these toppings. This is very tasty and homey. Not killer, but good and the kind of thing that satisfies on a coolish autumn night.

     
    1 Reply
    1. re: LulusMom

      I made murgh masala (Sahni p. 208) for the first time earlier this week (I know, it wasn't October yet, but the book was just sitting there, and there were a dozen bone-in chicken thighs in the fridge.) Six thighs seemed like a good amount of meat for our family of four, so I halved the recipe but otherwise followed it pretty closely, using the black cardamom and canned tomatoes listed as options (because they're what I had on hand) and chicken stock instead of water to thin the sauce (because I'm morally opposed to watering down flavors).

      The dish is very tasty. It is, however, fairly time-consuming. There's close to an hour of active cooking time; one of the first steps is to caramelize a bunch of onions that form the base of the sauce, which requires pretty close attention for thirty minutes or so. Add that to the rest of the cooking - including a 45-minute simmer - and the one-hour-plus rest when it's done, and you can count on at least three hours from start to finish. Not something you start in the evening if you're planning to eat it that night. I work at home and used my lunch hour to cook, then heated the chicken back up immediately before serving. That worked well.

      Yesterday I was making cheese for palak paneer and wondering how to cook the other half of the chicken, and got two independent requests for a repeat of the murgh masala. That's high praise coming from my family. The two dishes are really too similar to be served together - the onion and tomato sauce in the murgh makhani is too similar to the tomato and onion sauce in the palak paneer. But each of them was delicious.

      Each time I served the chicken with masoor dal, cucumber raita, and plain basmati rice. This is definitely a dish that's going to make it into the regular rotation.

    2. Sahni's Butter Chicken (found in The Best American Recipes 2002-2003).

      When I saw the post with the links to some of Sanhi's recipes it set bells ringing in my head. The butter chicken recipe looked suspiciously familiar, and I realized that it is the butter chicken I've made numerous times since I bought the above mentioned book (I'm guessing not many hounds are fans of this series, but I've got them all and have found some wonderful stuff in them). I always skipped getting a tandoori chicken and just used cut up chicken thighs, but aside from that made as written. My husband's first wife is Indian, and I'm always a little nervous about cooking Indian food for him and having the food be compared to hers (and more especially, her mother's). But he raved about this enough that it went into rotation for a while. Sorry that I don't have the link here, but it is on the discussion post about the two books.

      5 Replies
      1. re: LulusMom

        Is this the link you're referring to, for Velvet Buttered Chicken?
        http://www.spicelines.com/2007/02/rec...

        1. re: yamalam

          Not sure, since I have it in a book, and it has been a while since I made it. I'm guessing it is the one.

        2. re: LulusMom

          I love the BAR series too. You inspired me to go back to my 2002-03 copy and look up this recipe. Since I don't own Sahni's cookbook, I've been focusing on Jaffrey, but I'm going to make this recipe this week. Thanks.

          1. re: LulusMom

            I looked up the velvet butter chicken recipe in Sahni's cookbook, and am confused as to whether you are supposed to start with cooked or merely marinated chicken. I wonder what it says in BAR? (I have some of that series, and love it, BTW)

            The butter chicken recipe calls for chicken from the previous tandoori chicken or chickens "cooked by any recipe."-- but then she has you brown the chicken and cook in sauce.

            1. re: NYchowcook

              You're supposed to start with (I believe) a cooked tandoori chicken. I just used raw chicken parts, and I don't think it suffered at all. And the BAR notes on it suggested using just roasted chicken. Glad to find another fan of that series.

          2. Chicken in a Red Sweet Pepper Sauce, Pg 101
            Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

            This is my second cooking foray into Indian food my first being a respectable, I thought, eggplant curry made some months ago from some now forgotten web site. This chicken dish was so easy to make yet produced such delicious flavors I can't wait to make my next Indian meal.

            The first thing to do is make the sauce:
            Into a food processor (I used the big one) goes a large chopped onion, an inch of peeled chopped ginger, 3 peeled garlic cloves, 3/4 lb. trimmed/seeded/chopped red sweet peppers (I used bells), 1T ground cumin, 2t ground coriander, 1/3-1/2t cayenne (I used 1t), 1/2 t ground tumeric, 2 t salt (I used 1t Kosher). Also, 2 1/2T blanched/slivered almonds are called for but I omitted them due to dietary constaints. All of this is whirred till it forms a paste.

            Into a large non-stick pan goes 7 T vegetable oil (I used corn) and when hot all the paste is poured in and stir fried for about 12 minutes. The oil forms tiny bubbles around the edge. Next, 2 1/4 lb. chicken pieces (I used 6 chicken thighs), 1 cup water, 2 T fresh lemon juice and 1/2t black pepper are added. The pan is covered and the chicken is cooked till tender... about 25 minutes, stirring a few times. It took about 35 minutes for the chicken to cook to our satisfaction.

            It's amazing how the spices in the paste melded together with the onion and peppers to create a full, rich sauce with a counterpoint of lingering subtle heat from the cayenne. Needless to say we loved it.

            I served it with steamed Basmati rice and sauteed bok choy fresh from the farm. Great first
            COTM meal!

            10 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              "1/3-1/2t cayenne (I used 1t)"

              Awesome.

              That sauce sounds great.

              1. re: padkimao

                A pretty good recipe I thought and certainly simple but I wound up throwing in 3 slit green chiles due to blandness. Also, I did not skin my chicken thighs - the dish was improved by putting the cooked thighs under the broiler at the end and browning the flabby skin. Also cooking the sauce a little longer than specified and skimming off the excess fat (again from the skin. Im sure the leftovers will be better - they always are with these recipes.

                Served with the yellow rice, cauliflower with fennel and black murstard seed and a simple raita with cucumber, a bit of onion, a red thai chile, and a asafoetida-mustard seed-cumin seed tarka.

              2. re: Gio

                Chicken in a Red Sweet Pepper Sauce, Pg 101
                Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

                I thought I would love this recipe, but I was underwhelmed. It was tasty enough, just not as much as I expected. But we ate it with some lime pickle and it was fine.

                I should say that I did not use all of the oil that was called for. I also didn't use the cayenne since some of my red peppers were hot cherry peppers, but I added a good squirt of siracha part way through, having tasted it and decided it needed more. I didn't grind whole spices for the coriander and cumin either, which probably would have helped too.

                Also, if I make it again, I'd be tempted to use roasted peppers that have the skins removed. It would have made the sauce so much smoother if it hadn't had those little flecks of pepper skin in it. Normally that sort of thing doesn't bother me, but for some reason it did with this dish.

                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                  I havent had the leftovers yet, but I think this will be better (like a lot of the meat and chicken recipes) on the second day. The seasoning of this dish was very mild even with the higher amount of cayenne suggested(uncharacheristically)

                  - please note that a blender or mixie is infinitely better than a processor in making the pastes for indian recipes -you will not get those skin pieces if you use this tool. Also, I did not think the sauce was reduced/fried enough when the chicken was done. In addition to browning in the oven, I also continued to reduce the extra sauce for a while.

                  It can be important to use the full amount of oil in these recipes to get the proper fried flavor - you can always remove the excess, and I would up skimming off a large amount of chicken fat and oil at the end.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Interesting about the oil - I'm making the recipe that luckyfatima posted on, below, and I just could not bring myself to use 3/4 cup of oil, and so I used about half of it.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Yes I do the same as Jen kalb, I use a lot of oil to properly "bhunofy" the ingredients and then just pour most of it off at the end when it floats to the top of the gravy.

                      1. re: luckyfatima

                        Good to know - I'll try that next time.

                      2. re: MMRuth

                        There is an interesting discussion about the oil issue on pp. 156 - 157 of Sahni.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Yes indeed. Very interesting.

                          Although I'd say many South Asians are very much more health conscious than they were when the book was first published (1980?)...but tradionally, in some types of Indian cooking, the host would look like a big cheapo for using less oil and there should be several centimenters of oil floating a top a meat dish. The oil is tasty and indicates wealth and hospitality. This is very true for Pakistani cooking, too.

                          I think Sahni's suggestion of using a spoon is less efficient though than just tilting the dish and then pouring the oil into a little bowl. You can re-use the oil later, but I only would for another dish with similar ingredients and the same protein (Sahni says use it to fry onions, but I think that could transfer too much smell of meat or other ingredients and what if you don't want that smell in your next dish?). It is wasteful, but usually I just throw the oil away. I have a friend who pours off the oil, then uses a kitchen paper towel by dropping it on top of the gravy, then pulling it off to get out the last drops of oil. The paper towel doesn't pick up too much gravy. I don't mind a little bit of the oil, so I don't go that far, though.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            I agree. The fat discussion is very interesting.

                            Thanks for alerting us to it!

                  2. Ande ki Kari (Whole Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce) Sahni p 233

                    This is halved, hard boiled eggs in a curry. Simple enough, but I managed to mess it up a bit.

                    It's a basic tomato-onion sauce: brown your onions, add ginger and garlic, then spices, then pureed tomato. Cook for about half an hour, let rest for about half an hour, then reheat and add the eggs.

                    The masala is a mix of ground and whole spices. I was out of whole cinnamon so I put in a pinch of ground cinnamon. Too big a pinch. The cinnamon overwhelmed the other flavors. I tamed it a bit by adding more coriander, garam masala, and a dash of cumin. Results weren't bad, but pretty far from what Sahni intended. I liked the combo of eggs and curry though, and will try this one again.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: padkimao

                      My Sahni book hasn't arrived yet, but there's a similar recipe in Jaffrey's which I plan on making tonight. Now I'm dying to know how similar they really are. I love to try different versions of the same recipe.

                      1. re: Gio

                        The two recipes are actually quite different. The Jaffrey recipe includes lots of cream and a tiny amount of tomato puree, while the Sahni recipe has 2 cups of chopped tomato and no cream at all. the amount of oil is also very different. Jaffrey uses only three tablespoons [but with all that cream would you want more?] and Sahni says 10 tablespoons. Oh my! Both call for 8 eggs.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          Ha! Yes, I forgot to mention that the oil was out of control. I will use less next time, for sure. Though, hmm, maybe I'll add a little cream at the end.

                          1. re: smtucker

                            SMT, I was referring to the Spicy Scrambled Eggs....

                        2. re: padkimao

                          Padkimao, I made the Sahni egg curry last night and I, too, managed to mess it up.

                          I didn't like the consistency of the sauce, so I pureed it. Then it looked like canned tomato soup! I increased the spices and added some cream. What was I thinking -- it was already filled with oil! Glad I made only half-recipe.

                          I served it with Sahni's spinach parathas, Sahni's hot lemon pickle, basmati, and cucumber raita. It tasted okay, but would have been better had I left it alone.

                          Isn't it curious that this recipe is called "WHOLE Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce" -- but uses eggs cut in HALF?

                           
                        3. Spicy Scrambled Eggs, Pg. 107
                          Indian Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey

                          This was delicious! And so quick to make....
                          A chopped onion is sauteed in either butter or oil (I used EVOO) and when soft ginger, chili (I used a jalapeno), chopped cilantro, tumeric, cumin and a chopped tomato are added and cooked for about 4 minutes. After beating 6 eggs add them and stir to scramble as you like. I served this with Cauliflower with Fennel and Mustard Seeds and "Dry" Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic. Perfect for our meatless Friday night dinner.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Gio

                            Here's an interesting question for you all....are the egg dishes, e.g., scrambled, a melding of British cooking with Indian (e.g. Kedgeree-type thing), or something Indians had been doing for years?

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              do you really need a recipe for scrambling eggs? eggs break pretty easily and make a quick cheap protein meal. There are scrambled egg recipes in persian cuisine too to Id imagine that in general they are not derivative of british cuisine.

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                No way, anday ki bhurjee (scrambled eggs broken into very very small particles and seasoned with a spicy gravy folded in) and the Muslims' khagheena (eggs scrambled with chopped flavoring veg like tomato, chiles, cilantro, etc) are authentic South Asian dishes. They had eggs in India before the British. A lot of Indo-Pak people I know have sunny side up eggs and toast for breakfast. That is definately a foreign influence!

                                1. re: luckyfatima

                                  Is khagheena anything like ekuri? My Parsi friend from Mumbai and I grew up eating the same spicy scrambled eggs with cilantro, tomatoes, ginger and seasonings. From her I learned they were a Parsi specialty.

                                  1. re: JungMann

                                    I don't know the dish ekuri. Khageena is basically spicy scrampled eggs as described above, though. The name is Farsi origin (I believe Iranians call the same dish kuku or khageena), so I am guessing it was brought by the Persians.

                                    1. re: luckyfatima

                                      Ekuri turns up on page 83 of "Indian Cooking." It seems to be the Parsi name for the khageena. I'll have to ask my father what he called them back home.

                              2. re: Gio

                                Made this for breakfast (brunch? lunch? what do you call the first meal of the day when it's eaten at noon?) today, and they were pretty good. I think mine needed more hot pepper and maybe more tomato - cooking for one I made 2 eggs rather than 6, and while I did my best to approximate 1/3 of a small tomato, etc, there's only so precise you can get. How many shakes make 1/3 of 1/8 of a teaspoon of turmeric, anyway?

                                1. re: Emmmily

                                  1/3 of an 1/8 is a dash. And yes, I have a dash measuring spoon. Bought a set with Pinch, Smidge and Dash as a joke, and use them all the time!

                              3. Turkey Kebabs, Pg. 104
                                Indian Cooling, Madhur Jaffrey

                                LOVED these! and I'll be making them again and again, I assure you. Lots of ingredients but you simply get them all together, mix, form patties and fry. Easy peasy and delicious.

                                So: 1 lb minced turkey, 12T dry breadcrumbs (made with 3 day old Italian bread), 1/2t salt, 3/4t garam masala (Penzey's, but when it runs out I'll make her recipe), 1/2t cumin seeds, 1/2t coriander seeds, 1/2 cup Finlay chopped cilantro leaves, 2-3 finely chopped fresh hot green chilies (2 jalapeños), 1/2 medium peeled and finely chopped onion, 2t peeled and finely grated fresh ginger, 1/2 medium tomato finely chopped , 1/2t cayenne, oil for fry pan. Mix this all together using only 4T of the breadcrumbs putting the remainder on a plate. Form into patties and dredge in the breadcrumbs. You should be able to make 6 kebabs. Fry 3 minutes on each side and Bob's your uncle. Crunchy, teasingly spicy... just dying to be put into a fresh pita pocket but I served them with steamed Basmati rice, broccoli, tomato relish and cilantro chutney. Did I mention that I loved these kebabs???

                                28 Replies
                                1. re: Gio

                                  These sound incredible, and I had completely overlooked them in the book. Looks like something my husband would go crazy for. He's had a tough month, so I think I'll surprise him with them next week. Thanks for leading me in this direction.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    LLM.... when I was forming the patties I thought no way these are going to hold together. No binder. But, they did once the frying began!

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      good to know Gio. I'm always slightly nervous with frying stuff. So knowing it worked out for you despite being a little nervous will settle my nerves. They really do sound so perfect.

                                  2. re: Gio

                                    Gio, I've looked through my Jaffrey book and cannot find this recipe. I'm thinking your instructions are probably enough ... do you think there is anything else I need to know?

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      That's surprising, LLM. Do have the Indian Cooking book, or one of Jaffrey's others? In any case, I think that given that I listed all the ingredients you can follow your best instinct and make the kebabs from the report. How do you say Bon Appetit in Hindi??

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Yep, I have the first US edition (from the library).

                                        Your instructions are pretty darned clear though, so I'm thinking it won't be a big deal (although it is odd that my book doesn't have this recipe). I'm going to also go with your suggestion of serving with pita, maybe have some raita and chutney handy too.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          OK then... go for it. Bear in mind, tho, that the cilantro chutney is not sweet/sour. It's definitely savory/hot all the way. I say this thinking of your sweet LuLu.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            You are very thoughtful, but trust me, that girl can eat the spiciest stuff on earth. Waiters are always "warning" us about stuff only to stand shocked as she gulps it down. In fact, the spicy cilantro chutney we had last week was such a hit that she asked for it on all her food the next day - some of it fairly inappropriately (but who am I to judge?). Anyway, I'm going for the meal - you made it sound SO good, and husband loves kebab type things.

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              Gio: This is very interesting as the previous COTM, Ottolenghi, contains a wonderful recipe for turkey meatballs that are served with a spicy red pepper sauce. Ottolenghi's meatballs have roasted corn in them, though...otherwise, quite similar.

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                OJ... the more I cook from these COTM books, the more I realize there's nothing new under the sun and each culture has almost the same native dishes...simply variations on a universal theme. Viva la difference....

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  et viva la même chose, aussi bien

                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                        It's not in my book, either. Looks like the later edition got some additions.

                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                          Yes, the later edition is called "revised" and notes it includes new recipes.

                                      3. re: Gio

                                        These sound SO good! Do you think they'd hold together for barbecue grilling? Without the crumb coating, of course.

                                        1. re: Channa

                                          I'm not really sure, Channa, especially without the crumb coating I think the kofta would fall apart. Perhaps if you but them into a grilling basket or on a special grill pan???? We have one for the Weber that's a half circle, non-stick, with holes to allow the heat to come through and handles on each side.

                                        2. re: Gio

                                          Made these turkey kebabs last night and we really liked them.

                                          For the bread crumbs, I used panko and for the ground turkey, I used a combo of dark and white meat. Her instructions state to put the turkey through the grinder 3 times. I asked the Whole Foods butcher about putting the turkey through the grinder again for me. They told me that they grind turkey 3x already and it was practically mush. And, they were so right. When I was assembling the kebabs, the meat felt super mushy, but it held the shape with no problem.

                                          The flavors were delicious. My only quibble is that it took significantly longer to cook then the 6 minutes stated in the book. Each batch took almost 10 minutes total. Maybe it's the addition of the dark meat in it? Regardless, it through my dinner timing off since I had to do two batches.

                                          The cilantro chutney was the perfect condiment for the kebabs.

                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                            GENERAL REQUEST: I'd really like it if every post indicated the book of the recipe it's discussing. If the list gets really long and I'm just reading the new entries, I'd like the info about the turkey kebabs...so call me lazy! I don't need the page no. or anything, just Jaffrey or Sahni.

                                            Thanks.

                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                              The crazy thing about these turkey kebabs is that they show up in Gio's version of Jaffrey, but not in mine.

                                              I've cut and pasted Gio's (very helpful!) instructions onto another doc, and plan to make them tomorrow. Will report.

                                          2. re: Gio

                                            I owe major thanks to Gio for this recipe. No idea why it isn't in my book, but thank goodness Gio reported on it. This was a HUGE hit with all. And I even took her serving suggestions, serving it on warmed pitas with raita (I used the cucumber/mint recipe in the Jaffrey book - pretty much the same as my usual with the addition of mint) and cilantro chutney. We were wow'd and it was relatively easy to make. Did all my chopping and mixing this morning and stuck the mix in the fridge, and then just had to dredge (I used panko) and fry at dinner time when I stuck the pitas in the warm oven. Really, this was great. My husband is going out of town tomorrow morning, and this is his favorite type of meal, and I was really proud and happy to be able to serve it to him. Thank you, thank you, thank you Gio!

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                I'm so glad it turned out well for you, LLM. I always worry that what I like others run away from. BTW: I just re-read my report. Did you use the "Finlay chopped cilantro leaves?"....LOL I never did take those typing lessons. And, I don't know anyone named Finlay.

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Luckily my years as a decoder came in very handy while reading your version of the recipe. No hours spent in the grocery store looking for Finlay cilantro!

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    And here I thought you had a personal chef named Finlay.

                                                2. re: Gio

                                                  One more turkey kebab recipe question. I had to buy 2 lbs of turkey to get the half/half combination recommended by Gio. For the extra, should I cook the balls and then freeze, or freeze and then cook.

                                                  I suspect that the former will be more successful, but would love an opinion from someone who has actually eaten these.

                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                    I think freeze and then cook. But, don't put the breadcrumbs on as the outer cooking before you freeze. Just thaw and dip in the breadcrumbs.

                                                    I suspect that if you cook then freeze, you'll lose the crunchy breadcrumb coating. Well, it will still be there but it will sog up.

                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                      I haven't cooked it, but just on general principles, I would freeze the mixture (raw) as a single lump and form into balls after thawing, on the theory that the less surface area exposed to freezing, the better.

                                                    2. re: smtucker

                                                      Jaffrey Turkey Kabobs, page 104

                                                      These are fabulous! Unfortunately, my menu wasn't perfect and the spiciness of the sides overwhelmed these poor kabobs just a bit, and they were still fabulous! My eating companion ate three, though I am sure that two would have been enough. He just didn't want to stop munching. Sprinkled with some lemon juice and served with the onion relish [page 221.]

                                                      I froze 8 kabobs. They are raw and not breaded. I chose to divide into serving sizes so that I have the flexibility to only thaw what I need.

                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                        Agree with both previous recommendations - freeze (without the breadcrumbs) then cook.

                                                    3. Lemony Chicken with Cilantro, Pg. 95
                                                      Indian Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey

                                                      This chicken was a peasant surprise. With 3 cups of v. finely chopped cilantro and a paste made of 5 cloves of garlic and a knob of ginger, not to mention a chopped fresh green chili, cayenne, cumin, coriander, turmeric along with salt and the lemon juice, I expected it to be extremely spicy. But not so. It turned out to be a dish where all the flavors melded into one lovely and Very satisfying taste sensation. The chicken is cut into pieces, browned then removed from the skillet. The paste and then the spices are added to the pan, sautéed for a bit then the chicken is added back and cooked first on side then on the other for a total cooking time of about 30 minutes the last 15 of which with lemon juice and a little water added and the pan covered. Very nice and will be added to my rotation. It was served with the suggested Spiced Basmati Rice, pg. 194 and Gujerati-style Green Beans, pg. 131

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        I've now made this twice, and both times I've come to the conclusion that the sum of its parts is better than the whole! I'm not sure why. The first time, I didn't brown the chicken well enough--so that was understandable. But both times, my sauce was quite thin, so I boiled it to reduce, but then it seemed the sauce got somewhat bitter (maybe from the lemon juice cooking too long?) This is a dish I want to love because I love the ingredients. Did you follow Jaffrey's recipe precisely? Any tweaks you recommend?

                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                          Gosh, nomadchowwoman, I just saw your response to my chicken report.
                                                          1.) I *did* follow the recipe precisly, not a first for me I might add, ahem, LOL.
                                                          2.) Tweaks? I don't know.

                                                          Here's the thing with my kitchen procedures: I have a mobility issue. Because I'm mostly on forearm crutches or a wheelchair DH has to help when we cook. I hoist myself onto a tall stool at the sink where I prep all the ingredients. DH gathers all the stuff we need then cooks at the stove while I read out the recipe instructions. He's usually very good about following. When it comes to browning and caramelizing, I have a few old tiles with colors that mirror the color we're looking for at different stages of cooking. Seeing what something is supposed to look like is better than a wordy description.

                                                          All I can say about the chicken is that it seemed to be what we were expecting for the dish. I think I measured out about 1/4 cup of water but he probably used less since he was at the stove and watching for just a bit of sauce rather than anything soupy. As I have stated before, I never have had Indian cooking in a restaurant so I have no prior experience with which to judge how a dish is supposed to taste. I can only go by what I know the ingredients taste like.... and hope that it is correct.

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            Gosh Gio - you've never had Indian cooking before? That makes your efforts doubly impressive, imho!

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Thanks for responding. I'm very impressed, too, that, with no frame of reference, you chose this particular dish. I've eaten lots of Indian food in restaurants, but I've never seen a dish like this one, which is one of the reasons I tried this recipe--well, that and the fact that I love both lemon and cilantro!
                                                              I am going to try this again, be careful about browning the chicken, and about not starting with too much liquid. I'm wondering now--what would you say was the consistency of the sauce in the finished product?

                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                Well - I choose the dishes according to what I think TDB (the dear boy) might like to eat for any given dinner. As for that particular chicken dish I don't remember any discernable distinctive sauce. Either it was incorporated into the over all dish, or it was simply an ancillary accompaniment to the chicken. I'm so sorry but I just don't remember... and that in itself worries me because if it were special I definitely would have remembered.

                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                            Lemony Chicken with Cilantro (Hare masale wali murghi)
                                                            4.5 stars (on a 5 star scale) (4 stars originally, 5 stars leftovers)
                                                            Indian Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey, p. 95

                                                            A good dish of very moist chicken. As with other recipes from this cookbook, the leftovers were noticeably better than the original serving. Indeed, regarding the original serving, I complained the dish wasn't cilantro-y enough, partially blaming the state on my not using as much cilantro as the recipe called for. But the leftovers were quite cilantro-y. Even the lemon came out stronger in the leftovers. If the chicken was this good on the first night, I'd have given this recipe 5 stars.

                                                            Some notes on the ingredients:
                                                            * Two big bunches of cilantro were not enough! Each bunch, after chopping, made a bit less than a cup of cilantro. The recipe calls for three cups of cilantro, which I clearly didn't have.
                                                            * I used all the juice from one lemon instead of measuring two tablespoons of lemon juice. (Past experience has taught me the two are roughly equivalent.)
                                                            * I used a mix of chicken thighs (1.5 pounds) and breasts (1.0 pounds).

                                                            Some notes on the preparation:
                                                            * It takes longer to prepare than what one would guess from reading the recipe. In particular, separating the leaves from the stem for that much cilantro a pain.
                                                            * It's hard to thoroughly puree such a small amount of ginger.
                                                            * Although the recipe recommended using six tablespoons of vegetable oil in which to brown the chicken, that seemed excessive to me and so I used less with no difficulty.
                                                            * I didn't add all the spices at once because I didn't have them ready. I added them as I measured them.
                                                            * I accidentally added garlic at the wrong time.

                                                            Pictures: http://indian-cooking-recipe-reviews....

                                                            [I've been cooking my way through this book for quite a while.]

                                                          3. Moghul Braised Chicken (Mughalai Korma) p. 206-208 Sahni's book

                                                            I hesitate to call this dish a qorma because the results are not like a typical home-style qorma. The end results are pretty much like a "khara masala chicken" or chicken cooked with whole (as opposed to ground) garam masala spices. In khara masala chicken, one also uses a lot of chopped golden fried onions, plus yoghurt, plus ground coriander as a thickening agent for the gravy, so really, that is what this dish is.

                                                            The dish was lovely, the only changes I made to the recipe were that I used bone in chicken thigh and leg (I prefer this to breast), I used only 12 whole cloves rather than 24 because I felt 24 would be over powering, and I did not add any cream. The yoghurt was enough for the creamy thick clinging gravy and cream is just too rich for me for home cooking.

                                                            The end result was a delicately spiced dish, I removed the chicken pieces and boiled off some of the stewing liquid to achieve a very thick gravy, then re-added the chicken pieces. We ate it with chappati although naan would probably have gone best with this dish. I served the dish with Butter Smothered Cabbage (p. 298 of the book) as a veg dish, and spinach pullao with cumin raita as a third dish.

                                                            Left overs will be heartily consumed tonight!

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: luckyfatima

                                                              I'm making this tonight - thanks for your report. I'm also going to make the mint relish that she recommends, and the glazed cauliflower

                                                              1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                I made this last night and it tastes even better the next day. My husband and 14 month old loved it. I served it with plain white rice and I also made the fresh mint relish (p.436). The mint really brings it all together.

                                                                1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                  I made this dish last night and we really enjoyed it. I used both white and dark meat, and sliced it as best I could into the medallions she calls for. I used half of the oil called for, but based on posts here, as well as Sahdi's comments in the meat section, will use all the oil next time and remove the excess after cooking. (She notes that you can reuse that oil for browning onions.) I did use 24 cloves, and didn't think that the clove flavour over powered the dish. I also used about half the amount of cream called for. I served this with the mint chutney, which, as another poster wrote, works wonderfully with the dish. Also served Glazed Cauliflower with Ginger (p. 299) and Onion and Roasted Tomato Relish, as well as small servings of brown Basmati.

                                                                  I think I had about 1 lb 3 oz of meat after boning the pieces, but made the full amount of sauce. There are only 2 or 3 pieces of meat left, and I didn't feel as if we ate a huge amount - though I had one serving and my husband had the rest. Definitely a dish I'd make again, though it's not so visually appealing!

                                                                  P.S. Lucky Fatima - for my edification, would you mind explaining more why this isn't really a korma, and what a korma should be like? Thanks! I'm learning so much here.

                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                    Well a in a generic sense it is a qorma since the meat is braised and stewed in the gravy. Sahni says the qorma should be dry and clinging to the meat, and both of the qorma recipes in the book specify that, but for me qorma should have gravy IMHO.

                                                                  2. re: luckyfatima

                                                                    We made this tonight, and it was delicious. I served it with all the wrong stuff... but who cares? The leftovers will be wonderful over a freshly made basmati. I like Lucky's idea of reducing the sauce [after defatting] and will try that when I reheat tomorrow. I also reduced the amount of cream, just adding enough for the mouth feel.

                                                                    [Aside: I am really enjoying the Sahni book.]

                                                                  3. Fragrant Yogurt-Braised Chicken (Dahi Murghi) p. 211-212 Sahni's book

                                                                    Made this last night and served it tonight.

                                                                    Requires brown frying 3 cups of onions, then adding and quick frying garlic and spices (garam masala, coriander, red pepper and ground roasted white poppy seeds). Yogurt and sour cream added, along with a little water, brought to a boil, simmered for 5 minutes and pureed after cooling. While the yogurt sauce is cooling, you lightly saute 3 to 3.5 lbs cut up chicken in usli ghee. Then add the pureed yogurt sauce, a tablespoon of kosher salt, and simmer covered for 45 minutes or so by which time " the gravy should have thickened to a velvety smooth white sauce, and a glaze will be coating the chicken pieces."

                                                                    Sahni says the dish should rest at least 1 hour before serving, or even better, overnight, and recommends serving it with a simple pilaf, or baked bread, along with Smoked Eggplant with Fresh Herbs (p. 305) if having bread, or Cauliflower and Scallions with Black Mustard Seeds (p. 301) if having rice. She also suggests Hyderbad Tomato Relish (p. 441) with it.

                                                                    I'm on the fence about this. It cooked up easily and beautifully, and Sahni's directions for making the usli ghee, plus the accompanying illustrations, made that a cinch too. But overall it was a bit too rich or a bit too much something else for me to really love it...I think the overwhelming "too much something else" might have been the amount of cardamom and cloves in my garam masala blend. And I say that as a cardamom lover...

                                                                    I remember having a similiar reaction when I made her Royal Chicken in Silky White Almond Sauce (Shahi Murgh Badaami, p. 215) years ago. Maybe I just don't like yogurt sauce with chicken, or cardamom combined with yogurt and chicken.

                                                                    It also occurs to me that this is the type of dish best eaten in very small amounts, combined with other, less rich but more spicy, dishes. Rather than as a big bowl of chicken in sauce over brown rice, which is how I ate it tonight during our rushed dinner. User error, in other words.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: clepro

                                                                      I made this dish tonight, and despite realising half-way through that I didn't have one of the ingredients (white poppy seeds) I think it's one of the best Indian dishes I've ever made. We loved it.

                                                                      I agree that it's very rich though, even though I used Greek-style yoghurt and missed out the sour cream. It's still sitting quite heavily on my stomach several hours after eating. I served it with plain brown basmati and her lentils with garlic, or everyday dal, and a very good-quality aubergine pickle from a jar. Luckily I have a long night shift ahead of me, so plenty of time to digest!

                                                                      Following the discussion on another thread, I used the full amount of oil and ghee called for and it was a revelation. The frying of the onions and masala is such an essential technique and you really do need a goodly amount of fat to do that. I poured quite a bit of it off after the dish was finished. I think my mistake in previous Indian cooking has been to cut back on the oil too much and I won't be doing that from now on. I may however cut back on the salt - I used two tsps rather than a tbsp and thought one tsp would have done the job.

                                                                    2. Sahni's Butter Chicken (Best American Recipes)

                                                                      Taking my cue from LulusMom, since I don't own the Sahni book, I looked up this recipe in the 2002-03 BAR, and made it two nights ago, serving it with Jaffrey's spiced basmati rice, her gujerati-style green beans, her raita w/walnut (all reported on in their appropriate threads), store bought naan.

                                                                      The recipe was so easy and the list of ingredients so short that I didn't trust it at first. I cut the proportions in half--and although the original recipe says it serves four, half as much would serve four or five, maybe even six, imo. We had a good bit left over, and DH absolutely loved the dish.

                                                                      I followed the tip to simplify even more by starting with roast chicken, which I had on hand. I then sauteed it (the meat from one chicken, which I had previously boned--it may have been wiser to start w/pieces with bone) in 1 T. butter and 1 tsp. cumin (and that was a mistake because the chicken turned shreddy; next time, I will saute the cumin in the melted butter and proceed with the recipe, adding the chicken after the sauce is made). To that I added 1 cup canned tomato puree, 1/2 c. heavy cream, 2 T. chopped fresh ginger (the recipe calls for julienne, but I prefer that the ginger pieces sort of disappear into the dish), 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, salt and pepper, and I used half a green Thai chili. That's the sauce. You then heat chicken and sauce for 10-15 minutes, and just before serving, stir in another 1 T. butter. I served it w/spiced basmati, but it would be delicious with plain basmati or plain ole white rice.

                                                                      I really couldn't believe how good this simple sauce was. I will make it again, for sure, making the aforementioned changes. It's a quickie, and I also think could be served to folks who dismiss Indian food because it's too spicy. This had just the barest hint of heat and none of the whole spices or exotic flavors to which some people object.

                                                                      Thank you, LLM.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                        So glad it was a hit for you. I remember being surprised at how easy it was the first time around myself (and I'm with you on the ginger thing).

                                                                      2. Sahni's book was the first Indian cookbook I had bought. After reading some positive comments, I decided to dust it off and give it a second try. I also had borrowed Jaffrey's from a cooking night I had with a friend ironically.

                                                                        I decided to give the Velvet butter chicken a try from Sahni's. I have never really good success with tandoori chicken, however my friend had made the "delicious chicken bites" from Jaffrey's. I decided to make these (double as a great appetizer), and use them in my butter chicken. They are really simple to make, just brown in the saucepan after mixing with the spices for a while, and then bake in the oven. Looking over the ingredients, you notice there isn't much, so quality ingredients are key here. I used smoked paprika, grounded some cumin seed, and canned tomatoes. The smoked paprika added huge flavor, as I believe the spices from the chicken bites. This was the best butter chicken I made, and my wife mentioned it's better than any we've had. (We live in one of the arguably best areas for good Indian food). I also did as suggested in the book and let it set for a couple hours. I think these key things made a huge difference. I also think I used too many tomatoes, but I like sauce anyways.

                                                                        Along with this, I made the butter smashed cabbage. I didn't have any ghee on hand, so I used corn oil. I thought it was a bit ironic to call it butter smashed cabbage without the use of any butter. I really liked this, I had been trying to find some decent cabbage recipes that I liked, and see this coming back again.

                                                                        I also made the "potatoes, carrots and peas" from Jaffrey's. It was pretty plain, just reminded me of typical stir-fry'd vegetables. I prefer a bit more flavor.

                                                                        I served with some Roti I had in the freezer. There were several comments about people being unhappy with store-bought or frozen naan. I stay away from any type of naan unless I can grab it from a restaurant. I occasionally pick some up if I'm trying to impress, but if I'm just doing food at home for the family I go with paratha or Roti. I haven't had success making my own naan, just to hard and tasteless. A friend from Nepal had introduced me to paratha, and it was really good and very easy.

                                                                        And of course Basmati...

                                                                        1. Bombay-style Chicken with Red Split Lentils
                                                                          Jaffrey, p. 44

                                                                          This is basically chicken cooked in dal, and it was surprisingly tasty. You cook the lentils (masoor dal) with chopped onion, a sliced green chile, ground cumin (I ground it fresh), turmeric, and fresh ginger. After 45 minutes, add the skinned chicken (I used all thighs) and salt and cook for another 30 minutes. At the end, heat oil (I used olive), fry cumin seed, chopped garlic, and cayenne pepper (I used crushed chile plus some sweet paprika) and add to the dal. Finally stir in a little lemon juice, sugar, and garam masala. I'm not fond of cilantro which she suggests as a garnish, but I can actually see how it would go with this dish.

                                                                          Very easy, and very little hands-on time needed. I liked it more and more as I ate it. I think it's one of those dishes that tastes better after it cools a bit. The dal seemed way too thin when it was hot, but it thickened, of course, as it cooled, another advantage of letting it cool a bit.

                                                                          We ate it with whole wheat roti that I bought (and very nice it was too) and the Gujerati carrot salad (reported on elsewhere). I should mention, though, that it didn't look like the picture at all. The masoor dal turned yellow as it cooked (assisted by the turmeric). I added a big spoonful of sweet paprika to the oil, in hopes of affecting the color, but no dice. The golden color is pretty too, but just not like the picture. I'm suspicious of the food styling.

                                                                          Also, I know I ought to be using a more neutral flavored oil, but honestly, with all these flavors going on, I don't think I could tell the difference.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                            The dish sounds delicious. I know cookbooks say don't use olive oil for Indian, but I don't think it matters.

                                                                            What color were the lentils in MJ's picture?

                                                                            1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                              The dish was portrayed with a definite reddish color, although the whole photo has a reddish tone, which makes me wonder if someone was playing with the lighting or color-shifting the photo. No matter, the actual golden color was quite lovely too. I only mentioned it because they didn't match.

                                                                              Thanks for the affirmation on the olive oil! I have peanut oil that I could have used too, which might be better for these high heat applications, although I think that actually lends more of a flavor than olive oil does.

                                                                          2. Mughlai Chicken with Almonds and Raisins (Shahjahani murghi), Jaffrey, pg. 96

                                                                            Ohh yummy!

                                                                            We blended ginger, garlic, blanched almonds, and some water in a mini-food processor to make a paste. The we browned skinned boneless chicken piece in oil, and set the chicken aside. We used boneless chicken thighs, as we like dark meat. Using the reserved oil from the browning of the chicken, we fried cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cloves for a few seconds, then fried finely chopped onions until they were lightly brown. We added the ginger/garlic/almond paste, and let that fry for a few more minutes along with some ground cumin and cayenne. The we slowly incorporated 7 tablespoons of yogurt, 1 tablespoon at a time. Te chicken pieces and the accumulated chicken liquid are then added to the sauce along with light cream and salt, and the whole mixture is simmered for 20 minutes. Then we added golden raisins,and cooked for another 10 minutes. Finish with garam masala, and sprinkle with toasted blanched almond slivers before serving.

                                                                            We served this with her spiced basmati rice and spinach cooked with onions (reported in other threads). We also served lime pickle and a fabulous homemade gooseberry pickle given to us by a friend. This was delicious!!! The sauce is rich and creamy and delicately spiced. I love the sweetness of the raisins, and the crunchy nutty accent from the almonds. It is a very simple recipe, and the results are very satisfying. We shall definitely be making this recipe again, it is a keeper and makes the purchase of this cookbook completely justified (along with the lamb with turnips recipe).

                                                                            She helpfully mentions at the end that the whole spices are not meant to be eaten. This is very appreciated, as I have often tried to eat whole cardamom pods in various dishes in the past so as not to appear gauche (yup, it is funny, I know....)

                                                                            This dish gets better with time. We had some leftovers today, and I swear it is getting tastier. You could totally make this in advance and heat it up as a party dish. But I do recommend choosing sides that have some colour. The chicken on top of the rice was pretty bland looking, and I was glad we had the spinach as well. I think it would have been a visual disaster to serve it with a potato/cauliflower dish, as an example.

                                                                             
                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: moh

                                                                              I love this recipe too - and it's a nice dinner party dish for guests who may not think themselves enthusiastic about Indian food. I brown the chicken well and let the onions get considerably darker than recommended - the finished product is a nicer color that way.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Great tip! It is a lovely colour, but not so eye-catching I guess. Extra browning would add some nice flavour too.

                                                                                1. re: moh

                                                                                  Yes it does. I don't mind pale food but it can look a bit less appetizing, I suppose.

                                                                            2. Goan-style Chicken w/Roasted Coconut (Shakoothi), Jaffrey p. 100

                                                                              As I was planning my farewell dinner of this COTM tour, I decided I wanted at least one main and one side to be something Jaffrey's book I had not previously cooked. So I decided I'd try this interesting-sounding chicken dish. The rest of the menu: Lamb w/Spinach, Lake Palace Eggplant in the pickling style, Whole Green Lentils w/onion and garlic, Spiced Basmati Rice (all reported on in their appropriate threads); DH went to a nearby Indian restaurant and picked up onion pakoras to have as starters and naan, both of which I know I cannot do as well; for dessert I made Pears Baked in Cardamom-spiked Cream, an easy non-Indian recipe onto which I put my own cardamom spin. Add to the mix two friends who share our passion for Indian, a "bit" of wine, and, well, you can see we had a good party.

                                                                              But back to the chicken: The hardest part of this dish is getting the coconut ready for grating (in the food processor), the shelling and then peeling, but since I can't get fresh grated coconut here, I suffered through. I did that before starting. Otherwise, it's very easy. I followed the recipe pretty closely, except that I subbed dried chili flakes for a whole dried red chili, which I didn't have, and I used slightly less salt than the recipe called for. Also, less water, as I think Jaffrey's recipes always call for too much water.

                                                                              I started by toasting coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, pieces of cinnamon stick, cloves, black peppercorns, a small piece of nutmeg and about 1/2 tsp. dried red chili pepper flakes in a dry cast iron skillet. When cool, I ground these. Then I put the 2 cups of grated coconut into the skillet and dry-roasted it until the coconut had plenty of brown flecks. When roasted, I removed it from the skillet and put it and the ground spice mixture into a bowl.

                                                                              In a large skillet (w/a cover, needed later), I out 2 onions, finely chopped, into hot oil. When they started to brown, I added a paste made of 7 cloves garlic, 1 fresh green serrano chile, a cube of peeled fresh ginger, and 1/4 c. water, stirred it and turned the heat down to medium. Next, I added the skinned chicken pieces (I used 4 drumsticks and 4 thighs--about 2 1/4 lbs.) and 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. I stirred and cooked the chicken for about five minutes, turning the chicken, until the pieces no longer looked pink. I then added 1 c. water and brought everything to a boil, at which point I turned the fire to low, covered the pan tightly, and then simmered for about 25 minutes, turning the chicken pieces every so often, when the chicken was done.

                                                                              OK, first, you must like coconut or you surely won't enjoy this dish. I love coconut as did everyone else so that wasn't the problem. I liked the dish but wanted to know whether the others thought I should make this dish again, so I polled them. As we cook and eat with these folks often, I trusted them to be honest (and know DH will always let me know what he thinks about the food). They all said yes. So I probably will--although I noticed when I heated up the leftovers that liked the chicken cooked in the sauce much better than the sauce itself. I guess I didn't appreciate the sauce's texture, which is chewy, for lack of a better word, with grated coconut albeit it very well-flavored grated coconut. But the chicken itself was really delicious.

                                                                              1. Tandoori-Style Chicken
                                                                                Jaffrey page 90

                                                                                We closed Indian month with a veritable feast of goodness drawn from the Jaffrey book. The menu included Lamb Samosas [with wonton skins], Tandoori-Style Chicken [p90], Cauliflower with Potatoes [p144], "Dry" Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic [p155], Red Split Lentils with Cumin Seeds, and Simple Basmati Rice. Also on the table was a Tamarind Chutney and the Onion Relish [p221.]

                                                                                I forgot the naan but didn't miss it.

                                                                                I used two half bone-in chicken breasts and three small thighs. One breast was cut into 4 pieces and the other into 5. The thighs were small so I left them whole. Skin the chicken and then slit to the bone without clearing the edges of the meat, then rub with salt and fresh lemon juice. Meanwhile, you make a marinade of yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala and fresh hot green chili in the blender. You then strain the marinade through a fine mesh strainer. This step is brilliant! By removing the fiburous bits of the ginger, the final dish doesn't have bits of burnt ginger on the outside of the chicken.

                                                                                Since I was not dying the chicken, I rubbed with some dark paprika before submerging chicken into the marinade. The chicken then hangs out in the marinade for 6-24 hours. I was able to eek out 8 hours.

                                                                                Cooking instructions are heat your oven to its highest temperature and cook the chicken for 20-25 minutes in a large shallow baking pan. I used Sahni's instructions of cooking on a rack in a sheet pan. My oven's highest temperature is 555º and I keep a pizza stone in there to help the oven maintain temperature, and 20 minutes was too long. The chicken was a bit overcooked, but delicious. Next time I will pull it out at least 5 minutes sooner.

                                                                                For my tastes, I would have enjoyed a little more of the fresh chilies and perhaps a bit of sauce. Tonight, I will probably make the butter sauce on page 92 to serve with the leftovers.

                                                                                A really wonderful addition to my home-kitchen repertoire, but not quite as good as a really well-prepared Indian restaurant version.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                  Tandoori-Style Chicken (Tandoori murghi)
                                                                                  3.5 stars (on a 5 star scale) (may be 4 if left to marinate for a long time)
                                                                                  Indian Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey, p. 90-91

                                                                                  Quite different from tandoori chicken I get in restaurants:
                                                                                  * Restaurant chicken tends to be spicy. This was not.
                                                                                  * Restaurant chicken is often dry. This was moist throughout.
                                                                                  * Restaurant chicken often isn't tart. This was tart, likely from the effect of heating yogurt. I'm told tandoori chicken is frequently supposed to be a bit tart, so this taste shouldn't be as surprising as it was to me.

                                                                                  The chicken was decent but not that interesting -- chicken that I'd be fine eating again but probably won't make again, at least given how it turned out the first night. Leftovers were better, possibly due to the longer time they sat, and also less tart. If the quality on the first night were as good as the leftovers, I might make it again.

                                                                                  Some notes on the ingredients:
                                                                                  * I used drumsticks and thighs. Removing skin from the drumsticks is a pain. Next time buy de-skinned chicken!
                                                                                  * I skipped the food coloring.

                                                                                  Some notes on the preparation:
                                                                                  * I marinated the chicken for only six hours, a minimal amount of time.
                                                                                  * Almost all of the paste went through the strainer.
                                                                                  * I baked the chicken at about 550 degrees, the highest temperature my oven would go. When I checked the chicken after twenty minutes, it looked like it had just completed cooking.

                                                                                  Pictures: http://indian-cooking-recipe-reviews....
                                                                                  There are also a few more comments there too.

                                                                                  [I've been cooking my way through this book for quite a while.]

                                                                                2. Chicken with Tomatoes and Garam Masala (Timatar murghi)
                                                                                  4 stars (on a 5 star scale)
                                                                                  Indian Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey, p. 99

                                                                                  A pretty good, quite mild chicken dish. The sauce was fairly liquidy, despite simmering uncovered for twenty minutes at the last stage in the recipe, instead of the suggested five. However, I didn't mind the thinness of the sauce.

                                                                                  Preparing the recipe is quite straightforward, though chopping two onions, six tomatoes, six cloves of garlic, and a cube of ginger takes quite a while. It's great to have people help.

                                                                                  Some notes on the ingredients:
                                                                                  * I used 2.5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken, including 1.7 pounds of breast fillet and 0.8 pounds of thighs. The recipe actually called for three pounds of skinless chicken parts; it wasn't clear whether these should be boneless or not. I figured 2.5 pounds was close enough that it wouldn't matter much either way.
                                                                                  * I accidentally used chili powder instead of cayenne powder. Oops! The recipe called for one eighth to one half of a teaspoon of this spice; I used one-quarter of a teaspoon. These facts may have to do with the mildness I mentioned earlier.
                                                                                  * I used a packaged garam masala mix, not Jaffrey's recipe.

                                                                                  Pictures: http://indian-cooking-recipe-reviews....

                                                                                  [I've been cooking my way through this book for quite a while.]

                                                                                  1. Chicken in a Fried Onion Sauce (Murghi rasedar)
                                                                                    3.5 stars (on a 5 star scale)
                                                                                    Indian Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey, p. 93

                                                                                    A decent recipe. The initial version was surprisingly mild given that four onions went into the preparation. Three stars. The third round of leftovers (and beyond), after the recipe sat for several days, was better, with stronger and more interesting flavors. That'd be four stars.

                                                                                    The main aspect preventing the dish from getting a better rating is the chicken. It was fairly tasteless; no flavor penetrated it.

                                                                                    Although the taste of the sauce wasn't initially assertive, the smell was. The puree smelled strongly of onions and ginger and, to some extent, garlic. The fried onions smelled potently of, well, onions. My apartment smelled of fried onions for several days after cooking. These facts make it even more surprising that the sauce, until it sat for a time, wasn't that strong. (Maybe most of the flavors went into the air?)

                                                                                    Incidentally, the dish felt like it ought to have rice. It actually requires little because the sauce is relatively mild and only slightly more than is required to cover the chicken. Thus, although it requires little rice, it should have some.

                                                                                    Some notes on the ingredients:
                                                                                    * I used 2.1 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets. The recipe called for 2.5 pounds of skinless chicken parts; it's not clear if the recipe wanted bones or not. I figured 2.1 pounds was close enough that it wouldn't matter much either way.
                                                                                    * As the recipe didn't specify which type, I chose to use red onions.
                                                                                    * I forgot the cilantro/parsley garnish.

                                                                                    Some notes on the preparation are below. One common theme is cooking takes longer than one might expect.
                                                                                    * Peeling tomatoes is easy using the technique described on p. 30: drop tomatoes in boiling water for 15 seconds, rinse with cold water until cool, and peel by hand.
                                                                                    * Frying onions takes a while.
                                                                                    * When adding the paste, it didn't splatter or sizzle as the recipe suggested it would. Maybe I should've fried the paste at a higher heat? I fried it at medium, as the recipe directed.
                                                                                    * The paste was supposed to brown within four minutes. I waited close to ten without any significant color change, then continued on with the recipe.
                                                                                    * By accident, I simmered the mixture uncovered.
                                                                                    * The last simmering stage said to simmer "for 7-8 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens." I was hungry so after eight minutes, although the sauce was thin, I ate. I simmered more later and the sauce properly reduced.

                                                                                    Pictures: http://indian-cooking-recipe-reviews....
                                                                                    There are also a few more comments there too.

                                                                                    [I've been cooking my way through this book for quite a while.]