02 May 2010

Malai'n around

Best intentions aside, I have yet again neglected this blog. Gah. However, I have an awesome update to it, so hopefully that will make up for my negligence:

Chicken Malai

Chicken malai is a creamy, yellowy curry-type dish. It is North Indian in origin, from what I've been told. It doesn't have to be spicy but it certainly can be - the recipe below can be ramped up with extra fresh or dried chillies.

2 cups or so of chicken - I used chicken breasts, but the curry is more flavourful if you use chicken that has bones
1 onion, ground into a paste
1 teaspoon of garlic paste
1 teaspoon of ginger paste (you can buy these two pastes mixed together - if you use that, use 2 teaspoons)
1 cup of coconut milk (make sure you stir it up)
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
6 whole cloves
1 green chilli pepper (I used Thai birdseye)
1 dried red chilli pepper
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon each of cumin powder, coriander powder, and ground mustard powder (another option is using garam masala, but only do it if you (a) have made some recently, and (b) are okay with using it when the powders listed above are just as good
1-2 teaspoons of dried methi (fenugreek) leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup of whipping cream (not whipped! not whipped! just the cream!)

Heat a kadai or a heavy wok-type or frying pan over medium heat. Pour oil or ghee in and warm. Add cloves and fry till you can smell them. Take the pan off the heat and then add garlic and ginger paste(s) - I take it off to avoid the spitting of the oil. Put back on the heat and fry for a minute or thereabouts. Add the onions - stir. Add the fresh and dried chilli peppers - stir. Finally, add the spice mixture (turmeric, cumin, coriander, ground mustard) - stir. Fry this mixture until the onion turns brown - 2 or 3 minutes usually, but sometimes more. Then, add the chicken and stir to combine. Add the coconut milk, the methi leaves, and then the salt - mix until smooth. Allow to bubble away, cooking for around 10 minutes until chicken is done. If your chicken pieces have bones, it'll take longer - probably about 20 minutes or more. Taste and season accordingly. Serve over basmati rice or with hot roti. Can also serve with Indian-style pickles - carrot, mango, etc.

Remember, if you want this spicier add either another fresh chilli or another dried chilli (or two) during the cooking process. I prefer it spicy but didn't want to scare anyone off by making this recipe crazy hot initially!