Periodically I get a chance to cook just for me. When that happens it is going to be Indian or Chinese. More often as not, Indian. There is just something about the spices used that draws me to the recipes. And this one was no exception. Leslie (of Lethally Delicious) had a week off so we took advantage of that and got “together” (She’s in California and I’m in Louisiana) and cooked Indian. Specifically…

    Malai wali murghi
      ~~~From Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking~~~

    The ingredients are basic for a lot American kitchens today.

      1½ teaspoons salt
      2 teaspoons ground cumin
      1½ teaspoons ground coriander
      ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
      ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
      Freshly ground black pepper
      1 kg 350 g (3 Ib) chicken pieces, skinned {I used small breasts.}
      6-7 cloves garlic, peeled
      2.5 cm (1 inch) cube fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
      320 ml (1 ½ cups) water
      6 tablespoons vegetable oil
      1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
      2 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
      4 tablespoons plain yogurt
      1 teaspoon garam masala
      6 tablespoons heavy cream

    Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of the coriander, ½ teaspoon of the turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of the cayenne, and some black pepper on the chicken pieces. Mix well and set aside for at least 1 hour.
    Put the garlic and ginger into the container of an electric blender or food processor.
    120 ml (1/2 cup) of the water and blend until fairly smooth. {It will look grainy.}Put the oil in a wide, preferably nonstick, pot and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in as many chicken pieces as the pot will hold easily in a single layer and brown lightly on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Brown all the chicken pieces the same way.
    Put the chopped onion into the remaining oil. Stir and fry until the pieces turn a medium-brown color.
    Add the garlic-ginger paste. Stir and fry until all the water from the paste evaporates and you see the oil again. Put in the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Stir and fry for about 20 seconds. Now put in the chopped tomatoes. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir and cook the spice paste for 3-4 minutes, mashing the tomato pieces with the back of a slotted spoon as you do so.
    Add the yogurt, a tablespoon at a time, incorporating it into the sauce each time before you add any more.
    Put in the chicken pieces and any accumulated juices, the remaining 200 ml (1 cup) water, and 1 teaspoon salt.
    Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the cover.
    Add the garam masala and cream. Mix gently.
    Turn the heat up to medium high and cook, stirring gently every now and then, until the sauce has reduced somewhat and has turned fairly thick

    Definitely something I want to make again.

    I had wanted to make Dorie’s Cardamom Rice Pilaf for FFwD when it was ‘assigned’ last month, but I didn’t have and couldn’t find any whole cardamom seeds. Fortunately I have good friends {Leslie and Di} who send me ingredients I cannot find. Leslie sent me cardamom seeds that came just in time for the Indian meal.

      Cardamom Rice Pilaf

    The cardamom in the rice (see those little black dots!?) just enhanced the flavors of the garam masala (which contains cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, peppercorns, and nutmeg.) so it was perfect with this dish. The next time I make the rice I think I will add a little more cardamom as the flavor was just a little too subtle if eating the rice alone.