Indian-Pakistani inspired curry: a Tikka masala-meets-jalfrezi on a bed of basmati rice

Having missed the smell of Indian and Pakistani food in my flat and having my mother over for a month, I thought I'll introduce her to a food she thinks is over-spiced, hot and always containing fenugreek.


She was not happy that the folks in the Sub-Asian continent have something similar to our Mlaouis (in the form of parathas) and Tannourt bread ( in the form of Tandoori bread)..



Today's recipe is rather a combination of chicken tikka masala and jalfrezi curry on a bed of Basmati rice with Saffron, lemon, cumin seeds and green cardamom. All is layered and finished cooking in a dum biryani style. What's not to like? We were 2 hungry women and we didn't leave a single grain of rice behind.


This recipe looks too long but it's so easy to make. The result is just worth it. It's so comforting and very satisfying.

My mother loved it and she asked for another "sample" of Indian/Pakistani food..How is that for a result?

Oh, and for the record, I got her hooked to mango chutney and garlic naans. Pretty proud of myself!




Ingredients
Serves 3 to 4
Prep: 5 min – marination time: minimum 2 hrs- cooking: 30-45 min
  • About 500g of chicken cut into chuncks (bones in) and marinated for at least a couple of hours (see below)
For the chicken marinade
  • 1 tbsp of minced Ginger 
  • 1 tsp of crushed Garlic
  • ¼ tsp. of Red Chilli Powder
  • ¼ tsp. of Turmeric Powder 
  • 1 tbsp. of Lemon Juice 
  • 1 tbsp of Tandoori powder or good Garam Masala or 2 tbsp of a good Tikka paste
  • 2 tbsp. of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tbps of plain yogurt
For the curry (in order of use)
  • 5 Tablespoons clarified butter
  • About 6 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp of black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 Tablespoon jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • About 10 cm cinnamon stick broken into 3
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic and ginger paste (or grate them fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander powder - preferably home roasted and ground
  • 1 Tablespoon red chilli powder
  • About 10 cm cinnamon stick broken into 3
  • 1 tbsp of tikka paste (or use garam masala before the end of simmering)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp of chopped hot chili

To add 2 minutes before the end of curry-cooking stage
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut lenthwise
  • 1/2 red and/or bell pepper, cut lengthwise
  • ½ medium onion cut in quarters then halves (which makes 8 chuncks)
  • 1 tomato roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp of garam masala (if you haven’t used the tikka paste in the curry)
  • For garnishing
  • 1 tsp of slivered fresh ginger
  • A handful of coriander leaves
For the rice (7 to 8 min cooking in boiling water)
  • 1 cup of basmati rice (soaked for 30 min and washed 3 until water is clear)
  • ½ tsp of cumin seeds
  • 3 or 4 green cardamoms
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • Less than 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of rice needs 1 ¾ of water to cook it
 For the yoghurt-harissa dip (Adapted from  Jamie Oliver)
  • 1 cup of yoghurt
  • 1 tbps of harissa 
  • 2 tbps of chopped cucumber
  • A sprinkle of salt
  • A sprinkle of cumin seeds
  • A hint of freshly grated ginger



Preparation

The curry

Melt the ghee in a hot wok or large frying pan. Add the spices, curry leaves and onions and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds.

Once the onions are translucid, add the ginger and garlic paste, add the tikka paste if using it and stir. 
Add tomatoes and about ¼ cup of water. Let simmer for about 10 mins.

Pick up the curry leaves and the cinnamon stick and liquidize the sauce with a mixer. Put them back and set aside.

In a another pan, shallow-fry the chicken (or bake it until halfway cooked).

Add the sauce on the top of the chicken and let simmer, covered.

A couple of minutes after the sauce has reduced, add the onion slices, bell pepper, green chillies and tomato. Set aside

The Spices-scented basmati rice

Cook the rice for 7 to 8 minutes in boiling water, covered.

Once the rice is dry and cooked through, transfer 1/3 to a pyrex dish (or similar), layer the reduced 
curry, cover with the rest of the rice. Bake in a preheated oven at maximum for 10 min. I usually 
cover the dish with aluminium foil to trap the steam and allow the rice to infuse, just like for a dum 
biryani.

Garnish with slivered ginger and chopped coriander.



The yoghurt dip

Mix all ingredients and serve on the side.




Note: I used a decent store-bought tikka paste but you can use any other paste you like (Indian-inspired). If you can't get hold of any, here's Jamie Oliver's post of how to make some of them. The recipes cover Jalfrezi, Korma, Rogan josh, Tikka Masala paste ......

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