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Shahi Murgh - Mild and Creamy Chicken Curry

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Mild and creamy Shahi Murgh never fails to please in my home. Everybody (including my two-year-old daughter) loves it! That alone is enough to make me love it but my favorite bit about this delicious dish is that even though its sounds 'fancy-shmancy' it is uncomplicated to cook. Shahi Murgh is an Indian restaurant staple and on the list of most-ordered dishes. Just imagine how accomplished it will make you feel to be able to turn out this curry in your kitchen! Sold on the idea? I serve Shahi Murgh with Chapatis, Parathas or just with plain boiled rice - depends what the family fancies on the day. I also like to add a Kachumbar salad to round off the meal.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients:

  • 20 cashews or almonds
  • 3-4 tbsps of vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • 5 cloves
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 2" piece of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 cardamom pods, split
  • 2 small or 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 large onion, chopped very fine
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder (leave out if you like)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs of skinless, boneless chicken pieces (2" cubes) - I like to use chicken thigh
  • 1/2 cup thick, unsweetened cream

Preparation:

  • Grind the almonds/ cashews to a fine powder in a food processor. Keep aside.
  • Heat the vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil in a deep, heavy bottomed pot, on medium heat.
  • When the oil is hot, add all the whole spices and sauté until they begin to turn darker in color and slightly fragrant. This means they are ready.
  • Now add the finely chopped onions and fry until they begin to turn a pale golden color. This should take between 5-10 minutes.
  • Now add the ginger and garlic paste and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and all the powdered spices, including the garam masala. Also add the salt. Stir to mix everything well and fry the masala, stirring frequently, until the oil begins to separate from it. Frequent stirring will prevent burning and will also ensure an evenly browned masala. The oil separating from the masala is a sign that it is well cooked. This results in smooth, well-amalgamated flavors!
  • Now add the chicken and stir to coat it fully with the masala. Sauté until the chicken is sealed.
  • Now add 200 ml of hot water to the pot, stir well and cover the pot. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is tender.
  • When the chicken is done, add the thick cream and stir well. Continue to cook until most of the gravy has dried off. The end result should be a dish with thick gravy.
  • Turn off the heat and serve Shahi Murgh with Chapatis, Parathas, Jeera Rice or just with plain boiled rice!
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