This is a dish for special occasions - not because it takes a long time to make or requires several pricey ingredients, but because it is rich and somewhat decadent tasting. The recipe's mild, thick, creamy gravy is inspired by the food of Central Asia and came to India during the rule of the famous Mughal dynasty. Cook this dish and enjoy it, and you may actually feel like royalty yourself!
This recipe calls for ghee, an ingredient that originated in India. Ghee is basically clarified butter that is taken one step further. After the milk solids have separated from the liquid, the mixture is simmered until all of the liquid has evaporated and the solids have started to turn brown in color. The resulting butter has a very high smoke point, making it ideal for frying. Ghee brings a caramel-like, nutty flavor to a dish. It can be expensive but is worth the splurge for special occasion dishes like this one. You can find ghee in Indian and Middle Eastern markets.
- 10 to 15 almonds, blanched and skin removed
- 1/4 cup ghee
- 2 onions, chopped finely
- 1 tsp. ginger paste
- 2 tsp. garlic paste
- 1-inch stick of cinnamon
- 5 pods of cardamom
- 1 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 tsp. red chili powder
- 2 1/4 lbs. (1 kg.) boneless chicken, skin removed
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Salt to taste
- 5 to 6 tbsp. heavy cream, whisked
- 2 tsp. garam masala
Grind the almonds into a fine paste and set aside.
Heat the ghee in a pan and fry the onions until they are translucent.
Add the ginger and garlic pastes, cinnamon and cardamom and fry for a minute.
Add coriander, cumin and red chili powders and fry until the ghee begins to separate from the masala (the spice-onion mix). Add the chicken and fry until seared and chicken turns opaque.
Add the stock and salt to taste and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Whisk the cream to ensure that there are no lumps in it and add along with the almond paste to the chicken and stir well.
Turn off the heat and sprinkle the garam masala over the chicken. Cover the dish immediately.
You can either discard the cinnamon stick or use as a garnish. Serve after a few minutes with naan (Indian flatbread made in a tandoor or oven).