Thursday, 1 December 2011

Chicken with Coriander and Kesuri Methi

      Serve as an open top sandwich known as a tartine in French
I was going to make a Korma (a rich creamy curry in the Moghlai style) but as Christmas is nearing, the pounds will be piling on fast enough so I opted for a leaner curry; one with herby notes and only a tablespoon of oil! A familiar friend -recently resurrected from my culinary slumber - Kesuri methi and I, were put back in touch through my sister; a bitter but sweet reunion ensued.
The factual stuff: Kesuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves come from the region of Kasur in Pakistan. It has a bitter taste and a fragrant aroma -so fragrant that a packet of this in my suitcase left my clothes smelling of fenugreek. Considering that we were only just getting re-acquainted I really didn’t mind -on the contrary I was glad to reinstate this old friend amongst my pantry staples.

Chicken with coriander and kesuri methi

The Recipe
Ingredients: ( feeds 2-3 people)
3 medium shallots
3 garlic cloves
3 cm of ginger
3 medium tomatoes
1 tbsp of Canola oil
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 pinch of hing (asafetida) (optional)
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of coriander powder
Handful of fresh coriander leaves
2 tsp of kesuri methi
2 breast fillets
Salt and pepper to taste


1.   Slice the onions; chop the ginger and garlic finely.
2.   Add the oil to a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Fry the cumin seeds for 30 seconds.  When their aroma is released throw in the onions to stop the cumin from burning. Fry until brown. Stir continuously to avoid burning the onions.
3.   Add the ginger and garlic. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the onions have browned. Keep a watchful eye on the stove. If the onions, ginger and garlic stick to the bottom of the pan, gently scrape and add a little water.
4.  Chop the tomatoes and add to the saucepan. Turn the heat to low. Simmer with the lid on. Keep checking to see if you need to add more water.
5.   When the tomatoes have reduced, add the hing, turmeric, and chilli powder.
6.    Wash and cut the chicken breast fillets into small mouth-sized pieces. Add to the saucepan and cover in the sauce. Add a bit of water if necessary and more if you are after a thinner sauce. 
7.    When the chicken is almost done, wash and chop the fresh coriander, add to the saucepan along with the ground coriander, garam masala and Kesuri methi
8.    Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
9.    Serve with basmati rice, roti (chapatti) or naan bread.

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