Despite the fact that I've had this cookbook for well over two years, I haven't made that many recipes from it. Deciding to try something new, I selected the first recipe I opened to: Chicken Smothered in Aromatic Herbs and Almonds, otherwise known as Badaami Murgh. Ms. Sahni has yet to lead my astray, even when I tweak her instructions to better suit my pantry, tastes, and amount of free time for tinkering in the kitchen. And tweak I did, until my final version looked like the recipe below. I ate it over brown rice with a wheat flat bread, and the warm spice of the surprisingly creamy sauce and the tenderness of the chicken made for an exquisite meal.
Indian Almond Chicken
based on Julie Sahni's Badaami Murgh
- chicken breasts, cut into manageable, bite-size pieces
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp red pepper, or to taste
- 1 14-oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1/2 c hot water
- 2 tbsp almond butter
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the onions. Over medium-high heat, fry the onions until they start to turn a light brown (15 minutes); make sure to stir them almost constantly so they don't burn. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional 2 minutes, again stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add the garam masala and ground cloves, stirring until everything is well mixed.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the chicken to the pan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the chicken has lost its pink color and has started to sear. Add the cumin, turmeric, and red pepper and mix, then add the tomatoes, water, and almond butter. Bring everything to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer the chicken, covered, for about 50 minutes, at which time the chicken should be thoroughly cooked and tender. Stir frequently during this time to keep the sauce from sticking and/or burning. If you notice too much liquid is evaporating from the sauce, add a few tablespoons of water. Turn off the heat and let the dish rest, covered, for at least 1 hour.
When you're ready to serve the chicken, thoroughly heat it up again and check for salt. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days--in fact, says Sahni, this time to meld actually improves the overall flavor. Yum!