The Customary Weekend Chicken Curry

I love my bowl of weekend chicken curry with rice while I read my book and spend a lazy day at home. Do try this super simple recipe!

Weekends are meant for cooking with leisure; when you leave a pot of food simmering on the gas top, grab a book to read, check the food occasionally and the result is a perfect bowl of comfort food. By the time the weekend arrives, the Punjabi in me usually yearns for chicken, after all Tandoori Chicken is my national bird! So well, no surprise that one of my weekend favourites is the simple chicken curry- it’s easy to cook, it’s delicious, it’s spicy and of course it’s chicken!

When a couple of friends said they’d drop by on Saturday afternoon for some chit chat, I offered to cook a simple lunch of chicken curry and rice with no frills attached. The beauty of this curry is that that you can keep alerting it as you cook, well but do remember to keep tasting regularly for the flavor. A lot of my friends are from east India and love potatoes in their chicken curry and meat curry but well, I prefer boiled eggs (I can eat eggs any time of the day).

The trick while cooking Indian chicken curries is to ensure that the while the meat is cooked and juicy, it should still have a texture of its own and definitely not be over cooked. Also since we usually cook chicken on the bone, it should fall of the bone yet not be lumpy- and this often makes all the difference between a fabulous chicken curry and an average chicken curry.

So well here goes the recipe for my Weekend Chicken Curry, please don’t get intimidated by the number of ingredients since most of them, if not all, are already in our kitchen.

 

Ingredients:

For the Marinate:

1 kg chicken ( I usually prefer leg and breast pieces)

4 tbsp thick yoghurt (dahi is perfectly fine)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp salt

1 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp ginger garlic paste (store bought is easier and helpful for cooks like me)

1 tsp coriander powder (helps to add body to the gravy)

½ tsp pepper powder

1 tbsp garam masala or chicken masala

 

For the gravy:

4 tbsp oil (I prefer mustard oil since it gives lovely flavor)

2 bay leaves (tej patta)

2- 3 small pieces of cinnamon (dal chini)

2 black cardamom (badi elaichi)

4 green cardamom (choti elaichi)

4 cloves (laung)

5-6 peppercorns (sabut kali mirch)

2 flowers of nutmeg (javitri)

3-4 dried red chilles

2 tsp cumin (jeera)(you can reduce the quality if you want, I absolutely love jeera so add heaps of it)

¼ tsp astofedia (hing)

2 tsp ginger garlic paste (store bought is easier and helpful for cooks like me)

3 onions

2 tomatoes

1-2 green chilies (once again depending on how hot you want the curry to be)

3 tbsp tomato puree (gives a lovely colour)

1 tbsp coriander powder (dhaniya powder)

1tbsp chilli powder (adjust the quantity depending on how hot you want the curry to be)

1tsp turmeric powder (haldi)

2 tbsp chicken masala

1 tsp garam masala

1tbso dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori meethi)

4 boiled eggs

Juice of ½ a lemon

Coriander, chilly and ginger juliennes for garnishing

Salt to taste

 

Recipe:

For the Marination:

  1. Wash the chicken and pat it dry. Put deep cuts in the chicken pieces as this helps it absorb the flavor.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and put it aside for minimum one hour. (I usually prep the chicken first and then go on to work on my curry, this gives it ample time in the marinade)
ChickenCurry
Chicken sitting in the Marinade

For the Gravy:

  1. For the gravy, heat oil till its smoking hot and add astofedia and all the whole spices. Sature for a few seconds and add ginger garlic paste.
  2. Grind two onions into a thick paste and add it to oil. Finely chop the remaining one onion and put it aside. (we’ll add it later).
  3. Let the water evaporate and then add some salt. Remember adding small parts of salt during different stages not only keeps the quantity of salt in control but will also enhance the flavor of the chicken curry.
  4. Once the onion paste has developed a slight colour add the chopped onions and cook till oil seperates. This usually takes 5- 7 minutes. Meanwhile chop the tomatoes and green chillies
  5. Once the oil has separated add the tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric, coriander powder, chilli powder and chicken masala. Add a cup of water and let it cook on low flame till oil separates. (the water ensures the masalas don’t burn helps turn tomatoes to a pulpy paste, which works well for the texture of the gravy). At this point I usually grab my book or coffee and relax on the couch for 10 minutes.
  6. Once oil has separated, add another cup of water and the tomato puree and once again let it simmer cook it oil separates. (Don’t give in to the temptation of cooking on high flame, this usually burns the masalas and the chicken curry will have a horrible burnt flavour.)

    ChickenCurry
    The Bright Colour of the Cooked Masalas
  7. Once the oil has separated notch up the flame and add the chicken. Sauté the chicken pieces on high flame till they get a lovely brown colour on the outside. This will take about 4- 5 minutes.
  8. Add about 2 cups of water, lower the flame, check for seasoning and cover the pot. (Do not put a whistle if cooking in a cooker). Grab your book and relax for about 20 minutes.
  9. After 20 minutes check if the chicken is cooked. Add the boiled eggs and garam masala and let it simmer for 4- 5 minutes. You can adjust the quantity of water depending on how you want the curry to be.
  10. Switch of the flame, add the juice of half a lemon and cover the pot. The residual heat will help the flavours come together and the chicken curry will taste richer.

Garnish with ginger and green chilly juliennes and coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or roti and enjoy my version of the weekend chicken curry.

Do write in the comments how your chicken curry turned out!

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