Serving
(click to enlarge)

Chicken in Tomato-Onion Sauce
India, Punjab
  -   Murgh Masala
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
3 main  
***
1.5 hrs  
Better

Aromatic and softly spiced this northern chicken dish is traditionally served with Indian breads, but I'm just as likely to serve it with basmatti rice. It's very flavorful, not chili hot, and will be enjoyed by those not acustomed to Indian food. It can be made well ahead and in several steps.





1-1/2
A/R
1
10
2
1/2
1
2
1-1/2
2
2/3
2/3
1
1/2
2
#

#
oz
cl
in
t
T
in

t
t
c
t
T
Chicken meat (1)
Oil for frying
Tomatoes, ripe
Onion
Garlic
Ginger root
Cumin seed
Oil
Cinnamon stick
Black Cardamom (2)  
Turmeric
Chili Powder (3)
Water
Salt
Cilantro
PREP   -   (45 min)
  1. Cut the CHICKEN into larger than bite sized chunks (they shrink) or see Note-1. Fry in very hot oil until just barely browned (joints and cut up whole chicken can be browned more). Deep frying is easiest, but you can also pan fry. Fry in batches so the chicken browns before it dries out - it doesn't take any longer than frying all at once. Drain and set aside.
  2. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling water, quench in cold water, peel and chop very fine (food processor fine).
  3. Quarter ONION lengthwise and slice crosswise very thin.
  4. Crush GARLIC and chop very fine. Slice GINGER very thin and chop very fine. Mix.
  5. Dry roast CUMINuntil aromatic. Cool and grind to powder.
RUN   -   (1 hr)
  1. Don't forget to have you Chicken already fried.
  2. In a spacious sauté pan, heat 2 T Oil (you can use chicken frying oil if it's not burned) and fry Onions, stirring until golden. Stir in Cardamom and Cinnamon and fry a couple minutes more, then stir in Garlic mix and fry stiring until garlic starts to color.
  3. Stir in the Turmeric and Chili Powder for just a few seconds, then stir in Tomatoes and Chicken. Add 1 cup Water and Salt. Simmer slowly about 40 minutes.
  4. Check liquid and adjust as desired (more liquid for rice than for bread).
  5. Let it rest for 1 hour to overnight if you have time. When ready to serve, reheat, chop CILANTRO fine and stir it in along with the Cumin.
NOTES:
  1. Chicken:   Weight is for skinless and boneless. If you're using joints with bones (skin still needs to be removed and all fat) use 2.5 pounds. In India they would more likely cut up a whole chicken into serving peices in which case you'd need a 3 pound chicken. Yes, skin and all fat still need to be removed.
  2. Cardamom:   Black cardamom is quite different from the regular green cardamom. If you don't have black use twice as much green cardamom - not the same but acceptable.
  3. Chili Powder:   Kashmir is the natural choice. It is a very mild and flavorful chili powder and the quantity given produces a very mild dish. If you don't have it you can use a hot Hungarian paprika, or use your own best judgement with your favorite ground red chili. For details see our Chili Page.
  4. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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