Saturday, April 20, 2013

Murgh Masala

After I purchased Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals sometime in last year, Indian food has been on our speedy dinner's list. Since it was meant to be speedy then it's quite impossible to grind your spice and cook everything from scratch. One of the brand of Indian spice paste that I love to use is Patak. No, I'm not the marketing of that brand. It's just that Jamie mentioned it in his book and it happens to be available at the nearby stores.

The price is just about $5-7 a bottle depending on the flavour. Not too expensive, but it's not cheap also. Sadly, after the lid is opened, it won't stay fresh for long. Two weeks and you'll get really sour spice paste, which if you think about it, it is a proof that it is really using good ingredients and less preservatives. 

Now here's where my problem arises. I do not cook Indian food everyday of the week. Two out of seven days is still acceptable but it'll have to be a different dish e.g: Tandoori chicken on Tuesday and Tikka Masala on Saturday.  So if I have four jars of different spice paste then I am bound to spoil some.

So after spoiling some jars over time, I switched to an equally yummy Indian spice paste from Asian Home Gourmet that is sold in small sachets. Yummo! But as a geeky mother, sometimes I face a time when I  have to cut down our meal budget because I fancy some books on Amazon. I just gotta have 'em!

Bad, bad momma!

Well, that's when I take out Indian food and meat  from a week dinner's list and all of us go vegetarian for a week. Surviving on tofu & tempe is not only good for detox but it's good for my bookcase. Besides, no matter how good the famous brands' spice mixes are, they're still pricey compared to homemade spice mixes. I just need to spend some more time prepping. That's the prob.

Now it has been a good two months since Indian food is out of weekly dinner rotation because of 'The Wedding', not because I shopped for books too much, mind you. It's only normal that Amiko craved it to the level of whining and  has stopped touching her pasta. 

She did make a request I simply couldn't resist, "Can you make the spice from scratch? I want the one like we had at Kinara. It tastes good like rendang."

I knew what she meant by it tastes good. For Amiko, tastes good means tastes clean. Her rendang is not one of those you'd find in some Padang restaurant in Jakarta. Either it's cooked by my mom, the preservative-loather, or we get it straight from Padang where they still cook it using fire woods. nothing beats it. So I browse a Murgh Masala recipe and found a simple one from Journey Kitchen

I used everything needed in the recipe but I added the amount of the spices and some garam masala  because I only have the powdered version of several of the spices, hence the addition. I also use skinless chicken breast instead of thigh with the skin on. Uncrispy chicken skin turns us off. Besides, cooking is not like baking. Add a little bit of this and that to your liking, but only.. Only after you have cooked it to a T with the original recipe. 

1 big skinless chicken breast, cubed
10 almonds
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp Sauf aka Fennel powder
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 green  or red chilies
2 green cardamom pods
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp Garlic Paste
2 tsp Ginger Paste
3 tbs Garam masala
2 tbsp Olive oil
Coriander to garnish
Salt to taste

How It's Done:
-Marinate the chicken in yogurt, chili powder, turmeric, GG paste, green chilies and two pinches of salt for at least 4 hours in the fridge, preferably over night. 
-Grind the almonds, coriander, cumin, cardamom pods, and fennel seeds. 
-Heat oil in a wok or saucepan. Add the chopped onions and let them soften. 
-Add the almond spice mix. 
-Add the tomatoes and let them reduce to a paste. 
-Add the marinated chicken along with the marinate. 
-Cook with low fire until the chicken is done and do add some water to thin out the paste. Add salt to taste.
-Garnish with coriander.

My kitchen smells Dee-vine! The only thing I regret, but I didn't care about it anyway, is that my tomatoes weren't red enough so the end result wasn't too reddish. But holla! Once you take a bite of the absolutely aromatic and tender chicken.. Poof! All your miseries are history.

Serve this with some Soft Indian Roti that only takes less than an hour to make and you won't wanna spend a dime on Indian Spice Mix at the store anymore. I know I won't.

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