Before you judge this post being another one on heavy and rich Cream Chicken, let me assure you at the onset that it is nowhere close to ‘loaded with cream’ kind of recipe. Just because this is supposed to be cream chicken does not mean that I have to load it with cream or even add cream to it at all! You read that right – no cream at all. There are ways to cheat on that without compromising on taste. For instance, I used really thick hung curd (also called yogurt cream) for one. And to give the curry that luscious texture, I added almond paste to the sauce. These two ensure that the chicken is creamy and ‘seemingly’ rich but without the heaviness of the cream. And of course guilt free as well 😀 I used 2% milk instead of cream and trust me, these three elements changed the rules for prepping this chicken curry. Don’t listen to the purists! The curry tastes great and and the texture is beautifully luscious and creamy, probably not rich but great, nevertheless.
The key points that one needs to keep in mind are – one, this is a milk/ nut based curry so it will be a little bit towards the sweeter side. To counter and cut through the sweetness, we need to ensure that we add a healthy amount green chlies and black pepper to the curry. I am not talking about the intense heat here but the mellow one; the one that lingers lightly on the palate. Second, do not leave out the dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) since it adds nice warm flavors besides giving the dish some depth of flavour. Third, lemon in marination is must since it tenderises the meat.
1½ tsp Lemon Juice
750 – 800 grams Chicken (cut to medium size pieces)
½ C thick hung Yogurt
½ tsp grated Ginger
½ tsp grated Garlic
10 – 12 soaked Almonds (depending on size of almonds)
A few tsp Milk
2 – 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil or Rice Bran Oil (I always use mustard oil)
1 Bay Leaf
6 – 8 Green Cardamoms
¾ C thinly sliced Onion (1 medium)
1 tbsp chopped Green Chilies
½ tsp finely chopped Ginger
½ tsp finely chopped Garlic
½ C chopped fresh Coriander (cilantro)
½ – ¾ C Milk (as required)
1 tsp dry & ground Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi)
½ tsp freshly ground White Peppercorns
¾ tsp Coriander Powder
A dash of lime juice (optional)
Salt to taste
½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
Wash and pat dry the chicken. Transfer it to glass bowl in which the chicken is going to be marinated.
Make small slits or poke the thicken chicken pieces and drizzle the lemon juice over the chicken. Keep aside for 10 minutes
Meanwhile mix the grated ginger and garlic to hung yogurt and pour over the chicken.
Cover the bowl with cling wrap and keep it in fridge for at least two hours. I always prefer keeping it marinated overnight.
Make a smooth paste with almonds and a few teaspoons of milk.
Take a pan or kadahi (wok) and heat the oil (smoke it if you are using mustard oil). Reduce heat and add bay leaf and cardamoms. Fry for a few seconds. Increase the heat to maximum/ high and add sliced onions. Fry till the onions becomes translucent.
Add green chilies and chopped ginger & garlic. Fry till they become aromatic and the onions just begin to turn golden brown.
Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade. (if the hung curd you used was thick enough, there will be no liquid in the chicken)
Also add the almond paste along with the chicken and cook for a few minutes on medium low heat.
After two minutes of frying of low heat, increase the heat and keep frying while, stirring gently intermittently (to prevent the contents from catching at the bottom) for another 7 – 10 minutes.
Reduce heat and add salt. Cover cook for 10 more minutes and then add milk along with crushed pepper, coriander powder and garam masala. Cover and cook the chicken till it is done.
Check for the consistency of chicken. If the curry is too thick, add a few tablespoons of milk or water while it is still hot.
Stir in the garam masala powder and half of the chopped fresh coriander.
Add a dash of lime if you wish to; it will bring the flavors together.
Garnish the chicken with the rest of the coriander and serve with Naan or any flatbread of your choice. ENJOY!
Note: I suggest that you taste the chicken before adding lime juice towards the end of the cooking coz if your yogurt is sour, you won’t need the lime juice.
Note: I lightly roast the kasuri methi on a skillet before crushing and adding to the curry.
Note: The curry should have a medium thick gravy. Mine thickened while it cooled and as I was taking pictures.
Note: Feel free to use 6% milk if you wish to.
Serves – 4 to 6
Thanks for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!