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Mughlai Chicken

Mughlai Chicken

Mughlai chicken really is a dish to entertain with. Its rich and creamy, and not too hot. It is a dish straight from the Imperial kitchens of the Moghul empire, as such it has its origins in Persia and Central Asia.

Mughlai chicken and other Mughlai dishes are popular in Northern India and Pakistan. The origins of the Mughlai cuisine are Persian and Turkish, and they have strongly influenced the cuisines of Kashmir and the Punjab as well as Uttar Pradesh and Pakistan. The dishes are usually very aromatic and whilst they can range from very mild to very hot, they are always very tasty. The Moghuls liked their food rich and they liked to marinate their meat to tenderise it and to impart flavour. This dish uses a dry marinade - just resting the meat in salt and pepper before cooking it.

Basic Ingredients

1½lb (675gm) chicken
2 onions
2 cloves garlic
1 inch (2.5cm) root ginger
125ml yoghurt
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
oz (14gm) blanched almonds
oz (14gm) raisins
Oil for frying

4 cloves
1 inch (2.5cm) stick of cinnamon broken into small pieces
Ground red chillis
Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon white poppy seeds
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds
Black pepper

Notes on Ingredients

Yoghurt. Some recipes use cream instead - this is OK I prefer yoghurt.

Almonds. You can use cashews or even standard peanuts.

Chillis. This; is not really meant to be a super hot dish so just ½ teaspoon of chilli powder is OK but you can use what you like here.

Cumin seeds. Black cumin (shahi jeera) is best for this but you can use ordinary cumin instead.

Oil. Use Ghee or butter for this. Other oils are ok but these are best to get the richness.

Basic Method

Cut the chicken into good size chunks and sprinkle with salt and pepper (Make sure this is sprinkled on all sides of the pieces). Cover and set aside.
Peel the onions and finely chop.
Peel the garlic and ginger and mash
Roast the cumin seeds and the poppy seeds allow to cool and then grind to a fine paste.
Roast the cloves and cinnamon, allow to cool and then grind to a fine paste.
Put the yoghurt in a bowl and mix in the ground cumin and chilli.

Heat the oil in a pan and put in the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom seeds, then put in the chicken pieces.
When the chicken is sealed remove from the pan, leaving the oil, and set aside.
Now fry the onions, mashed garlic and ginger, and the chilli until the onions are soft, then set these aside as well
In some more oil if necessary fry the almonds for a minute and then put in the raisins and fry for a further minute.
Now put the chicken and onions back in the pan and stir well. Add the tomato puree and sir this in.
Now mix in the yoghurt stirring all the time.
Turn down the heat, cover and simmer until the meat is tender.

Notes on Method

Chicken. The chicken can be cut to any size you like from really big chunks to standard diced chicken

Onions. Some mughlai chicken recipes say to blend the onion as well. I am undecided about this - both ways are good.

Almonds. Again there are recipes which say to grind the nuts. I prefer not to but it's up to you.

Mughlai chicken should be eaten with bread, naan bread is best, but you can have rice - aromatic rice is good. A good side dish is aloo gobhi or gobi daal.

These quantities should feed 3 or 4 people with just bread or rice, with a side dish as well it will serve 4 hungry adults.

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