How to Cook Chicken Curry in Pakistani style
Gone are those times, when you were bound to rely on the traditional and “legendary” recipes you mother used to make tantalizing chicken curries. With the introduction of internet and development of technology, you can make your own chicken curry without relying on any traditional methods!
If you are a bachelor living somewhere far from your home and you want to cut the hassle of long distance telephone call connections or you are a newlywed bride who lacks stupendous cutlery and cooking skills and is in dire need of urgent help to impress her in laws with a delicious bowl of chicken curry, you are at the right place.
The main ingredient used in the making of a marvelous platter of chicken curry is the chilies. Before making the end product, you should always analyze the quality of the initial ingredients. It is important to note that, if you initial ingredients do not come up to the mark and lacks quality, you will probably end up with a stomach upset or disappointing you in laws with a tasteless bowl of chicken curry. Yes, that is true! Chicken curry was a dish used back in the 1700s by the Mughal Emperors! If you think it is a newly introduced dish, you are inevitably mistaken. From the era of Jalal Ud Din Akbar, the era of these delicious food started and reached the top notch level by the era of Shah Jahan and Jahangir as both were extreme foodies. Chilies, the main ingredient of Chicken Curry was initially introduced by the Portuguese in the subcontinent thus we are bound to give them a round of applause from introducing this gem of an ingredient to our country.
A homemade chicken curry without the accurate amount and taste of red chilies and pepper is just a mummer’s farce. The mystique thing about the red chili peppers are that they have this magical binding property, enabling them to bind itself with the onions, tomatoes and all the entities of food used to make a taste bud tantalizing chicken curry. If you are from the province of Punjab eating it with your tandoori chapatti, or you are from Khyber Pakhtun Khwa eating it with a humongous loaf of naan, or from Sindhi and Balochi traditions gulping the hot curry with extravagant forms of rice or from the celestial mountainous meadows and valleys of Gilgit Baltistan devouring the curry with steamed meat and basmati rice with “namkin Kashmiri chaye”, you’re tucking into that unapologetically spicy curry, this is because chicken curry has got a single universal language for chili-heads without any kind of segregation.
Now talking about how to make the renowned chicken curry, you will be surprised that there is no extraordinary spices or ingredients utilized in the making! Yes exactly! All you need, is some good and tricky tactics which were regurgitated to me by my mentor, and a few good ingredients. The cardamom pods, once you are done making the curry, at the end, inevitably adds a delicate and soothing fragrance.
There are a variety of ways, in the end, that you can serve the chicken curry with, it is not that necessary, but just like an icing or cherry to the cake, the good the better. I personally, like to serve it with kachumar salad which is a mixture of several vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes, onions and a few drops of lemon with some salt. The lemon added to the salad adds several benefits such as preventing heartburn after eating spicy food and reducing the fat content of your food etc.
Caters four with one side of white basmati rice or chapatti.
- 3 tablespoons of Canola Oil, if not available, then any other neutral oil like corn or sunflower oil.
- 2 pounds of raw chicken, I would personally recommend to use chicken breast due to the size area with bone and slice it into 3 inches pieces or if you don’t want to get into much hassle then you can use a whole chicken, jointed.
- 1 medium-sized onion, should be chopped, although it will be used in the blender for the sauce so you shouldn’t much ponder about the chopping accuracy.
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin (can substitute with 1 tsp garlic paste)
- 1 thumb size knob of ginger, sliced thin
- 400ml can of tomatoes which should be chopped or tomato sauce can also be used or 5-6 fresh raw tomatoes, should be chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, adjustable to your taste
- A pinch of haldi or turmeric powder
- 1 1/2 table spoons of red chili powder. On the other hand, you can also use red chili pepper flakes, dried chilies, whole dried red dried chilies, fresh raw unprocessed green chilies for example Thai bird, serrano or the renowned jalapeno. Play around with any chili you have at hand.
- 1/2+1 1/2 cups of water
- 2 pods of cardamom
- Turn ON the heat of the stove to the medium level and place a pan with a heavy bottom, on the stove. In order to truly bring out the darkish golden color of the onions, I would personally and preferably recommend you to use a non-stick pan.
- Add oil, either canola or sunflower/corn and leave the pan to heat up for around 2 minutes.
- Add onions to the oil heated pan and sauté till they start to turn change color and turn golden.
- Add the fresh garlic and ginger at the moment when the onion changes color and continue to sauté.
- The onions will change color abruptly and start to darken more, this is the phenomenon which gives the curry its infamous dark red brownish color. The garlic along with the ginger will also begin to caramelize at this mentioned stage.
- Till this process it will take you around 15 minutes so make sure you DO NOT IGNORE THE CLOCK.
- After that add the tomatoes sauce, chili pepper powder and salt along with the turmeric powder and turn the stove heat to medium not more than that, start to fry or “bhuno” this mixture. You need to be careful and less heroic here as the tomato sauce may splash and splatter, if this happens, then you should immediately turn the heat down. It will take around 20-25 minutes.
- When this process is at its end, you should analyze the sauce has reduced and looks jammed or thick.
- At this point, let the intense hot mixture cool a bit and then transfer the chunky and jammed sauce with a slotted spoon, to a blender.
- Blend it all to form a red smooth paste, after that add some water to the blender if do not want to keep any leftovers and want to get all the sauce from the blender.
- After blending the sauce, transfer the mixture back to the pan.
- Now add the chicken pieces and along with that add 1/2 cup of water and turn the heat to medium-high (NOT HIGH).
- Fry the chicken until the oil segregates from the sauce. This is a sign that that it is almost done. This will take around 10 to 15 minutes. (You should stir the solution rigorously).
- Add the water remaining i.e. 1 1/2 cups and the pods of cardamom, then turn the heat to low from medium, cover the top with a lid and let the curry cool down for 20 minutes. By the end of the whole procedure, the oil will be floating freely to the top of the curry. You can either remove the oil using a big spoon, or let it be like that if you are cool with that.
- Cater the delicious hot curry with a garnish of fresh chopped coriander, kachumbar and chapatti or Basmati rice