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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Punjabi Chicken and Cauliflower Curry

While looking through various chicken curry recipes, my heart stopped at this one.  The ingredient that spoke to me was Ms Black Cardamom.  Before actually holding one in my hands, I was persuaded that black and green cardamom were interchangeable, such as black and yellow mustard seeds, and that one was maybe a riper version of the other.  After buying them, I thought the black was the whole cardamom and the green was just the pod inside, much like when you buy whole nuts that you must shell to get to the good stuff.  As it turns out, the two are more like cousins.  They each come from a different variety of cardamom plants and have absolutely nothing in common taste-wise.    I've noticed it's more often used in Punjabi cuisine than any other type of Indian cuisine.  I've used it once before in Chole, but I didn't really grasp the distinct flavor of it then as I do now.  Ooh Chole!!  I shall be doing that again soon.
The black is slightly smokey and gives off a unique flavor after being simmered for some time.  It is unique, just as its green cousin is, but in a different world...
Serves 4 if served alone.
Inspired by IndianKhana.
300g (10.6oz) chicken (I used thigh meat)
300g (10.6oz) cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
2 tej patta (Indian bay leaves)
1 black cardamom
2 green cardamoms, crushed
4 cloves
1/2 inch piece cinnamon
3 onions, chopped
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp grated garlic
2 green chiles, slit
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp chile powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1 cup yogurt, beaten
1 cup water
1 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1.  Heat the oil in a wok or heavy based pan.  Add the cumin and fennel seeds and cook until they sputter, about 30 seconds.
2.  Add the hing and wait for the fizz, then add the bay leaves, black and green cardamoms, cloves, and cinnamon.  There should be an interesting aroma wafting around you.
3.  Add the green chiles, onion, ginger, and garlic.  Cook until the onion softens and lightly browns, then add the chile and coriander powder and stir.
4.  Add in the chicken pieces and coat.  Cook 10-12 minutes on medium heat, stirring, then add the cauliflower florets.
5.  Add in the yogurt and let come to a simmer.  Cook this way until the oil starts to come to the top, about 5 minutes.
6.  Stir un the water and add a bit of salt if needed.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 more minutes.
7.  Add the garam masala, stir, then cover and remove from heat.  Let sit so the flavors meld together. When ready to serve, place back onto the heat for a few minutes.

I served mine in a thali with Paneer Korma, Basmati Rice, and Three-way Daal.

This dish was a nice contrast to the creamy korma.  It would work well with just naan as well.  I loved the depth the black cardamom offered.  This type of cuisine takes my brain to a completely different level, where I turn inside out and enjoy the moment from within.
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