Cardamom Chicken: Another Version
|Frying cardamom seeds and pods|
|Cardamom Chicken with Sauce|
We've previously posted recipes for this classic Moghul dish. None however are easier than the version below. Prep may be almost brainless but the flavor is on point. Cafe Drake likes to serve ours with refreshing Mint Pilao. Cardamom is vastly cheaper - and fresher - purchased at Indian markets.
OK the only part of this that takes a minute or two of effort is the beginning. Carefully crack open 5-6 pods of green cardamom and scrape out the seeds. You should have a bit less than a teaspoon. Toss them in a skillet with 2 T. oil and 2 whole cardamom pods. Fry gently for a minute.
Add 4-5 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs and salt generously. Brown lightly on both sides over medium flame, about 4 minutes total. Now sprinkle chicken with 1 t. cayenne pepper and 1 t. turmeric. Grind some black pepper over the chicken.
Add 2 t. tomato paste to the pan along with 2/3 cup plain yogurt and 2/3 cup water. Stir to combine all and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until chicken is tender. This will take 20 minutes or more but you don't need to do anything.
Remove cover and boil - if needed - sauce until it has thickened slightly. For a stronger, more perfumed flavor add 2-3 more whole cardamom pods. Serve chicken hot, garnished with chopped cilantro. If entertaining, or desiring a richer entree, sprinkle cooked chicken thighs with 2 T. dry-roasted pine nuts.
MINT PILAO (PUDINA PULAO)
A convenient side dish as this goes with many types of meals.
Take a heaping handful of fresh mint leaves and toss in a mini-processor or blender along with a t. of water and 2 chopped green chilies. Blend to a paste. Set aside.
Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a small-ish, deep skillet or saucepan and when hot add in 1 t. cumin seeds. Fry just until the cumin darkens and then add 1 1/4 cups brown rice. Season with 1/2 t. salt. Fry the rice for one minute and now add the pureed mint and chilies. Pour in 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to the lowest flame, cover and simmer for 50 minutes. When all of the water has been absorbed turn off the heat and allow rice to sit covered for 5 full minutes. Uncover, fluff rice with a fork and serve hot.