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Murgh Masalam

India is world famous and known for its " Curries". Let me introduce you to the word "curry". The word "curry" is the anglicized version of "kari", a Tamil (a language from the south of India) word which literally means "sauce". 

An authentic Indian "sauce" or "curry" as it is famously known, is made with a well sautéed mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes called a "wet masala", to which an array of herbs and spices or a "dry masala" and some "cooking liquid" like water, milk, cream or vinegar etc, are added. This "sauce" then forms the base of the recipe to which any meat; poultry, vegetables or lentils are added to form a "stew-type dish".

It is interesting to note that many in the western world, have come to think of "curry" as any dish seasoned with "curry-powder" whether it has a sauce or not. . Curry powder is called "garam masala" in Hindi (India’s national language). Masala also means mixture. 

There are as many blends of "curry powder" or "garam masala" as there are cooks. So one "curry powder" will not be the same as another. There can therefore be myriad curries with variations rising from the spices that the chef desires to add and that can only be left to the chef’s imagination. Of course, there are the special regional blends of "Garam Masala" meant for certain types of curries. You will find a number of "Garam Masala" recipes for your convenience at the end of this book.

Now lets make one of the easiest of Chicken Curries. Do not get intimidated by the long list of ingredients. It is only natural that you use them in this recipe to make it a success.

Marinate 2 lbs. of boneless chicken with the following marinade.

I prefer using boneless chicken thighs, which remain tender and juicy. But feel free to use any boneless chicken part you desire.

For the marinade:
3 tablespoons yogurt
½ teaspoon red chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons lemon juice.
 
Other Ingredients:
2 large Onions, chopped finely
2 large Tomatoes, chopped  
 
Quick Tip: Use 1 cup of canned cubed tomatoes instead of fresh 
tomatoes.
 
3 teaspoons chopped Ginger
3 teaspoons chopped Garlic
1 teaspoon Red chili powder
3/4th teaspoon Turmeric powder
11/2 teaspoon Garam masala
2 teaspoons Cumin powder
½ cup Milk: whole or if you are watching your fat feel free to use fat-free milk
3 tablespoons Oil
1 1/4th teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Sugar
 
To Garnish:
1/4th cup chopped cilantro leaves
10-12 salted roasted whole Cashews
 
To season the oil:
1 Bay leaf
4-5 whole green Cardamom pods
4-6 whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
1. Marinate the chicken for a half-hour with the above-mentioned marinade.

2. Heat the oil, when hot add the whole spices to season the oil. Sauté for a few seconds. Now add the ginger and garlic and sauté till golden brown.

3. Add the onions; sauté till golden brown in color on medium high. It is the caramelization of the onions that brings the rich soft aroma and flavor to the dish.

4. Add the tomatoes and keep sautéing till the oil starts to separate. This should take another 5-8 minutes.

Indian food can be enjoyed as much during the cooking process as during mealtime itself. The aroma from cooking spices, herbs, onions, ginger, garlic, and chilies creates an aroma that tantalizes the taste buds.

5. Now add the remaining spices, sauté for a few minutes and then add the marinated chicken pieces. Sauté for a few more minutes. Tired of sautéing…That ‘s the trick to make your recipe turn out great. So don’t quit now.

6. Add the salt and sugar, increase the heat and slowly stir in the milk, stirring constantly. Let the chicken simmer on low for another 5-9 minutes. Garnish with Chopped cilantro leaves and fried cashews. Serves 4-6 people. Serve with Jeera Rice or Paratha. Enjoy!

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