I call this dish Chicken Curry with a Twist since it is not my usual chicken curry. The recipe I have posted earlier - Homestyle Chicken Curry, has a lighter curry while this one is more robust and decadent. This has ingredients that add flavor, texture, body and most of all deliciousness.
The cashew nut and the coconut milk add smoothness and a good balance of sweetness with the sourness of the tomatoes. It is important to get the balance right when you play with ingredients and I managed to find that balance in this recipe. So when you are in a mood to make something fancy but not stand hours in the kitchen try this.
Cooking time: 45 minutes
650 gms chicken on bone
Red Onion – 1 large, chopped fine
Tomato – 1 large, chopped or pureed
Ginger – 1 tbsp, grated
Ginger – 1 tbsp, grated
Yogurt – ½ cup, whisked smooth
10 cashewnuts soaked in warm milk for 10 minutes
100 ml of thick coconut milk
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Bay leaf – 1
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Red chili powder – ½ tsp or more depending on how hot you like it
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and bay leaf. Once the seeds sizzle, add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt. While the onions are cooking, grind the cashews along with the soaked milk into a fine paste. Add the cashew paste to the yogurt along with garam masala, red chili powder and salt. Adjust the salt since we are adding salt at every step.
Once the onions are cooked and translucent, add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes and add the pureed tomatoes. Stir the tomatoes every 2-3 minutes to make sure the masala does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the tomatoes are soft and pulpy the masala is done. You will notice a fine layer of oil on the edges of the onion-tomato mix. Now add the chicken pieces and stir-fry on medium heat until the masala coats the chicken well. Once the chicken is sealed, add in the cashew-yogurt mixture. Stir everything together and cook for a 2 minutes. Now add a cup of water and cook the chicken on low-medium heat for about 20 minutes or until done. Keep stirring in between to make sure that the water is enough and the masala is not drying out. You can adjust the water content accordingly. The gravy/sauce should not be too watery.
Once the chicken is cooked stir in the coconut milk. Keep the pan on low heat and stir for a couple of minutes until you get a smooth and creamy gravy. Adjust salt to taste. At this point, you can add some crushed fenugreek leaves or skip this step. (but the flavor is totally worth it!!)