Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Murgh Hariyali (Indian Herbed Chicken)

I woke up this morning craving a delicious spicy Indian chicken, that I would make for myself as opposed to the kids! So my sweet kids got leftovers, and I indulged and cooked for myself. A look through Aditya Bal's cookbook The Chakh Le India Cookbook, and I settled on Murgh Hariyali. Give it your time, labour of love, and it'll reward you. 

A fantastic fresh hara or herby green masala takes this Himachal recipe to another level. A classic example of the rustic pahadi or mountain recipe with succulent chicken in a thick and intensely flavored green gravy, with warm spices, such as the pepper and cloves, come through beautifully with the buttery curd and milk-based gravy. This one is a must! 

1kg chicken, skin-off, bone-on.
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon medium-hot red chilli powder 
1-2 teaspoons refined oil

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2-inch cinnamon stick
4–5 cloves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 hot green chilies
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, with some of the tender stems
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon ghee
2 brown cardamoms
1/2-inch cinnamon stick
1 onion, chopped fine
Salt, to taste
1 cup whisked curd
1/2 cup milk
1 spring onion (white part only) sliced into rings

  1. Cut the chicken in curry-sized pieces and trim. Wash and drain thoroughly. Combine with salt and marinade ingredients. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. 
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan and all the masala ingredients, until it exudes their aroma and changes color. Turn off the heat and transfer to a grinder. Add a little water and grind to make a fine vivid green paste. The masala paste should be hot and spicy and smell wonderfully fresh with all the herbs and spring onions. Set aside.
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. 
  4. Heat the ghee in a deep pan. When it’s bubbling hot, add the whole spices and fry for a minute, till colored and aromatic.
  5. Stir in the chopped onion and sauté on medium heat, till soft and lightly colored. Do not brown.
  6. Turn up the heat a little and add the green masala paste to the pan. Fry the paste with the onion and whole spices, till it begins to turn dark green.
  7. Add a little water to cook the masala on high heat, till it’s a rich, deep green and the ghee rises to the surface.
  8. Once the masala is well cooked and amalgamated, add the marinated chicken to the pan. Season well with salt, turn up the heat and fry the chicken in the masala for 10–12 minutes, to give it its lovely, greenish golden color.
  9. Turn the heat down to medium and stir the chicken a few times to mix everything together. Add the whisked curd and fry with the chicken for a few minutes, till the gravy is thick and almost full absorbed.
  10. Next, add the milk and stir everything a couple of times to mix. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover the pan and gently simmer the chicken, till it’s deliciously tender, almost coming off the bone and the oil has risen to the surface. By now, the gravy will be a rich, deep green in color.
  11. When the chicken is thoroughly cooked and meltingly tender, uncover the pan, turn |Mix in the spring onions and serve hot!