Trip down memory lane. Indian railways-no holiday was complete without a train journey when we were younger. My parents, sisters and myself would find ourselves in over-night sleeper class compartments and one thing besides who is sleeping on the “upper birth” or sitting by the window, was when are we eating! Food on the train would be served in aluminium thaalis, and we ordered the non-veg one. The taste of that slightly liquidity chicken curry with chapathis (wholewheat flatbreads) will always stay with me! In later years, I took more “chair car” trains which were shorter journeys but the thali always remained an integral part of my train journeys.
Here is my ode to that Indian railways chicken curry
Spice level: mild to medium
Feeds: 3 people
Timing: 1 hour plus
For the marination
500 gm chicken, boneless
I teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
2 tablespoons of yogurt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Marinate and keep aside for minimum one hour
3-4 green cardamoms
3-4 black peppercorns
2 bay leafs
2 dried red chillies (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 potato peeled and chopped into big cubes
4-5 tablespoon of mustard oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri Mirch powder (optional)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 heaped teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon or more of fennel powder
1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
2 medium sized onions, chopped finely
1 tomato chopped
Coriander leaves to garnish
Tempering : 1 chopped green chilli (optional) with chopped ginger and pinch of Kashmiri Mirch powder (optional)
Heat the oil in a non-stick wide mouth pan On medium heat and add the potatoes. Fry the potatoes until outer covering is changed - 10-12 minutes and keep aside.
If you’re using mustard oil, it heats up quickly so and oil will be very hot so switch off the heat and let it cool for a minute or two. We will be using the same oil for cooking the chicken
On medium heat, add all the whole spices and fry for a minute.
Add the onions and cook until they are golden brown which can take up to 15 minutes or more!
Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for a minute
Lower the heat to minimum and add all the powdered spices one by one except garam masala
Add a tablespoon of water to prevent any spices from burning
Cook the forces for a few minutes in the mixture
Add the chopped tomato, some salt increase the heat and cover until the tomato is mushy
Add the marinated chicken and potatoes (the fried potatoes will be still hard and need to go in at this point)
Increase the heat to high and mix well for a few minutes until the put coating of the chicken changes colour
Decrease the heat to low, add a cup of water, salt and cover and cook the chicken for 15-18 minutes or until cooked with oil on the sides of the pan.
Add the garam masala
Switch off the hob.
In another pan, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and once hot, add the chilli, red chilli powder and ginger. Give it a toss. Add this tarka to the chicken dish.
Garnish with coriander leaves