Cook onions, garlic and ginger in butter in large, heavy skillet until onions are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add yogurt, chicken, tomato puree, turmeric, coriander, cayenne and salt to taste. Mix well and fry, turning chicken, until mixture starts to dry, about 10 minutes. Add cream, water and fenugreek leaves and cook slowly until chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Add more water if necessary.
4 servings. Each serving:
605 calories; 338 mg sodium; 180 mg cholesterol; 42 grams fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 39 grams protein; 1.22 grams fiber.
CARDAMOM CHICKEN (Murgh Elaichi)
The first time a friend of mine made this wonderfully perfumed dish, the chicken slipped out of her hands as she was removing it from the pot, so in her house the dish was always known as "chicken on the floor." Dropping is not recommended, but just in case, in Urdu "chicken on the floor" would be farshpar ka murgh. Recipe from Time-Life's "Food of India" (1969).
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) chicken
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 tablespoons boiling water
1/4 cup clarified butter
1 (1 1/2-inch piece) cinnamon stick
1 whole clove
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup cold water
Puree yogurt, cardamom, ginger, garlic, fennel and cayenne in food processor.
Pat chicken dry inside and out with paper towels and truss securely. Rub with salt and set in large baking dish. Spread skin with Masala and reserve remainder in refrigerator until ready to use. Marinate at room temperature at least 1 hour or in refrigerator 2 hours to overnight.
Place saffron threads in cup, pour in boiling water and let steep at least 10 minutes.
Heat clarified butter over medium heat in heavy covered casserole just large enough to hold chicken until drop of water splutters instantly. Add cinnamon and clove and cook, stirring, until they are evenly coated with butter. Add onions and saute, stirring constantly, until they are softened and light gold, 7 to 8 minutes.
Place chicken in casserole, pour in remaining Masala and add saffron liquid. Cook over moderate heat, turning frequently, until lightly colored but not browned and butter separates from Masala and rises to surface. Stir in 1/4 cup cold water and bring to boil over high heat.
Immediately reduce heat to low. Cover casserole with piece of foil, crimping at edges to hold securely, and set lid firmly in place over foil. Simmer until chicken is tender but not falling apart, 30 to 35 minutes, turning after 15 minutes.
Remove casserole from heat. Pour liquid in casserole into bowl and degrease. Let chicken rest, covered, in casserole 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve with rice and cooking liquid.
6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings:
229 calories; 713 mg sodium; 72 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 15 grams protein; 0.19 gram fiber.
CHICKEN IN AROMATIC COCONUT BROTH (Tom Kha Gai)
Recipe from Anya von Bremzen, "Terrific Pacific Cookbook" (Workman, 1995).
3 stalks lemon grass
1/4 cup finely chopped, peeled galangal root
1/4 cup chopped cilantro roots and/or stems
4 serrano chiles, seeded, stemmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
4 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk, well stirred
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 2x2 1/2-inch strips
5 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
5 double Thai (kaffir) lime leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup red bell pepper strips
Remove tough outer leaves of lemon grass stalks and discard all but lowest 3 inches of stems. In blender, puree lemon grass, galangal, cilantro roots, 2 chiles, white pepper, garlic and onion. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons water if needed to form paste. Scrape into small bowl.
Combine 1/2 galangal paste with 3 cups coconut milk in saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Strain through fine strainer into large, heavy pot, pressing on solids with back of spoon to extract liquid.
Return soup to heat, add broth and remaining coconut milk and bring to simmer. Add remaining galangal paste and chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked, about 7 minutes.
Stir in lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, remaining chiles and kaffir lime leaves. Season with salt if necessary. Heat 1 minute. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves and bell pepper strips.
6 servings. Each serving:
466 calories; 748 mg sodium; 17 mg cholesterol; 39 grams fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams protein; 4.60 grams fiber.
SUMAC SALAD WITH PITA CROUTONS (Fattoush)