I made my first "Mughlai Chicken" in my 12th vacation. I had followed a recipe from a magazine. My cousin had happened to come over for lunch. This cousin was known to be a meat connoisseur (actually a rarest species in my family, who could eat chicken and mutton any time of the day) so I was dying to know his constructive feedback. Though he gave me very positive feedback, I knew that he was hesitant and wasn't telling me the entire truth. I asked him what's the thing that he's holding back to which he replied candidly that though the curry was very good to taste, it was too "deep brown" to be called chicken mughlai. It should have been creamier and whiter per the standards used in the restaurant kitchens".
Since that day, I am on the mission of lightening this classic dish. So if you see the same title on my blog with a different version number, you would probably understand why.
Chicken Curry Mughlai style
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless organic chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
A pinch of nutmeg powder - preferably fresh
*20-21 almonds in 1/4 cup milk for 2-3 hours, peeled
Grind to a fine paste
2 cups boiled onion paste (approx 1 or 2 raw onions according to American standards)
*Drained almonds along with milk (discard peels)
1/2 tsp shahjire
1 tbsp kashmiri chili powder or paprika (only for color)
2 green cardamoms
4-5 black peppercorns
7-8 fresh mint leaves(optional)
1 Tbsp ghee/clarified butter
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp Ghee/clarified butter
1 tbsp raisins
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp Mughlai Garam Masala
Garnish 3 (optional)
2 tbsp warm milk
few strands of saffron
1. Clean chicken and marinate with yogurt, salt, nutmeg powder and ginger garlic paste. Cover and set it aside in the fridge till ready to use.
2. Pressure cook peeled onion. Grind to paste.
3. Soak almonds in milk for about 3-4 hours. Peel and discard skins.
4. Grind boiled onion paste, soaked almonds with all the other spices using milk for soaking almonds. Use more milk if necessary.
5. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add bay leaves.
6. As they sizzle, add marinated chicken along with the marinade. Saute for about 10 minutes.
7. Add ground masala paste. Mostly chicken would have enough moisture for pressure cooking. If not, add 1/2 cup water. Pressure cook. If not using pressure cooker, let the chicken cook by covering the saucepan with a lid.
8. Let the pressure drop by its own. Simmer the curry till it is thicker than before. Adjust salt. Make sure that the gas is on low flame.
9. In a small saucepan, melt ghee. Add raisins and saute till they are plump. Add the plump raisins to the simmering curry.
10. Now, add heavy cream and mughlai garam masala. Continue simmering on a low flame.
11. If using saffron, place saffron threads on a stainless steel spoon. Hold it over a gas flame for few seconds. Dip in a warm milk.
12. When serving the chicken curry, you can drizzle this saffron milk for an additional garnish. But this may make the curry yellower!
1. Cashews can be substituted for almonds.
2. You can vary the consistency of the curry depending on the type of bread you are serving. e.g. if you are serving this curry along with Rumali Roti, let the consistency be thick. But if you are serving it with pav or French boule, then you could make the curry with thin consistency to soak up the bread.