Saturday, October 4, 2008

Recipe: Nepali-Indian Chicken Masala

Note: the following was taken from an adaptation of Friend's Restauarant, however the portions were not measured and should be taken as approximate.

I am not sure what region of Indian chicken masala originates from, but as it is a Nepali adaptation it probably doesn't affect the end dish. The masala indicates that this dish will be more spicy then the "chicken curry" equivalent (and oily too...), and this recipe can be taken as a generic Nepali masala base for other main ingredients (tofu, paneer, mixed vegetables etc...)

1 chicken breast, cut to 1in cubes
½ roma tomato, sliced
½ roma tomato, finely diced
2 onions, finely diced
cilantro, 1 handful, finely diced
¾ in butter (or ghee)
juice of ½ small fresh lime

3 tbsp curd (yoghurt may substitute)
1 tbsp chat masala (approx)*
1 tbsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
juice of ½ small fresh lime
red coloring (optional)

1 cup water
2 tbsp curry powder (approx, may be less)
2 heaping tbsp cumin powder (approx)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp MSG (optional)

Picture showing the first set of ingredients, with pre-diced tomato.

On the chicken breast, sprinkle the curd, chat masala, chili powder, and lime juice. Mix, and add salt, white pepper, and red coloring (optional). 

In a stir-fry pan with oil under medium heat, braise the chicken by leaving the pieces (not the entire marinade) on the pan until each side is golden-brown (flip). This may take up to 10 minutes. Remove from flame when finished.

While the chicken is braised, add 1 cup water, the curry powder and the cumin powder to the leftover marinade. Add more coloring (optional), and the salt and MSG (optional).

In a separate stir-fry pan under medium heat with oil, add the onion. Stir fry until brown, and then add finely diced tomato, along with butter and the leftover marinade. After a minute, add the cilantro and leftover tomato. Add the cooked chicken. Cook two minutes, adding water if necessary, and add the juice of the other lime half. Remove all of the contents of the pan but the oil; serve.

The chicken before red coloring is added

Braising the chicken

The marinade post-chicken and post-later additions, ready to be stir-fried

Post-diced tomato, pre-marinade addition

Completed dish

*According to the box (pictured above), chat masala contains white salt, black salt, dry mango, mint leaves, cumin seeds, bishop’s weed, yellow chilies, dried ginger.

Note: when stir-frying, water should be used if the mixture becomes too dry or burns; let it boil off to keep a broth consistency. The base sauce in this looks like tomato, onion, curd, and the spices, as opposed to the typical tomato and/or onion and/or garlic and/or garam-masala base, and the curd is probably the emulsifier.

Serves 1


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