March 9, 2017

Cranberry Spicy Chicken Curry

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The name of the recipe may sound a bit strange to some and may also raise few eyebrows, especially those who have reservations about mixing fruit with meat. Well, let me tell you that I am one of them too! I remember when I first moved to the UK and went shopping, I discovered apricot wrapped in parma ham, chicken with pineapple and cashew nuts, pork sausages with apple sauce and many others. I would simply snarl at these combinations and move on. My first attempt of trying a meat and fruit combination was at my first traditional Christmas Lunch where we were served Roast Turkey with Cranberry sauce. I had discretely shoved the cranberry sauce at the far corner of the plate but after tasting the almost bland turkey, I thought perhaps adding a bit of sauce may give it a much needed punch! So I braved the combination I had so avoided all these years and BOY was I blown!! It not only lifted the flavour of the bland turkey but the taste of salt with sweet and sour was indeed very tantalising. It reminded me a bit of the sweet chutneys from back home, the difference being that it was almost always served with something vegetarian like potatoes, peas or Indian breads. And hence began yet another saga of trial and error with fruit and meat combos!! In fact I also tried fish with fruit and fruit juices too, some as usual went straight from the wok to the bin and few ended up with clean plates ???? !

Its not that Indian cuisine does not use fruit with meat, infact during my research I found that the Kashmiri cuisine uses a lot of fruits and nuts in their dishes since the weather in very conducive to growing fresh fruits such as apricots, apples, pears, cherries and grapes. Both fresh and dry fruits are used to embellish and add to popular kashmiri dishes such as Kashmiri Pulao, Khubani Gosht Korma (meat in apricot based gravy)Murg Alu Bukhara (chicken in plum gravy). When added with robust spices such as Cinnamon, Cardamom, Black Pepper and Saffron it imparts a very distinct taste and flavour which simply put is like a successful arranged marriage!!

This recipe below has nothing to do with Kashmiri cuisine at all but just my own interpretation of combining the two adverse food substances and creating something unique! Hope you like it!

Cranberry Spicy Chicken Curry

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                           Yield: 4

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

A blend of sweet fruit, tangy yogurt and ground spices gives this spicy cranberry chicken a unique taste.

Ingredients

For the Cashew Paste
  • Cashew nuts – 8 -10 kernels
  • Poppy seeds (optional) – 2 tsp
  • Star Anise – 1 piece
  • Mace (optional) – 1 piece
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
  • Green Cardamom – 4
  • Pepper corns – 8
  • Ginger – 1 inch
  • Garlic – 6 pods

Instructions

To make the Paste
  1. Put all the ingredients listed under the cashew paste in a grinder adding just enough water to grind it into a smooth paste. Since making a fine paste with poppy seeds can be a bit tricky in case you do not have a good blender then I suggest not to use it as the coarse poppy seeds will spoil the texture of the dish.
  2. Mix the paste with the yogurt and keep aside to use later.                                                                                                       Frying the Masala
  3. Heat oil/ghee or combination of both in a pan.
  4. Fry the onions in the oil for about 3-5 minutes until it becomes light brown and then add the ground spices that is turmeric, chilli powder and cumin powder to the onions and fry for a minute further.IMG_1161
  5. Next add the chicken pieces to the onion masala and stir well with the onion masala for about a minute Add the cashew paste and cook for about 5 minutes.IMG_1162
  6. The cashew paste will change into a light brown colour and you will see droplets of oil coming out of the masala in the pan as you fry it.Let it coat the chicken well.IMG_0515
  7. Next add a cup of water or less to the chicken, cover it and let it simmer for 5 minutes.The water should be just enough to make it into a thick gravy and not watery.IMG_1166
  8. Uncover the chicken, add the cranberry sauce and garam masala powder stir it in well with the chicken gravy, cover and cook for further 3-4 minutes stirring once a while until the water has almost dried and covers the chicken in a thick paste like gravy.IMG_1164
  9. Your sweet, savoury spicy cranberry chicken is ready to serve. It goes best with Indian breads such as roti, paranthas or naans.IMG_1168 (1)

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