Posted on | July 24, 2007 | 28 Comments |
I am ashamed to admit this, but when it comes to the myriad cuisines of India, I am more or less ignorant about most regional flavors other than a few. That is why I love the food event RCI – Regional Cuisines of India, brainchild of Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine. Even though I don’t participate every month, I look forward to the round up to learn more about the cuisine of the month.
This month’s RCI theme is Punjabi cuisine, another great genre that’s never been part of my cooking. I was first introduced to Punjabi cuisine at the Dhabas in Bangalore. Dhabas are small roadside shacks, traditionally built as a late night eatery for interstate truckers. Food is cooked in a small shed, and the restaurant seating consists of wooden benches and cots laid out under the open sky, with a background of Punjabi music blaring through the loudspeakers. Dhabas are supposedly truck stops, but you would find more software engineers than truckers in these dhabas in Bangalore. We used to frequent the dhabas after midnight – the oily, spicy, heavy dhaba food would just soak up all the alcohol from the bloodstream after a long night at the pub. Oh those were the days…
When my dear friend Richa of As Dear As Salt announced that she is hosting RCI-Punjab, I knew I will participate for sure, but had no idea what I’d cook though. So I went on a quest, and stumbled on a dish called Chicken Dilruba. The name made me smile, but I didn’t know what it is supposed to look like or taste like! Almost all the recipes I found were the exact same, so I have no idea where it originally came from. Here is the first place that I found this recipe. http://www.allaboutsikhs.com/punjab/cuisine-of-punjab-chicken-Dilruba.html
The recipe called for Punjabi Garam Masala, which I found here: http://www.indiacurry.com/spice/punjabigarammasala.htm
I made my own variations to the recipe, and the end product looked like this, with a little more gravy. Not sure if this is what it is supposed to look like, but it sure tasted great!
Here is my take on the recipe
Punjabi Garam Masala
- 1 tbsp Cardamom seeds
- 1 tbsp broken pieces of Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp cloves
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
- 3/4 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
Coarsely grind the above ingredients in a dry spice grinder or coffee grinder, or pound in a mortar and pestle
- 2.5 lbs medium chicken pieces skin removed
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- To Grind
- 1.5 cups cut onion pieces
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped ginger pieces
- 1.5 tbsp Punjabi Garam Masala (Recipe above)
- 1 cup milk
- To Powder
- 1/4 cup cashew nuts
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 2 tbsp chopped Serrano peppers
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder (substitute ground cayenne)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 tbsp oil
- Salt to taste
- A few strands of saffron
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- To garnish
- 1 tbsp Fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp cashews/almonds
Grind the onions and ginger in a food processor to form a smooth paste.
Powder the almonds and cashew nuts and stir into the cup of milk and keep aside.
Soak the saffron strands in 2-3 tbsps milk and keep aside.
Heat oil in a deep pan and fry the onion-ginger paste till all the water is gone, and the mixture starts to brown.
Add the chicken pieces and yogurt and mix well. Cook on medium high until all the liquid is gone and the chicken pieces starts to brown.
Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, chopped pepper, salt and garam masala and stir well to combine. Fry for a minute and add the powdered nuts and milk mixture.
Cook over medium heat until the chicken pieces are tender and the sauce is thickened.
Add the soaked saffron along with the milk, and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and nuts.
Serve hot with chapattis or rice.
This goes to dear Richa for RCI-Punjab.
It is my turn to host A Fruit A Month in August. I’ve shortlisted to Lychees (In season right now), Papaya(always a favorite) and Grapes (Boring, but common and easy).
Help me pick one, caste your vote on the left sidebar. Let democracy rule!