This is a rich chicken curry, strongly flavored with methi (fenugreek). The recipe comes directly from my mother-in-law.
For the marinade:
- 1 c yogurt
- 1 tbsp ground coriander seed
- 1⁄2 tsp Kashmiri chile powder (pure peppers, not the Mexican spice blend)
- 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 2–3 green cardamom pods
- 2 black cardamom pods, or 1⁄4 tsp seeds
- 3–4 whole cloves
- 1–2 strands of mace
- 2–3 small pieces of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ghee
- salt to taste
- 2 lb bone-in, skinless chicken parts, or 1 lb boneless
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3–4 cloves of garlic
- 2 inches peeled ginger
- 4–6 green chiles
- 2 c chopped methi leaves and stems
- 1⁄4 c cream (up to 1 c for a more liquid curry)
- chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
- Grind the spices, toast them in the ghee, whisk the resulting paste into the yogurt, and salt to taste. Marinate the chicken for 30m.
- Grind the chopped onion, garlic, and half the ginger and chiles. Saute the resulting masala until the raw smell is gone (3–4 minutes).
- Add the methi and saute for another 3–4 minutes.
- Add the chicken and marinade, stir, and simmer until chicken is just shy of tender (6–8 minutes).
- Slit remaining green chiles and julienne remaining ginger. Add chiles, ginger, and cream, then cook until chicken is tender (2–3 minutes).
- Adjust seasoning, then garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
- Fresh methi is much milder than dried (kasoori) methi. If there’s no fresh methi available, this recipe is also good with 2–3 tbsp kasoori methi and 2 c of another leafy green.
- Kashmiri chile powder is mildly spicy, somewhat floral, and bright red. Even in India, actual Kashmiri chiles are in short supply; the most common substitute is the Byadagi chile from Karnataka, which is also mild and deeply red. Chile is usually spelled “chilli” in India (where there’s no chili con carne to confuse things). If unavailable, substitute deggi mirch (a mix of red bell peppers and chiles) or 3 parts spicy paprika and 1 part cayenne pepper.
- Mace is the lacy covering around the nutmeg seed. It’s also expensive, rarely used, and loses flavor rapidly once ground. A mix of nutmeg and allspice is a good substitute.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast is convenient, but doesn’t have the depth of flavor of bone-in cuts. To deepen the curry’s flavor, add 1 tsp concentrated stock or demi-glace to the yogurt marinade.