Chicken Pasanda - A Mild Creamy Curry
In Hindi and Urdu, the words 'pasand' or 'pasanda' mean 'like' or 'liked' or 'to like' depending upon the verb it is used with. Pasanda means that the dish is to everyone's liking; children, beginner meat eaters and old hands alike. It is of a creamy consistency, chicken being marinated in a mix of yoghurt, ground almonds, onion, ginger and garlic. It is mildly flavoured with cardamoms, cinnamon and spices and it is not very hot. If you are looking for a hot curry, this is not the dish for you! It is an easy dish to cook, specially for the beginners. It is made with boneless pieces of chicken that have been beaten/flattened with a wooden hammer. Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients, it is an easy dish to make. Serves 4
500 gm good quality chicken piece of approximately 2 inch each. Breast pieces are good for this recipe
100 gm. natural yoghurt
Salt to taste
2 level tsp. coriander powder
1 level tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. or to taste, chilli powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika, for colour
2-3 green chillies, chopped (optional)
1 medium onion, peeled and grated or ground to a paste*
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and grated or ground*
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or ground*
2 tbsp. ground almonds
*These 3 can be ground together in a blender.
2-3 tbsp. ghee
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. methi or fenugreek seeds
2-3 large, brown cardamoms
2 bay leaves
1-2 inch piece cinnamon stick
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced/chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
A handful of chopped coriander leaves
Flatten chicken pieces by beating with a wooden hammer.
Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl and add chicken to it. Mix and leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight in a fridge. Allow it to come back to room temperature before cooking.
Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan.
Add cumin, fenugreek, cardamoms, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cloves. When cumin seeds crackle or splutter, add sliced onion and fry until dark golden brown.
Add chicken and water. Close lid and cook on medium heat until chicken is tender. You will need to stir it from time to time, to ensure that it does not 'catch'.
Raise heat towards the end, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Ghee will separate at this stage.
You can add 2 tbsp. of dry methi leaves to the marinade.
You can add 1/2 a cup of sour cream at step 7 for an extra creamy taste.
Tips for cooking with yoghurt:
Always use full fat yoghurt, if possible. Skimmed milk yoghurt sometimes curdles during cooking. If you wish to use low fat yoghurt, add 1 heaped teaspoon of plain or corn flour per cup of yoghurt.
If yoghurt is cooked straight from the fridge, it may curdle. It helps to have it at room temperature.
When adding yoghurt during cooking, take out a few tablespoons of the hot food in a bowl, mix yoghurt, warming it a bit and then stir it back into the hot dish.
Substitute sour cream for yoghurt, using only half the amount.