Monday, March 19, 2018

Chicken Bhuna: Moghul Cuisine of North West India

This robust Chicken Bhuna recipe by chef Peter Joseph of Tamarind, one of only nine Michelin-starred Indian restaurants in the world, is incredibly simple to make. "I love spices and I love using different combinations to produce fantastic flavours all within an authentically Indian cooking style. Over the years my cooking knowledge has grown and I have been able to explore new ideas and areas of India that have influenced my dishes. I lean towards more traditional Indian flavours influenced by the northwest, and find the history of Mughal cuisine, biryanis, curries and kebabs fabulous". The origins of the bhuna curry can be traced back to the Bengal area of northeast India and western Bangladesh, and refer to the traditional cooking technique where spices are fried in very hot oil, until they have formed a lovely thick paste. Meat or vegetables are then added to these fried spices and cooked in the curry to bring out its distinguished, deep flavours. Characterized by a thick, deliciously intense sauce with a well spiced and lively heat, Bhunas are perfect for warming the cockles on a chilly winter evening — ideal served with fluffy basmati rice and warm naan.

Chef Peter Joseph of Tamarind in Mayfair

Chicken Bhuna

Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of chef Peter Joseph, Tamarind Mayfair

6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, diced into 1 inch chunks

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp of ginger, chopped
2 onions, diced
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
5 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp of coriander, chopped
3 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 pinch of salt

Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan or wok, and add the garlic, green chillies and ginger. Mix them for a minute in the hot oil then add the chopped onions. Stir and leave to cook over a medium heat for about 20-25 minutes. Once the onions have turned a golden brown colour, add the turmeric, chilli, cumin, coriander and garam masala powders. Stir and cook for about a minute, then add the chopped tomatoes with 1/2 cup of water and a good pinch of salt. Stir together, cover the pan and allow it to come to a boil. Stir occasionally until the masala becomes lovely and thick, about 15-20 minutes. Add the chicken to the pan and coat the pieces in the masala so it’s all nicely covered. Cook over medium low, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and combined with the thick masala sauce, adding a little more water if necessary. Stir in the lemon juice to add a little zing and garnish with coriander to serve. A dollop of plain yogurt on top is the perfect crown for this 'saucy' curry.

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