Monday, 14 April 2008

Chicken with Sliced Lemon and Fried Onions

Do you love lemons? I do, they are my favourite, sweet or savoury, and honestly 9 times out of 10 a squeeze of lemon makes a dish better! In my book, anyway.

So, when I saw a Madhur Jaffrey on Serious Eats for a chicken curry focused on lemon I knew I'd love it. I organised a curry night with our newly wed friends, Merryn and Jamie and started this wonderful concoction.

It didn't take too long to prepare, but I did let it bubble away on the stove, on a low simmer for an extra 30 minutes to an hour. The end result is a delicious thick gravy with tender tasty chicken. It was devoured by all. Its not too spicy, or to Indian-ey either, like Robin Bellinger, I think this would be enjoyed even by those who think they don't like Indian food or curries.

Go ahead, give it a go, I will most definitely be trying it again.

1.5kg bone-in, skinless chicken pieces (I used all thighs; it’s easy to remove the skin yourself, if you can’t find bone-in, skinless parts)
3 medium onions
Ginger fresh, about 1-inch cube, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
2 tbs plain yogurt
4 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 whole lemon
1 tbs sugar
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper

If the chicken pieces are skin-on, remove the skin. Rinse and pat dry.
Peel the onions. Chop two of them coarsely and put them into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Cut the third one in half lengthwise, then slice it into thin half-rounds and set aside.

Add 6 tablespoons of water, the ginger, and the garlic to the onions in the food processor or blender and blend at high speed until you have a smooth paste.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a 10-12 inch pot over medium-high flame. When hot, put in the sliced onions and fry them, stirring, until they are darkish brown and crisp, though not burned. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and leave them to drain on paper towels.

In the same oil, brown the chicken pieces on all sides until they are golden. Do this speedily over high flame so the chicken browns but does not cook through. I did the thighs about 2 minutes per side. You will need to do it in at least 2 batches. Remove the chicken with slotted spoon to a bowl or plate.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot. Pour in the paste from the blender (turn your face away!). Stirring, fry on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the paste turns a nice golden brown. Now put in the coriander, cumin, and turmeric and fry, stirring continuously; after another 2 minutes add yogurt, a teaspoon at a time; after 2 or 3 minutes, the tomato sauce, a tablespoon at a time, continuing to stir and fry. Finally, add salt, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne pepper, and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Cut the lemon into 4 or 5 slices, discarding the end pieces, and remove the seeds. Add lemon slices along with the chicken pieces, fried onions, sugar, and the ground pepper to the sauce, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender, turning the pieces every now and then. If chicken sticks to the bottom of pot, add a little more water. You should end up with a very thick sauce.



KJ said...

Yes I love lemons. And this sounds delicious.

Chris said...

This sounds interesting...I am a huge fan of lemons, as they are a staple in my kitchen. I have to think about this one for a future dinner. :)