Kisho Umar

Chicken with Spices and Methi

Serve with boiled Basmati rice or fried rice with browned onions. Naan bread is also a good accompaniment.

3 lbs skinless chicken pieces (bone in) 1.5 kg
2 tsp sea salt, divided 10 mL
2 cups plain yogurt 500 mL
1 piece (1 inch/2.5 cm) fresh gingerroot 1
3 tbsp clarified butter (ghee) or vegetable oil 45 mL
1 onion, sliced 1
6 cloves garlic, minced 6
1 tbsp ground cumin 15 mL
1/2 tsp turmeric 2 mL
1/2 tsp ground red chili 2 mL
2 tomatoes, chopped 2
2 tbsp tomato paste 30 mL
1 long red chili, seeded and minced 1
1 green chili, seeded and minced 1
1 tbsp garam masala (recipe follows) 15 mL
2 tbsp dry methi (fenugreek leaves) 30 mL
1/2 cup frozen fenugreek leaves 125 mL
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves 125 mL

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place in bowl and add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt and the yogurt; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut 2 slices off of gingerroot and cut into slivers; set aside for garnish. Mince remaining gingerroot; set aside.
In large pot, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until browned. Stir in ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric and ground red chili. Add ?? water and bring to simmer. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste. Puree with an immersion blender (or transfer to blender and return to pot) until smooth. Stir in red and green chilies and garam masala. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until oil separates from the mixture (masala). Stir in chicken coating with sauce. Cover, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside and juices run clear. The oil should have separated from the masala and will have a beautiful red colour. Taste and add as much of remaining salt as necessary. Sprinkle with dried methi, fresh fenugreek, coriander and reserved gingerroot. Do not stir. Cover tightly and transfer to 250ºF (130ºC) oven or on low heat on stove top for 5 to 10 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Garam Masala

This can be prepared with whole spices or purchased in a prepared ground mixture.

6 green cardamom pods 6
2 black cardamom pods 2
6 whole cloves 6
Half stick cinnamon, broken Half
1 or 2 dried bay leaves 1 or 2
1/4 tsp ground mace 1 mL
1/4 tsp cumin seeds 1 mL

Remove seeds from green and black cardamom pods; discard pods. In spice grinder, combine cardamom seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, mace and cumin seeds. Grind until fine powder. Use immediately or store in an airtight container. Makes about 1 tbsp (15 mL).

Masoor and Split Moong Daal

There are several kinds of daals (lentils) and no Pakistani meal is complete without having one of the daals with it. Daal can be eaten with rice or bread, or even as a healthy soup.

1 cup masoor daal (brown lentils) or red lentils 250 mL
1 cup moong daal (small yellow split lentils) 250 mL
1 tbsp vegetable oil 15 mL
3 whole cloves 3
2 bay leaves 2
1 piece (2-inches/5 cm) fresh gingerroot, 1
1 piece (2-inches/5 cm) cinnamon stick 1
1/2 tsp ground turmeric 2 mL
1 fresh hot green chili, finely chopped 1
1 tsp salt (or to taste) 5 mL
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp garam masala (recipe above) 5 mL
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) 30 mL
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil 50 mL
1 onion, chopped 1
3 cloves garlic, chopped 3
3 whole cloves 3
2 bay leaves 2
1/2 tsp ground cumin 2 mL

In fine sieve or bowl, rinse daals and pick through for any stones or shells. Drain and transfer to large pot. Add 4 cups (1 L) water (or half water and half chicken stock) and oil. Bring to boil, skimming off any foam on the surface. Add cloves, bay leaves, gingerroot, cinnamon stick, turmeric and green chili. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until daals are very soft. The consistency should be thicker than soup. Stir in salt to taste and lemon juice. Set aside.
Tarka: In skillet, heat ghee over medium-high heat; cook onion, stirring, until browned. Stir in garlic, cloves, bay leaves and cumin; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Pour over daal in pot and stir in garam masala and coriander. Makes 8 to 10 servings.