Some recipes sound so intimidating on the restaurant menus that we assume they will take a lot of time to cook in our own kitchens. The truth is that many traditional Pakistani chicken curries are very easy and quick one-pot recipes.
Badami Murgh is one such Mughlai Chicken Curry that has the rich indulgent creaminess, a hallmark of Mughal cuisine, and smells heavenly with spices and rose water, but gets done in one pot within half an hour.
The creaminess in this dish is created by a paste of almonds and yoghurt, without adding any heavy cream to the dish.
Traditionally, people de-skin the almonds first to use with this recipe. I’m always looking for shortcuts to save some time in the kitchen wherever I can, so I add whole almonds to the food processor.
While slivered almonds contain all of the nutrients found in the meat of whole nuts, they miss the beneficial compounds found in the nut skin. So why waste the time and those healthy almond skins when it doesn’t make a tiny bit of difference to the taste or the texture of the curry?
You can easily double the recipe ingredients to make an extra batch to freeze.
1/2 kg boneless chicken cut into cubes
1 cup almonds
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 medium onion sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger
1/2 teaspoon green cardamom seeds (choti alaychi)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
1 teaspoon cumin powder (zeera)
1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, sunflower oil or ghee (clarified butter)
1 teaspoon rose water for aroma (optional)
a few green chillies chopped for garnishing
This Is What You Do:
Add almonds, yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander powder and salt to a food processor. Whiz to make a smooth paste.
Marinate chicken pieces in almond paste while you fry the onions.
Heat the oil in a deep pan, fry the onions on medium heat till golden.
Add cardamom seeds to onions and fry for a couple of seconds.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the onions. Fry for 2-3 minutes or till the chicken is golden on the outside.
Add the marinade to the pan. Cover the pan and let it simmer on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Let the liquid reduce and masala separate from oil. You can add a little water at this stage if the sauce seems too thick for your liking.
Add rose water if using.
Garnish with green chilli peppers. Serve hot with bread or rice.