It’s something I always ordered when I went to dine out with my parents. There used to be this wonderful restaurant, called Kababish, in Gulberg – Lahore, where my parents and I went to dine almost every weekend before going to watch the 9 O’clock movie show. I almost always ordered the same stuff, Chicken Ginger Masala with Cumin Raita and Roghni Naan, and then tutti frutti ice cream for dessert.
That restaurant is long gone and the place taken over by some multi-storey building, my father is long gone and so is the excitement that I used to feel every Sunday, looking forward to my favourite scrumptious dinner and fun evening. But to this day, whenever I cook this dish, I relive those wonder moments once again with each bite. There is something very homely and comforting about the sweet and sour thick masala that coats the tender chicken pieces, with lots of depth, heat and texture from ginger.
Usually people associate ginger with Chinese stir fried dishes and think that Chicken Ginger Masala is just another curry dish with extra ginger garnishing on top of it. But when you will try this recipe, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that the curry clearly tastes of ginger. And has a unique taste of its own.
Don’t get scared with the quantity of onions and tomatoes going in with only 1/2 kg of chicken because we want to make lots of masala. Also the onions and tomatoes make a very delicious, caramelised sauce which tastes divine when scooped up with naan. This simple curry is definitely a variation of Karahi and Handi dishes, and iconic of Pakistani cuisine which uses very few and basic spices and lots of onions, garlic, tomatoes, ginger and herbs for flavouring.
3 medium onions, chopped
7-8 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger paste
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon red chillies
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee(clarified butter)
2 inch piece ginger, julienned
A small bunch coriander, chopped
Few green chilli peppers, chopped
This Is What You Do:
Heat oil in a deep pan on medium heat.
Add onions and fry till they are tender and light golden.
Add garlic, ginger paste and boneless chicken pieces. Cook for 5 minutes or till the chicken is light golden.
Add tomato puree, salt, red chilli powder and turmeric. Cover the pan and let chicken cook in tomato juices. Cook for almost 15 minutes or till the chicken is done and liquids sufficiently reduced in the pan.
Remove cover, add half of the julienned ginger. Rub cumin seeds between your palms t crush them a little and release their fragrance and flavour, and chuck into the curry. Keep stirring and cooking another 5 minutes or till the curry separates from oil. Since we didn’t add too much oil, you will only see a fine line on the edges.
Serve hot, garnished with remaining julienned ginger, chopped coriander and green chilli peppers.