In these three years of blogging, cooking curries from South Asia and South East Asia has been one of the most interesting themes that I have followed. Before starting on this venture I had honestly no idea that this simple word “curry” encompasses a vast variety of dishes with an infinite spice blend variations. Kashmiri curries and Kashmiri spice blend has been one such wonderful discovery for my taste buds.
Meat preparations are an important part of Kashmiri cuisine, in fact the famous “wazwan” (a multi-course meal) made on special occasions is almost entirely based on meaty dishes. While lamb and mutton are the most popular meat forms, chicken and fish recipes hold an important place too in the cuisine. Beef, onion and garlic are mostly avoided based on the centuries old principles of Kashmiriat, the values that promote religious and cultural harmony among the people of the valley.
In absence of onions and garlic, Kashmiri curries use liberal quantities of asafoetida, fennel, dry ginger, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf. This Kashmiri spice blend gives a distinct taste to curries which is deeper and have a lasting warmth. Kashmiri Chicken curry is not punch-in-the-face kind of hot but something that you crave to eat on a cold or rainy evening, something that keeps you warm and comfortable, something that brings to life a special occasion and something that makes fond memories.
I must thank here all my friends and followers for appreciating my food endeavours these past three years. I am a foodaholic and my journey to explore new ingredient, flavour combinations, spice blends continues! Your suggestions, comments and feedback will remain my most cherished reward.
For Kashmiri Chicken Curry:
3 tomatoes, puréed
1 cup thick yogurt
3tablespoons ghee or sunflower oil
salt to taste
1/4 cup almonds
For Kashmiri Spice Blend:
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fennel
6-7 black pepper corns
Seeds from 4 green cardamoms
1/2 inch piece of dry ginger (saunth) or 1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 bay leaf
This Is What You Do:
Add all the dry spices for Kashmiri Spice Blend into the dry mill and grind to fine powder.
Heat oil in a deep pan on medium heat. Add chicken pieces and fry till juices are sealed in and the meat is golden.
Add the dry spice blend and sauté for a minute.
Add tomato purée, reduce heat to medium low and cover the pan. Allow the chicken to simmer in its own juices and tomato purée for almost 7-8 minutes.
Beat the yogurt smooth, add to the curry and cover the pan again. Reduce heat to low and cook another 10 minutes or till the liquid in the pan is reduced.
Remove the lid, turn heat to medium and sauté the contents of the pan till curry masala separates from oil.
Add 1 cup water, cover the pan, turn the heat back down to the lowest possible and cook another 5-6 minutes.
Add almonds to a bowl, cover with water. Microwave for 2 minutes. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the nut and the kernel will pop out of the skin easily.
Garnish the curry with almonds and serve hot with steamed rice, pulao or naan.