May 6, 2005

Cardamom and Black Pepper Chicken

Cardamom Recipe #2

There are many versions of this recipe floating around London's Indian restaurants, and it was probably created by a British-Indian chef. It is a quick and really delicious dish, perfectly geared to restaurant cooking since boneless chicken breasts are convenient to buy and prepare. The marination can be done ahead of time and individual orders take just minutes to cook.

Cardamom and Black Pepper Chicken
from from curries to kebabs

For marinating the chicken:
6 TBSP finely chopped onion
2-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound boned and skinned chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices

For cooking the chicken:
3 TBSP corn, peanut, or olive oil
1 medium stick of cinnamon
8 whole cardamom pods
1 cup onion, sliced into fine half rings
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4 TBSP plain yogurt
5 TBSP grated tomato
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garam masala
2 to 3 tsp lemon juice

To make the marinade: Put the onion, ginger, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper and 3 TBSP water into a blender. Blend to a smooth paste, pushing down with rubber spatula when needed.

To marinate the chicken: Put the sliced chicken in a bowl. Add the marinade and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

To make the dish: Pour the oil into a wide, nonstick pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cinnamon and cardamom. Stir for 10 seconds. Put in the onion and fry, stirring at the same time, for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the onion turns a reddish-brown color. Add the cumin and coriander. Stir once. Add the yogurt, 1 TBSP at a time, and stir until it is absorbed. Add the tomato and stir for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium, add the chicken, together with its marinade, and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the chicken pieces turn white. Add 3/4 cup water, the salt, and garam masala. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring now and then.

Serves 4.

Notes: I keep ginger in a jar in the fridge for ease of use, and used about 1 1/2 TBSP in this recipe, and might kick it up to 2 TBSP next time around. I ordered both black and green cardamom pods from Penzey's for this month's expeirments. I've never cooked with whole pods before. For this recipe, I used the green ones, even though the book didn't specify, as they are more common. I had the chicken in the marinade for the full three hours.

Mise en place is very important for this recipe as the ingredients are at first added in such quick succession. I also learned (after a quick online search) that grated tomato means exactly what it says - using the coarsest side of a box grater, which leaves just the pulp in your hand, but watch out for your fingertips. I served it over cous-cous, and the juices soaked down through. Very tasty. Though the book claims this serves 4, two of us shared this and had very little in the way of leftovers.

Posted by Jennifer at May 6, 2005 1:04 PM

Quite good indeed, with layers of flavor. I need to remember to be more careful about not accidently (or purposely) eating the cooked cardamom pods next time though....*wry grin*

Posted by: Michael at June 5, 2005 10:05 AM

Found your website while surfing and was intrigued by your recipes. The photos look great by the way.
Tried this dish for the first time tonight. I did not have yogurt on hand so used light sour cream instead. The dish came out nice. At first try, it seemed to lack a "je ne sais quoi", but after I added more salt (I used less than the suggested amount) and I couldn't resist adding some heavy cream, it tasted just great. Had a nice blend of flavor from the spices. A definite keeper. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Jennifer at July 19, 2005 8:03 PM
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