Murg Iaychi (Chicken Cardamom)
To serve 6 to 8
- 1 cup unflavored yoghurt
- The seeds of 12 cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 2 tablespoons scraped, finely shopped fresh ginger root
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground hot red pepper
- 2 chickens, 2 ½ to 3 pounds each
- 4 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
- 3 tablespoons boiling water
- ½ cup ghee
- A 3-inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- ½ cup cold water
First prepare the masala in the following fashion: Combine the yoghurt, cardamom, ginger, garlic fennel and red pepper in the jar of an electric blender and blend at high speed for 30 seconds. Turn off the machine, scrape down the sides of the jar with a rubber spatula, and blend again until the spices are pulverized and the masala reduced to a smooth puree.
Pat the chickens completely dry inside and out with paper towels and truss them securely. Rub the salt firmly into the skin of both birds and place them in a large shallow baking dish. With your hands or a rubber spatula, spread the skin of each bird with the masala. Marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, place the saffron threads in a small bowl or cup, pour in 3 tablespoons of boiling water, and let them soak for at least 10 minutes.
In a heavy casserole large enough to hold he chickens side by side, heat the ghee over moderate heat until a drop of water flicked into it splutters instantly. Add the cinnamon and cloves and cook, stirring, until they are evenly coated with ghee. Add he onions and, stirring constantly, fry for 7 or 8 minutes, until they are soft and a delicate gold color. Watch for any sign of burning and regulate the heat accordingly.
Place the birds in the casserole, pour in all the masala, and add the saffron and its soaking liquid. Turning the chickens frequently, cook over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, or until the birds color lightly without really browning and the ghee separates from the masala and rises to the surface. Stir in the ½ cup of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Immediately reduce the heat to low. Cover the casserole with a piece of aluminum foil, crimping it at the edges to hold it securely, and set the lid firmly in place. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the chickens are tender but not falling apart. Remove the casserole from the heat and let the chickens rest, recovered, for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
To serve, transfer the chickens to a deep serving platter. Discard the cinnamon stick and cloves, and moisten the birds with the sauce remaining in the casserole.
by : inforesep