Monday, 3 March 2014

Murgh Masala

Well, if you twist my arm...

...I think I can manage another chicken curry! This one is so popular, it's another Punjabi chicken curry and well-loved, so well worth adding to your curry favourites!.

Serves four, easily halved or doubled. Really simple Punjabi soul food, easy to make and delicious!

Calories per serving: 270 if using chicken breasts, 357 if using chicken thighs (without skin). You could also just use a whole chicken jointed, or whatever chicken joints you have to hand, skinned (and on the bone).
You could even make this using leftover chicken/turkey from a Sunday roast, making the curry sauce first and just adding the diced cooked meat to heat through at the end. On a healthy day, you could serve it with a small serving of boiled/steamed rice, or plenty of cauliflower ‘rice’. If you're not counting calories, don't feel like you have to measure the oil...

Murgh Masala – Punjabi Chicken Curry

  • 600g chicken breast fillets (4)/mini-fillets/tenders/chicken thighs (skinless, on the bone) or drumsticks or whole legs, skinned and trimmed of all visible fat (you could buy a whole chicken for this if you wish, and portion it up into eight) – cut the chicken breast meat into large cubes, or if you’re using skinless thighs (or drumsticks) you can leave them whole and on the bone if you prefer [660 skinless breast/1008 skinless thighs]
  • 6 fat cloves garlic [36]
  • 3 inches ginger root, peeled and grated [11]
  • Seeds from 4 cardamom pods, crushed [2]
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves (or just use 2 or 3 whole cloves) [1]
  • 1 tsp ground cinammon (or one small stick) [15]
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander [18]
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin [24]
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder [3]
  • ½ tsp turmeric [4]
  • 2 tsp garam masala [14]
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 fresh green chillies, pricked with a sharp knife*, or two long dried red chillies [5]
  • 1 tbsp ghee/coconut oil/sunflower oil (not sunflower for Paleo) [135]
  • 1 medium onion [41]
  • 1 bay leaf [-]
  • 3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped (you don’t need to skin them), or use one tin (400g) [100]
  • 1 very large handful coriander, chopped [11]


1. Finely grate the garlic and ginger and set aside. If you wish, you can put the garlic cloves, and ginger peeled and chopping into chunks into a food processer instead, and whizz up. Measure out all of the spices and salt into another bowl together, and set aside with the dried chillies (if using instead of green).

2. Heat the oil in a good non-stick pan, and add the onions and bay leaf, and cook for about 8-10 minutes until browned, but not burnt (i.e. dark brown – add a tbsp or so of water if you think they’re burning). Add the garlic and ginger paste with the green chillies and cook for another couple of minutes, being careful not to burn.

3. Add the chicken, cooking for a few minutes until just lightly coloured (not cooked through), then add the bowl of spices stirring thoroughly, and cooking for another couple of minutes. 

4a. If using cubed chicken breast meat (or cubed thigh meat), add the chopped tomatoes and about a cup (250ml) water. Stir in, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer very gently for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through (don’t overcook chicken breast, or it will dry out). Stir in the coriander, reserving a little to sprinkle on the top and serve.

4b. If using chicken thighs/drumsticks/jointed chicken on the bone, enough water to come up about an inch high in the pan. Stir in, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer very gently for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally (if it looks like it’s drying out, add a little more water). Add the chopped tomatoes, and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Stir in the coriander, reserving a little to sprinkle on the top and serve.

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