Archives for posts with tag: masala

We have been gone a while, trekking and eating through South East Asia. Over our stop in Singapore, we have found some really great Hainan chicken rice, Indian curries and Katong laksa. The components of a good Hainan chicken rice are the tender meat that is expertly cooked, fragrant chicken broth infused rice and perfectly concocted ginger & chili sauces.

Heng Heng Hainanese Chicken Rice at the Maxwell hawker food center.

Little India, where colorful temples and mosques, shophouses stocked with spices, gold and incense lined the streets. We found a small, unpretentious corner food stall mobbed by locals.  Despite the heat, loud street noise and wobbly plastic stools, the food had our undivided attention. It was simple, spicy and straightforwardly good.

Last but not least, Katong laksa–made with slightly sweet coconut curry and strong aromatics. The noodles are cut up in small pieces so the soup can be eaten with the only utensil provided, the spoon. The version we had eaten had shrimp, strips of fish cake, bean sprouts and garnished with laksa leaves and sambal chili paste that was available on each dining table.

This recipe was given to me from a house cook one summer in Simla, India about 10 years ago. I’ve made the same recipe for years and it’s so super delicious and nostalgic. This time, we didn’t use a food processor so the sauce came out a bit chunky; nonetheless it was still very good. If you can’t get ghee, substitute with any vegetable oil is fine. We don’t cook the chicken in the sauce too long as the meat will toughen up. If you follow the recipe, you will get a very tender and satisfying butter chicken masala!  Go here to grab your Indian spices, Bhoomi Store @ 266 Yaohong lu near by Honsong lu. 姚虹路266号近虹淞路。

2 boneless chicken breast
4 boneless chicken thigh or leg
2 tablespoons ghee, or clarified butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-5 red chilies, finely chopped (depending on how spicy you want)
1 piece ginger, 2″
5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick, 1″
2 large onions, chopped
5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cardamon
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon red chili powder
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup cream

Cut the chicken in large chunks then marinade in the yogurt, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon each of the garlic and ginger (minced), and a pinch of salt for 2 hours.

In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon ghee on medium-high heat with 5 cloves, 1″ cinnamon stick, garlic, chilies and ginger piece until fragrant. Now add in the chopped onions and saute until translucent. Turn the heat down to low, add in tomatoes, garam masala, cardamon and red chili powder. Cover and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

If you had a food processor, this is when you want to blend the sauce until smooth. Before blending, take out the cinnamon stick and ginger, blend the rest of the spices together. Return the sauce to the pan, add the cream and continue to simmer. (If you don’t have a blender, just remove the cinnamon stick, ginger piece and cloves.)

In a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon ghee and brown the chicken pieces on all sides until just cooked through. Season with salt while cooking. Add chicken pieces to the sauce, stir and serve immediately with basmati rice!

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