Clever cumin

Mallika Basu - Clever cumin


jeera-chicken-small.jpgDid you all have good Christmases? Mine had all the makings of a traditional festive session – drunkenness, senility and a verbal catfight. And lots and lots of eating, of course.

Having finally settled back into work and realised the true meaning of the second box of chocolate bicuits I consumed – I am now thinking hard about the get-back-to-shape diet.

I have memories of my mother permanently dieting throughout my childhood. She was always coming up with devious ways of serving up low calorie Indian feasts without us noticing.

One trick she used with recipes was to marinade the meat beforehand to tenderise it and give it more flavour. The other was to not use onions because they soak up all the oil when they brown.

Jeera chicken uses both clever techniques. The marinating does add to cooking time, but let’s be honest – all it requires is for the chicken to be left sitting in a corner after five minutes of fussing. Also, without the onion you don’t get a gloopy curry sauce.

I made this for hubby and he licked the plate clean. This recipe serves two very hungry people and is best served with roti:

4 tbsp thick Greek yoghurt
500gms of chicken, roughly 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks
1 tsp whole cummin
2 tsp jeera powder
Quarter tsp chilli powder
Quarter tsp turmeric powder
4 cloves garlic
1″ ginger
Quarter tsp garam masala
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Make deep gashes along the sides of the chicken. Marinate the chicken pieces in the yoghurt and cummin powder for an hour. Chop finely or puree the ginger and garlic.

After an hour, heat the oil and when hot add the ginger and garlic. When they start turning brown, add the whole cummin, the turmeric and chilli powders. The cummin will sizzle up and when it does, add the chicken along with the marinade.

Fry for a few minutes on either side and when slightly brown, lower the flame, cover and simmer until cooked. Only add water if the chicken starts sticking to the pan. This dish is cooked in the yoghurt and the chicken’s own juices.

Add salt to taste and serve hot.

Comments are closed.