Forget the Kitchen Stadium, for many home cooks it becomes an everyday challenge to rack her brains over dinner ideas. I usually struggle and remain pretty undecided till the time I actually start cooking. Sometimes things fall in place and impressively so. Sometimes I flip through cookbooks, and close them with equal enthusiasm for their list of elaborate ingredients. The rest of the times I look for inspirations in my own cooking.
Last evening I made this Chicken Curry where the base was made with a paste of poppy seeds (posto) and cashews (kaju).
Another thing I’d like clarify here (before PETA comes knocking on my door) is that I am not trying to cannibalize the hen you see in the picture. Its just a porcelain planter I picked from a downtown store yesterday and thought it makes for a good prop for my nameless chicken dish.
(Though just between you and me, when I was little we had a parrot called Mithu; he loved Chicken Maggi Noodles and wouldn’t eat chana sprouts or chilies as good green parrots ought to. So we were forced to give him Maggi Noodles with real chicken pieces, he wouldn’t have it any other way!)
Ingredients for Kaju Posto Chicken are:
750 grams chicken (I used skinless, bone-in breast portions)
1 red onion, roughly chopped
150 ml ready to use tomato paste (if you don’t have this, purée two ripe tomatoes at home and use)
7-8 green chilies, slit lengthwise
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
Handful of cashews and 2 tablespoons poppy seeds made into a thick, smooth paste
1 teaspoon red chili powder
4 tablespoons canola oil
Heat canola oil in a pan and sear the whole chicken breasts till they get a nice brown color on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and when the chicken is cool enough for you to handle, cut them into bite-size pieces. If you are using chicken which is already cut, skip this step.
Once the onions have turned light brown, toss the chicken pieces in and sauté them further; tops five more minutes. Add the kaju-posto paste and the remaining green chilies and give it a good mix. Then add the ginger-garlic paste, tomato paste, red chili powder, sugar and salt.
Cook this on low-medium heat, covered all the time for five more minutes. Add one cup water when the raw spices get cooked. Cover and cook till the chicken gets tender and the extra liquid dries up. The sauce should be clinging to the chicken pieces. Do not pressure cook, please.