Chicken Masala

Serves 10 to 12

You can make this tasty dish up to a day in advance. The sauce will thicken when you reduce it, but most store-bought chicken has enough water in it to thin the sauce out. Doesn’t seem to affect the taste, though.

Be a little careful of the amount of Cayenne Pepper you add. Start with the smaller amount recommended and see how you like it.

8 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 2-inch/5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

¼ cup water

1 can (28 oz/822 g) peeled tomatoes, drained

¼ cup, plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large Spanish or yellow onion, minced

Combine in a small bowl:

1 ½  tbsp ground coriander

1 ½ tsp ground cumin

1 tsp garam masala

½  to ¾ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp turmeric

4 ½ pounds (2 kg) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1½ inch/3cm pieces

2 tsp salt

½ cup finely chopped cilantro (frische Koriander)

  1. In a blender or processor, puree the garlic, water and ginger until smooth. Place in a bowl.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the processor with 2 tbsp of oil and process until smooth.
  3. Heat the ¼ cup of oil in a large enamel cast-iron pot. Add the onion and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger puree and cook, stirring until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes to the pan, and stir well. Allow to cook until tomatoes are heated through.
  6. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and the contents of the bowl of spices, and cook, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens, about 7 minutes.
  7. Add the chicken and stir to coat all the pieces. Season with salt. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. If serving another day, you may cook for 20 minutes and refrigerate. On the day, heat and completely cook the meat.
  8. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

Source: Food and Wine, June 2000

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