This is a delicious and easy recipe from the lovely state of Kashmir. The Kashmir valley is located in the northern most part of India at the foothills of Himalayas. Kashmir is famous for its spices, including saffron.
Kashmiri cuisine is full of bold rich flavors with Mughlai, Persian and Afghani influences. Kashmiri dishes are characterized by the liberal use of aromatic spices combined with yogurt. This tasty recipe combines the flavors of cardamom with cinnamon, clove and fennel giving chicken an incredible depth of flavor.
MURGH ELAICHI (Cardamom Chicken)
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1.5 inch pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
10-12 green cardamom pods (or 1 tsp cardamom powder)
2 bay leaves
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 tsp ground fennel seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp red chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped mint leaves for garnish (or you can use cilantro leaves)
Using a spice blender, grind the green cardamom pods into a fine powder.
In a large mixing bowl, add the yogurt along with the ginger, garlic, ground fennel seeds, salt, pepper, red chili powder and half of the ground cardamom powder. Mix well and marinate the chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hrs (overnight is best).
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of oil. When hot add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cumin seeds. Stir fry 2-3 minutes until slightly browned and fragrant. Then add the onions and stir fry until golden brown (around 8-10 minutes). Add the chicken (along with any marinade), mix well and stir fry for a few minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is fully cooked and tender (around 25-30 minutes). Stir occasionally.
Mix in the remaining ground cardamom powder, garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve with hot rotis and fragrant Basmati rice.