A pomegranate is a delicious fruit commonly eaten throughout India. It has a hard outer covering encasing bright ruby red seeds, which are the edible portion of the fruit. My grandmother actually had several pomegranate trees in her garden, so I have wonderful childhood memories of eating & enjoying many pomegranates during my summers in India. It was always a fun race to pick the ripe pomegranates before the monkeys got to them first!
Pomegranates are considered a super food because they are a wonderfully rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid & antioxidants. Drinking pomegranate juice daily is thought to prevent certain cancers, lower both high cholesterol & blood pressure and promote overall good health.
Dried pomegranate powder (known as anardana powder) is a commonly used spice especially in North Indian cuisine. It adds a subtle tart flavor to any dish that balances well with other spices. Anardana powder is easily available in any large Indian market or Middle Eastern grocery store.
POMEGRANATE CHICKEN CURRY (Murgh Anardana)
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken, cut into 1½” pieces
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
1 bay leaf
1 heaping tbsp anardana powder (you can add more/less depending upon your taste)
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground cumin powder
¼ tsp turmeric (haldi)
¼ tsp red chili powder, to taste
pinch of saffron, soaking 1 tbsp of warm water (optional)
salt & pepper, to taste
½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds, optional
½ cup toasted unsalted pistachio pieces, optional
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onions & sauté until just golden brown. Now, add the garlic & ginger. Stir & let cook for just a minute or two before adding the spices (bay leaf, anardana powder, ground coriander powder, garam masala, ground cumin powder, turmeric, salt & pepper). Let the spices cook for a few minutes and then add in the chicken pieces. Mix well to coat all of the chicken pieces in the spices. Let cook for a few minutes before adding in about 1 to 1½ cups of water (you can more/less as needed). Now reduce the heat to low, cover & let cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through yet still moist & tender. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds, pistachios & the cilantro leaves. Serve with fresh chapatis & fragrant Basmati rice.