Chicken stew mughlai style
We North Indians are obsessed with creamy gravies and making them low fat is a challenge . Many people like a good fat layer on top of the dish as it definitely makes the spicing more aromatic . All the aromatic oils of the spices are soluble in cooking fat and the aroma of the finished dish depends a lot on how the spices are cooked and seeped into the cooking medium . The meats also take up the flavors well when cooked with some fat .
At the same time , cooking with lesser amounts of fat is not such a big deal . Using just enough fat to let the spices bloom in the gravy and the meat get evenly cooked and seeped into the spicy notes is the idea . The heat level needs to be kept in control as the meats need more time to cooked in a low fat medium , without getting stuck to the base of the pan...Slow cooking with some liquid drowning the meat is a great idea , best suited for low fat cooking, especially meats.
The mughlai stew is called 'Ishtoo' and this is not a revelation for anybody who likes it.. whenever you want a nutty creamy gravy with an intense chicken flavor you can have this ishtoo . This ishtoo i made with the remaining boney pieces of the chicken after making a grilled tikka . The boney pieces have more intense flavor and they come out well if cooked for a soup or for a stew...
(for 2 servings)
chicken pieces on bone 250 -300 gm
red chilly powder 1tsp or a bit more
cumin seeds 1 tsp
whole coriander seeds 1 tsp
fennel seeds 1 tsp
whole peppercorns 15 nos.
green cardamom seeds and skin separated 2 nos.
black cardamom a few seeds only ( about 1/4 of a whole pod)
a small cinnamon stick
half a star anise ( optional, i am just obsessed by it)
cloves 4 nos.
a small sliver of mace
salt to taste
ghee 1 tsp
fresh cream 1 tbsp ( i used home made malai)
to be minced in the food processor or mixie..
2 big onions (1.5 cup minced)
an inch piece of ginger chopped
7-8 small cloves of Indian garlic
to be made into a fine paste
1.5 tbsp of melon seeds ( magaz in urdu and kharbuze ka beej in hindi)
100 gm of thick curds
There are a lot of ingredients but the cooking is really simple.
Place everything into a pan except the paste of melon seeds and curds. Add a cup of water and cook the chicken on low flame till cooked.It takes about 25-35 minutes according to the size of the chicken pieces.
Add the white paste made with melon seeds and curds , mix well and let it come to a soft boil. Cover the pan and take off heat. Let the pan stand for 5 minutes before serving.
There will be some oil floating on top , but not overwhelming . The whole recipe is quite low on fats and equally tasty ..
You might like to discard some of the whole spices as they are not a welcome bite...I like the whole coriander seeds and some whole peppercorns coming under my teeth once in a while...this one is a rustic dish where you pick out the whole spices if you don't like them and use your hands to eat it...
With hot chapatis , roomali rotis or fluffy naan , this stew needs some bread ....to be mopped clean.
The aromas will linger for a longer time...a milder version is called chiken safeda in my household .
Which one would you like?