Andhra Chicken Curry

This is a classic Andhra Chicken curry recipe. A very good friend of mine Mrs. P, who hails from AP shared this recipe with me, so it can't get any more authentic than this. She is an awesome cook herself, and whatever simple dish she whips up with the most basic ingredients tastes just simply amazing, and I keep asking her for recipes. I don't eat chicken or any other meat except sea food (very limited) and eggs here and there. I have been cooking chicken for my DH, though, and every time I try a new chicken recipe, its always an experiment on him, and I honestly have no clue how its tastes and I simply have to trust his opinion. My DH, my BIL and few other friends who have tasted this recipe always gave me a thumbs up! The aromas from Fenugreek leaves Or Mint leaves (whichever you choose to use) makes it aromatic and gives that nice flavor. In the recipe below, I have not used cashew-milk paste, but P said if you want a more rich gravy, then you can grind handful of cashews along with milk and add it instead of water. I am yet to try it, and I am sure, it will only make the gravy more creamy and rich!

Ingredients:

1 Kg chicken, cleaned and cut into small bite size pieces (I used the ones with bones)

3 medium onions, finely chopped

2 or 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

4 cloves

2 cardamom

1" cinnamon stick

1 bunch mint leaves OR 1 cup fresh fenugreek/methi levees cleaned and chopped coarsely (I have also used 1/2 cup Kasoori Methi (dried leaves) when I was out of Fresh Methi and it worked fine, too)

4 tbsp cooking oil

salt to taste

3 tsp red chilli powder or more as per the spiciness you prefer.

1/3 tsp turmeric powder

For Marinade:

Marinade chicken in a bowl ahead of time with about 1/3 cup yogurt, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste for about 30 minutes. Longer you keep, the better it is.

NOTE: Make sure to fry chicken very well before adding water. Also, for a rich gravy, grind some cashew pieces with milk and add when adding the water.

Method:

1) Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. When hot, add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and fry for a minute. Then, add finely chopped onions and ginger garlic paste and fry until nice and golden. Add mint OR fenugreek leaves and fry for few minutes.

2) Add tomatoes and fry until it starts to melt. Add haldi/turmeric and red chilli powder and fry until the oil starts to leave from the side.

3) Add marinaded chicken pieces and fry until the chicken is brown and oil starts to come from the side. Now add water, salt and mix everything well. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with rice or naan.

Spicy Coriander Mint Pulao

Here is another recipe for a spicy and delicious pulao. This recipe uses fresh herbs such has Cilantro Or Coriander leaves and Mint leaves along with other spices. It gives a nice green color, aroma and a nice fresh flavor. This is an easy one pot meal that can be served for lunch or dinner along side raita. This is a favorite in my household. The below recipe makes 5 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

11/2 cups Basmati rice, washed and drained

Vegetables about 11/2 to 2 cups like carrots, green peas, beans.

Water less than 3 cups, may be 2.5 so the rice does not get over cooked.

1 large onion thinly sliced

1 small tomato, chopped (optional)

1 Bay leaf

Salt to taste

2 tbsp Cooking oil

1 tbsp Butter or Ghee (clarified butter)

1 tbsp cashews

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Make a paste using below ingredients:

1 cup Coriander leaves with stems, cleaned

1/4 cup Mint leaves, cleaned

5 Green chillies or as per desired spiciness

2 garlic cloves

1" Ginger

2 tsp Fennel seeds

5 Cloves

2 Cardamom

1" Cinnamon stick

2 tsp chopped onion

Method:

1) In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and ghee (you have to be liberal with oil so the rice does not stick to the bottom). When hot, add onions and cashew pieces and fry till the onion is golden brown.

2) While that is browning, make a smooth paste of all the ingredients listed under 'Make a paste using below ingredients:' using little water and set aside.

3) When the onion is nice and golden, add this paste and fry on a medium heat until the paste is cooked through and you see oil leaving the sides (takes about 10 mins or so). You must fry this paste really well. At this, point add turmeric powder and fry for a minute or two.

4) When the paste is fried and cooked through, add vegetables and stir fry for another minute or two.

5) Now add the rice and gently mix everything together. Add water, salt and check the spice level and mix again. Pressure cook for 1 whistle and then turn off the heat; this makes the rice grains separated and cooks evenly. Serve with your choice of raita.