Tari Waala Chicken
2 tbsp oil – I like to use mild and light olive oil and you can use less oil if you prefer
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1½ tsp salt or less if you prefer
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
2 handfuls of chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup tinned chopped plum tomatoes, whizzed in a mini grinder / blender / processor until smooth – we use these as they are darker in colour and have a more intense flavour than fresh, which are hard to find ripe enough. Passata can also be used.
4 chicken thighs on the bone, or chicken drumsticks, or combination as you prefer; skinned and trimmed of excess fat
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and quartered (optional)
½ red onion, finely sliced, to garnish (optional)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, frying until golden.
Add the garlic and continue to fry until a deep, golden brown. Large amounts of onion which are not cooked down like this can be difficult to digest, so this caramelisation breaks down the onions, releasing the sugars and gives a great, flavoursome base, plus a rich colour for the sauce (which is why we don’t need colourings in Indian home cooking). Also, we cook the onions down darker for meat dishes than for vegetable dishes, as it can take the more intense flavour.
Turn the heat down a touch and add the ginger, chillies, salt, turmeric, garam masala and a handful of the coriander. Stir well and then, after about 30 seconds, take off the heat to allow the pan to cool a little, then add the tomatoes, to prevent it splashing back up.
Stir and cook through on a very low heat for about 5 minutes or so, using the back of the spoon to frequently crush the onions into the tomato as much as possible. This is called the ‘raara’ stage, when everything is cooking down together and is important not to rush. Just add a little splash of water if anything starts to stick but you just want everything to gently cook down, the spices releasing their flavours and the onions, garlic and tomato softening into each other.
When the mixture has become shiny and the oil separates out in tiny beads from the rest of the mixture, add the chicken.
Coat well with the mixture. Turn the heat up and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
Add enough boiling water to just cover the chicken and bring back to the boil. Turn the heat down, partly cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the potatoes, stirring gently, bring to the boil again and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked, checking after 10 minutes on the sauce consistency.
Add more boiling water if you’d like the sauce thinner or reduce down by boiling with the pan uncovered if you’d like it thicker.
Sprinkle with the remaining coriander, and a little finely sliced red onion if you like, and serve.