This is the first recipe I've made from the new and enchanting Dishoom cookbook but where do I start? It’s by far the most delicious curry I’ve ever made but having cooked it I feel somewhat traumatised as I now know what it takes to achieve this level of depth and deliciousness: butter, cream, many herbs, spices and oil. A terrifying amount of oil. I followed the recipe exactly because it feels like the right thing to do when trying a recipe for the first time but next time I will massively cut down on the oil as I was having to strain it off at various stages and there was still so much left.
I should say that I have nothing against oil and cook with it enthusiastically but 175ml of vegetable oil alongside two cans of tomatoes doesn’t quite balance. Besides the oil I won’t change much else about this dish because it truly is beautiful*. Charred chicken thighs (my favourite cut of chicken) surrounded by a rich, thick, heavenly sauce make you feel like you’ve achieved some kind of culinary miracle: an Indian restaurant quality dish in your own kitchen.
Update: I've made a veggie version using paneer.
*One tiny tweak I’ll make next time is to slice the garlic for the makhani sauce rather than dicing it. At the beginning of the recipe you have to fry some of the garlic and then scoop it out with a slotted spoon. I found it difficult to remove all of the chopped garlic whereas slices of garlic would be much easier to fish out.
- 700g skinless, boneless chicken thighs (cut into 4cm chunks)
- 20g unsalted butter
- 1 quantity makhani sauce (see below)
- 50ml double cream
- 10g ginger
- 20g garlic (5-6 cloves)
- 5g fine sea salt
- 1 tsp deggi mirch chilli powder (or ½ tsp regular chilli powder)
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 75g Greek yoghurt (full fat)
- 20g garlic (5-6 cloves, grated)
- 15g garlic (3-4 cloves, finely sliced)
- 175ml vegetable oil (or less, see intro)
- 20g ginger (grated)
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes (800g)
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp deggi mirch chilli powder (or ¾ teaspoon regular chilli powder)
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 20g sugar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (crushed to a powder between your fingers)
- ½ tsp fresh dill fronds
- 80ml double cream
- ginger matchsticks
- small handful coriander leaves (chopped)
- 1 tbs pomegranate seeds
- Chicken marinade For the marinade, blitz 10g ginger, 20g garlic, 5g fine sea salt, 1 teaspoon deggi mirch chilli powder, 1½ teaspoons ground cumin, ½ teaspoon garam masala, 2 teaspoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and 75g full-fat Greek yoghurt in a blender or small food processor.
- Place 700g chicken thighs (cut into 4cm chunks) into a bowl and add the marinade. Coat the chicken well and refrigerate for 6-24 hours.
- Makhani sauce Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add 175ml of vegetable oil (or less, see intro). Add 15g sliced garlic and fry until it just starts to turn golden and crispy. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper.
- Blend 800g of tomatoes to a fine consistency using a stick blender or food processor.
- Add 2 bay leaves, 6 green cardamom pods, 2 black cardamom pods and 2 cinnamon sticks to the saucepan with the oil and allow them to crackle for 1 minute, stirring regularly.
- Turn the heat under the saucepan down low and add 20g grated garlic and 20g grated ginger. Allow both to colour but be careful that they don’t burn.
- Add the blended tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1½ teaspoons of deggi mirch chilli powder to the saucepan. Bring to a bubble and cook for around 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about half. Stir regularly to make sure nothing catches.
- Add 30g butter and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon garam masala, 20g sugar, 1 tablespoon runny honey, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, the crispy sliced garlic (fried earlier), 1 teaspoon crushed fenugreek leaves and ½ teaspoon fresh dill fronds to the saucepan. Cook for another 15 minutes.
- If using the makhani sauce immediately, add 80ml double cream and simmer for 5 minutes. If using later, cool the sauce and refrigerate it, adding the cream when you want to reheat it.
- Chicken Heat a grill to a medium high heat. Place the marinated chicken onto a rack and brush with 20g melted butter. Grill for around 10-15 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is charred and cooked through.
- Place a large saucepan over a low to medium heat. Add the makhani sauce, 50ml double cream and the grilled chicken. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- To serve, transfer to a bowl and top with ginger matchsticks, a small handful of chopped coriander and 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds.