Chicken With Cream

Malai wali murghi
From my Indian cookbook.


1-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
3 lb Chicken pieces, skinned
6-7 cloves garlic, peeled
1 inch cube ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups water
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
4 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon garam masala
6 tablespoons heavy cream


1. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of the coriander, 1/4 teaspoon of the turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne, and some black pepper on the chicken pieces. Mix well and set aside for at least 1 hour.

2. Put the garlic and ginger into the container of an electric blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the water and blend until fairly smooth.

3. Put the oil in a wide pot and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in as many chicken pieces as the pot will hold easily in a single layer and brown lightly on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Brown all the chicken pieces the same way.

4. Put the chopped onion into the remaining oil. Stir and fry until the pieces turn a medium-brown color. Add the garlic-ginger paste. Stir and fry until all the water from the paste evaporates and you see the oil again. Put in the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Stir and fry for about 20 seconds. Now put in the choppped tomatoes. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir and cook the spice paste for 3 to 4 minutes, mashing the tomato pieces with the back of a slotted spoon as you do so. Add the yogurt, a tablespoon at a time, incorporating it into the sauce each time beforeyou add any more. Put in the chicken pieces and any accumulated juices, the remaining 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the cover. Add the garam masala and cream. Mix gently.

5. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook, stirring gently every now and then, until the sauce has reduced somewhat and has turned fairly thick.