Before any of you go ballistic and start crashing up your iPads and say this recipe is a hoax, let me come clean and tell you this recipe of Methi Chicken does not need a single sprig of fresh methi green.
I mean you can add fresh methi greens if you want and it definitely would be a nice thing to do but on a chilly October evening when you do not feel like donning a jacket to drive out in quest of fresh Methi greens, stay put. Chances are you still have those pale brown almost saffron colored methi seeds in a small dabba on the left corner of your second kitchen shelf. Pull them out and also the box of MDH Kasoori Methi, fragrant and crumbling like old parchment. This and the chicken and you are all set to make my sister-in-law's methi chicken.
She, the sister-in-law, the husband's younger sister cooked this for us when we visited her early last month. Well actually she cooked a lot of other dishes, a lot and I mean it. She would call me up every day, a week before our visit and diligently note down stuff we might want to eat. I really had no clue why she was asking stuff like "Do you eat Luchi for breakfast or Paratha?", "Do you prefer pav bhaji with afternoon tea or pakori?". I assumed this was some kind of survey to trend the obesity pattern among legal immigrants and tried to be as honest as I could.My oldest very innocently informed her pishi(aunt) that we actually eat luchi only when Didun(grandma) is here and thus made null&void my verybusy-cooking-working-notime image that I had painstakingly created over the years.
The sis-in-law took it to heart and cooked anything and everything that the nieces or we might have lacked in our diet.
So during our short stay, while I scoured through all her FB friend's albums, passed smart ass comments and raised my eyebrows in a very Bindu-ish manner ; trying to retain my elder bhabhi stature the poor girl cooked, cleaned and fed us like the sweet Jaya Bhaduri in Bawarchi.
The girl cooked umpteen delicious meals but her methi chicken stuck with me from the moment I saw the delicious curry with a gossamer thin veil of oil which smelled of heaven. It is magical what power those tiny seeds can unleash all by themselves. White fluffy basmati rice drenched in this aromatic chicken gravy is what I will always remember of those four days and oh yes, some of her FB friend's scandalous photos but that we will not discus...
I have cooked this particular dish about 3 times since. Come on, it is easy, convenient and quick. The first time it turned out to be really good, the second time I skimped on the oil and chili and it was meh, the third I skimped on the time and oil both and it was again okay but not like hers or my first attempt.
End point is, if you want this to be dramatic you have to go easy on the oil, spend the time a chicken needs for "kashano" or "bhuno" and also give in and raise the heat. A bird needs some love and also oil if I may say so.
My Sister-in-Law's Methi Chicken
The recipe here is a rough one so feel free to use your cooking instinct
Marinate 2-2&1/2 lb of chicken( skinned and with bones or use boneless thigh portions) with
1 tsp Ginger paste
1 tsp Garlic paste
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Corriander powder
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch
a little Mustard Oil
a sprinkle of turmeric powder
Keep it in the refrigerator for 30 mins to an hour or more.
Now heat white oil in a deep bottomed pan or kadhai. Don't skimp on the oil unless you want a healthy chicken dish.
Temper the oil with 1/2 tsp of Methi seeds and 1/2 tsp of whole Cumin seeds. The Methi seeds should not burn but give out a nice fragrance. If you are unsure at the point the Methi seeds are turning brown, switch off the heat and wait for 2 minutes. Switch on the heat back again. The oil should be nicely flavored by now.
Add 1-2 cup of thinly sliced onions and fry till the onions are soft and turning brown. Meanwhile make a paste of about
4-5 cloves of garlic
4 hot Indian green chili
1" peeled and chopped ginger
Add this paste to above and fry for next 2 minutes
Follow with a chopped tomato and fry the masala till you know the usual "oil separates blah..blah"
1 tsp of Cumin Powder
1 tsp of Corriander Powder
1 tsp of Kashmiri Mirch (I use kashmiri mirch powder but you can also use red chili powder according to taste)
and fry the masala with sprinkle of water
Add the chicken pieces, salt and then fry them till they change color.Let it cook uncovered for the next 15-20 mins or so, with frequent stirring. This process is actually called "bhuno" in Hindi or "kashano" in Bengali. At the end of this process you will see the oil separating , that indicates good things are in the making.
Now add 2 tsp kasoori methi crushed between your palm(or warmed a little in the microwave), mix everything well together and about 1/2-1 cup of warm water. Adjust salt for taste. Cook covered till chicken is done. By this point a thin layer of oil should float on the top indicating all is good.
Sprinkle some more of the kasoori methi and keep covered until you serve hot.
More Chicken recipes:
The Methi Murgh with methi greens
Indian Chicken recipes
Other chicken recipes