Coriander and mint chicken in yogurt sauce

Anybody who has ever eaten at an Indian restaurant knows that most of their food also comes in a sauce most of the time and my suspicion is that sauces are not as common in traditional Indian cooking as it is in the restaurant business.  Like how Chinese food has been “Americanized” by frying more and adding more fat, I think the same has been done to Indian as well to keep people coming back.  Searching for a good recipe in my “Classic 1000 Indian Recipes” book I found this recipe for a super-saucy and fantastically tasty recipe that was easy to make.  The more I use this book, the more I like it.  It does assume you know a little about Indian cooking (which I didn’t when I got it) but so far, everything I’ve made has come out well and this one is no different.  I judge how difficult a recipe is to make usually from how long it takes to put together and if it came out well the first time.  This one is a winner!  The combination does sound a little odd – with the mint and all but we enjoyed it quite a lot and the color was fantastic.  Enough of the chit-chat, let’s get to it!   You’ll need a blender/food-processor for this.

Messy Ingredients:

  • 4-6 large garlic cloves – rough chop
  • 1 inch fresh peeled ginger root – rough chop
  • 1 medium to large yellow onion – rough chop
  • 2 lb chicken pieces (I used a mix of chicken breast and boneless/skinless thighs)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/4 or less)
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tsp cumin seed – whole
  • 1 tsp garam masala – click for a link to my post on garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground toasted coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground red chili or red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground toasted cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • salt to taste  – start with 1/2 tsp – you can always add more if needed but this dish was flavorful enough without much
  • 2 cups plain yogurt (I used fat-free)
  • 4 oz fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 oz fresh mint leaves
  • 1 small serrano chili – fine chop
  • 3 TBS lemon juice

First, blend together the first three ingredients and when it makes a grainy paste, cover the chicken pieces as well as you can to marinate – allow to sit for one hour.  I’m pretty sure mine sat overnight though and was fine covered in the fridge.  While that’s marinating, make a paste in the blender with the yogurt, cilantro, mint and chili.  When you’re all ready to start cooking, heat up enough of the oil to lightly brown the chicken.   In another pan, heat up the remaining oil on medium heat and fry the mustard seeds until they begin popping.  **Note to self – don’t let the oil get so hot that the mustard seeds begin snapping and popping like firecrackers.  The sound is kinda cool at first but then you realize that over half of them are popping themselves covered in oil all over the kitchen floor and you’ll have to mop to keep from slipping while you finish cooking.  You’ll also have to add more mustard seeds back to the pan to make up for what escaped.  Anyway…after that, add in the cumin and allow to brown.  These guys don’t pop and hop like the mustard.  When they’re nice and browned, add in the ground spices and salt, then stir in the yogurt paste, allowing it to heat until it’s bubbling.  Add in the mostly cooked chicken and cook for around 20 minutes more on medium heat – lower if the bottom starts burning.  You’ll only need to cook the chicken long enough to either make sure the chicken is fully cooked and/or to get the sauce to the consistency you like.  We liked it more creamy so I left the lid off to allow the yogurt to evaporate some of the liquid for about 30 minutes.   When you have it where you want it, add the lemon juice and serve over spaghetti squash or in a bowl on its own.  Dukan Diet Worthy on all stages.  The cookbook recommends serving with a potato – cauliflower dish, rice and dal.

2 thoughts on “Coriander and mint chicken in yogurt sauce

  1. This was very flavorful! I expected to have more kick or be more mustardy, but overall, it was kind of a very flavor packed, aromatic, creamy sauce with the chicken! I loved the mint in it! I think I’ll use a bit less oil next time.

    I also ended up marinating my chicken over night and my fridge smelled wonderfully garlicy, which made me anticipate the meal even more!

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