It makes me laugh that for someone who barely ate a chicken curry growing up I am now posting my third incarnation. Where my first relied on jammy tomatoes for robust flavor, the second got it's distinct flavor from the marriage between caramelized onions and a headier dose of turmeric than usual. This white chicken salan has none of that. It's mellow clean flavour comes from the chicken itself. Because there is no chilli powder added to the white chicken salan the salan is extremely kid friendly. It is rare that both my girls will enjoy the same thing equally, but in this case they wolfed it down with equal enthusiasm. I, too, was happy to follow suit.
I admit that I frequently use boneless chicken when I can, but in this recipe I really don't recommend it. You need that bone juice to really bring some flavour into this curry. If you aren't a 'lets pick the meat from the neck' time use drumsticks or even bone in breast pieces. Also because the flavours are so simple the ingredients really matter. Step away from that jarred ginger paste, you know the kind that you would mistake for vinegar based on smell alone. Take a piece and grate it or go ahead and grind a big batch of ginger paste.
White Chicken Salan or White Chicken Curry
- 1 lb chicken
- 2 onions finely diced
- 6-8 whole peppercorns
- 2-3 cloves
- ½ inch piece cinnamon
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1.5 inch piece of ginger grated or 1 rounded tbsp ginger paste
- 5-6 cloves garlic crushed or ¾ tbsp garlic paste
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- 2 tbsp yoghurt whipped and at room temp
- any neutral oil for cooking
- a handful of washed chopped cilantro
- finely diced chillies as many as you can handle
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot
- Add the whole spices and cook until you can smell them (less than a minute)
- In go the diced onions, saute till they soften and are translucent. No browning required.
- Stir in your ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes
- Now add in your salt and coriander powder, saute for a minute and add your chicken pieces to the pot
- Cook the chicken on medium high heat stirring every 30 seconds or so until the chicken looks completely white on the outside, then turn the heat down a little and cook for five more minutes.
- Add two cups of water to the chicken, bring to a boil and then simmer for half an hour or until tender. Add more water if needed to prevent sticking.
- Now in goes the yoghurt, the pepper and the garam masala powder. Cook for two minutes.
- Adjust the thickness of the curry to your liking adding water as needed then taste for seasoning.
- Take the curry off the heat.
- Generously add in chopped chillies and cilantro and give it a good stir to allow the chillies to combine with the curry.
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