Tuesday, May 9, 2017

An Indian Dish from Telangana

I just published my May Newsletter, so I hope you will check it out.  😊

State of Telangana in India
State of Telangana in India
As I mentioned in my last post, I made quite a few Indian recipes last year, then was so busy I just never got around to posting them. Some of them were amazingly good, as was this chicken dish. I saw a recipe for "Telangana Chicken" from Padma Reddy in an article in Saveur magazine. It sounded interesting, and since I mainly have made dishes from the northern parts of India, and which are the type of dishes generally served in Indian restaurants (at least all the ones I have frequented, to date), I felt that since this dish came from one of the more southerly states of India, I might just have to try it out. 

As it happens, Telangana is the newest state of India, formed in June 2014. It was formerly a part of the Princely State of Hyderabad, and was formed of ten districts from north-western Andhra Pradesh. I will not go further into any history, as even this little bit was entirely unknown to me prior to looking up more on where this state existed. Suffice to say that this dish is found in many forms in and around Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Telangana is also known for their breads (roti) made from millet and other millet based dishes. I have yet to explore making breads with millet, so I served my Curried Chicken dish with regular Parathas and rice on the side, though this may not be too authentic. Though it was delicious!
Telangana Chicken
Telangana Chicken

As I mentioned above, I found this recipe and it sounded good. That doesn't mean I didn't make changes. I wanted the recipe to be mine, and so I did look up other recipes for Telangana Chicken, just to see what the general concept was. Then I started making alterations that I felt fell within the main idea of this dish. I did make it with skinless, boneless chicken, which is not authentic in any way. I just prefer these days not having to fiddle with chicken on the bone while at the table. Outside of that, I used most of the ingredients, added some, deleted some and changed the amounts of most of them! 
Telangana Chicken
Telangana Chicken

I mentioned curry leaves in my last regular post about Goan Pork Vindaloo. Curry leaves are from the Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya koenigii). If you love to cook Indian food as I do, then investing in a plant is truly worthwhile. I love the flavor these leaves give to a dish. It has a somewhat citrusy smell and flavor, but it is really a flavor all its own. The leaves are edible, though my husband spends his time pulling them all off to the side of the dish to be tossed out. I eat them. They are also found, fresh, on Amazon (of course), and when I ordered some they arrived quickly and I stuck the package right into the freezer. While the leaves blacken in the freezer, they still retain their flavor and fragrance, unlike if they were dried, where they completely lose all their flavor and aroma. If thawed, they regain their green color.

Aside from curry leaves, the only other unusual spices or flavors are white poppy seeds and methi leaves. Methi is fenugreek (click the link to learn more), and fenugreek is interesting in that the plant can be used as a fresh vegetable, the leaves can also be found dried as an herb, and then there are the seeds, which have a scent much like maple syrup, though they are bitter.  

Black ("Blue") Poppy Seeds left and White Poppy Seeds right
Black ("Blue") Poppy Seeds left and White Poppy Seeds right
The white poppy seeds are often used in Indian cuisines, as a part of the spices or as a thickener. The white seeds come from the same kind of poppy plant (papaver somniferum), as the black (or "blue") variety, similar to white and black sesame seeds. If you cannot find the white poppy seeds, they may be left out of the dish. Seen close up as in my photos above, poppy seeds are shaped like kidney beans and their outsides look like (very miniature) peanuts.

Now, on to the recipe:

Telangana Chicken
Telangana Chicken

Telangana Chicken

Serves 4 or more

1 can (13.66 ounce) coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
½ teaspoon pure red powdered chili
3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, minced
1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken, cut in chunks
8 green cardamom pods, slightly bruised
1 piece mace (or a pinch ground mace)
1 star anise
1 Tej Patta Leaf (Indian "bay" leaf), optional
1 (4-inch) piece true cinnamon quill
¼ cup cooking oil
3 Thai or Serrano chilies, minced

2 medium onions, halved and sliced
1 - 2 tablespoons cooking oil

4 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds 
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons white poppy seeds
15 cashews
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)

20 curry leaves, if available

cilantro for garnish 

Mix together in a large container with a lid the coconut milk, lime juice, Garam Masala, powdered chili, garlic and ginger; stir to combine. Add the chicken pieces along with the cardamom pods, mace, star anise, tej patta, cinnamon, oil and green chilies. Stir well, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

To make the dish: Saute the onions in the cooking oil of choice until browned. While the onions are frying, combine the Masala spices in a spice grinder or blender and grind to a powder. Just as the onions are done, add in the curry leaves with the ground masala to the onions and stir for 2 or 3 minutes. Add in the chicken along with its marinade and bring to boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook the chicken for about 30 minutes. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest at AHOFpin. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.