Monday, 23 April 2012

Afghani murg (chicken) malai kebabs with cumin flavoured rice

After a week of glorious weather (where everyone thought summer arrived early, even the weather man jumped up in glee) its back to winter like drab this part of the world. Its been filled with rainy days the past 2 weeks and although the trees are in full bloom and the birds are chirping and there is peace in the world, the temperatures are 10C and 12C and the fierce winds make it feel like 5 or 6. Since weather reports form a major chunk of my life these days, I had to update you on it :)

In all honesty, I love rains. The heavy, you cant see whats in front of you, making loads of noise kinda rains, like the monsoons in Kerala. The story is different here because, you wont even know its raining unless you look outside. It comes and goes like a thief and quite unpredictably, like a woman. Like for example, yesterday I woke up to bright sunshine and brilliant 14C temperatures, windows were left open and beer bottles were opened. I went about making lunch thinking I would be able to take some pics finally (oh ya its always that way and not the other way round). 

By the time lunch was done, it was overcast and gloomy, threatening to rain. It finally did, around 4pm and I thought, perfect, let me grab a cup of tea and cosy up with a cookbook. Made tea in 5 mins, settled down on the couch with a throw and the rains had disappeared and the sun was out. So I jumped up immediately, frantically arranged my props, prepped up the food and yes, you guessed it right, it started raining. I was so pissed off, I didn't even have the energy to put back all the stuff I had painstakingly arranged (strewn all over the floor would be more precise). I hoped it would be sunny again and it did become bright for a couple of minutes, but by then I was so engrossed in the book, I couldn't care less. It's sad really, because it was a recipe I would have definitely loved to put up here. This morning isn't any better and the weather forecast says, its raining all week. So I guess the recipe is not meant to be displayed as yet..Sigh!
That brings me to this kebab recipe, which I did make on a rainy Sunday and was just the perfect thing to eat on a cold dreary day. The difference, however, was that in spite of the horrid lighting I still managed to take pics (of course they are not really the best, but I still made it work). A friend and I were chatting about food a couple of weeks back and she said she tried these kebabs and they were great. I asked her for the recipe but she said she couldn't find it. So Google came to my rescue and I found a recipe which had all the yummy ingredients and immediately knew it would be a success. So I went about sourcing the stuff and made it the very next day.

The outcome was this really cheesy, juicy and absolutely delicious kebab. The recipe is more or less similar to the Reshmi kebab, but I would say this one is waay better and so so good, it puts other kebabs to shame, really, it does! I don't usually brag about the food i make unless its extremely good. and this definitely is high up there on the food pedestal. I cant wait to make it again (once my oven gets  fixed). I must admit however, that the cardamom taste in this recipe is prominent and this, in spite of reducing it drastically from the original recipe. But I guess that's really one of the specialities of the dish. Do reduce it even more or omit it completely, if you cant stand it.

Recipe adapted from here
Boneless chicken- 500 gms (I used chicken thighs)
Ginger paste- 1 tsp
Garlic paste- 1 tsp
Rice vinegar- 1 tbsp
Cashew nuts- 3 tbsp
Milk- 3 tbsp
Cheddar cheese- 2 tbsp, finely grated
Cardamom powder- a little less than 1/4 tsp or to taste (powder the seeds alone from about 5-6 pods)
Freshly ground black pepper- 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Egg- 1, lightly beaten
Double cream- 2 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Cut up the boneless chicken pieces into bite size pieces (not too small) and marinate it with ginger, garlic pastes, vinegar and salt and keep aside while you get the remaining preps going.
Soak the cashew nuts in milk for about 15 minutes and then blend to a smooth paste.
Transfer the mix into a bigger bowl and add to it the grated cheese, cardamom powder, black pepper, and garam masala.
Whisk the egg and cream together separately till just combined, and add it to the cashew-cheese mix.
Mix till you get a smooth paste.
Pour this mixture onto the marinated chicken and mix well, making sure all the pieces are well coated with the paste
Cover with a cling film and marinate it for a minimum of 1hr. I kept it in the refrigerator over night.
About an hour or so before cooking, soak around 6 to 8 bamboo skewers in water. 
Also bring the marinated meat to room temperature.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven in the grill mode.
Thread the chicken on to the skewers, about 4 to 5 pieces per skewer (of course depending on the size of the pieces) and place on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil.
Place under the grill and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes on one side.
Take the tray out, turn the chicken pieces over, baste with remaining marinade if required, and place it back under the grill for a further 6-7 minutes or till the meat is tender and cooked through.
Test this by inserting a fork into the centre and separating the flesh. If it falls off easily, you are good to go.
Keep aside for about 5 minutes before digging in.
Serve with a green chutney as appetiser or with flavoured rice and raita as part of mains.
Notes: Feel free to use chicken breasts instead of thighs. I find breasts absolutely tasteless- contextually speaking of course ;)- so never bother using it in any cooking.
Use apple cider vinegar or any vinegar of choice (except for maybe balsamic and red wine vinegar).
Cheese variety also can be varied I guess, but make sure you grate it fine because only then will they stick to the meat.
Replace double cream with yoghurt or crème fraiche.
If you don't want to grill the meat, then bake in an oven preheated at 176C for about 30 minutes, flipping sides and basting occasionally.

Cumin flavoured rice
Basmati rice- 1 cup
Oil- 1 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Whole black pepper- 1 tsp, lightly crushed
Green peas- 1/4 cup (optional)
Lime juice- a dash (optional)
Salt- to taste
Water- 2 cups
Wash and drain the rice. Keep aside.
Heat the oil in a wide, deep pan and add the cumin seeds.
Once they start to splutter, add the black pepper, garam masala and green peas.
Stir for a couple of seconds after which you add the drained rice.
Stir fry on medium heat till the rice becomes slightly translucent.
Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of water in a kettle and pour into the rice.
Add enough salt and a dash of lemon juice (this prevents the rice from sticking to each other).
Give on final stir, cover the pan with a tight lid, reduce heat to low and cook for about 15-20 minutes or till the rice is well done.
Remove from heat, fluff the rice using a fork and serve immediately.
Notes: Use ghee instead of oil for a richer flavour.
You can of course do a pulao version by sautéing onions etc etc,.
Garnish with coriander leaves for that extra kick.


DivyaGCP said...

Pictures have come out well.. They are really tempting me to try them.. :)

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Hamaree Rasoi said...

This is simply torture to display such yummy dishes from the internet! Can't stop admiring the kebabs from here:)


Sanchita said...

I know the weather is been rubbish lately! Its quite frustrating to see all day rain/drizzle! But your pictures are uplifting and inviting and delicious.

I love the rice serving spoon..again where do you get these things ??

Plateful said...

Love how you compared the weather to a female :) I wish it were raining here too. In fact when the sky was laden with overcast today, I was so happy, but it drizzled for about 2 seconds & the sun was out :( I'm bookmarking this recipe, will let you know once I try it!

Plateful said...

Love how you compared the weather to a female :) I wish it were raining here too. In fact when the sky was laden with overcast today, I was so happy, but it drizzled for about 2 seconds & the sun was out :( I'm bookmarking this recipe, will let you know once I try it!

Non stick, Nutty and Sous chef said...

Ha! That must be nice, you at least get to see precipitation of some sort. and weather changes, even if its momentarily. Here, its sweltery, sweltery and only sweltery (if that's even a word!):) Movin on, your kebabs look fab! The carnivore husband and i are drooling. :)

Vineetha said...

Seriously I m sick of this weather..seeing the bright sun yesterday we set off and had to come back as soon as we reached the place..mhmm..i have to walk everyday to drop and pick lil one from nursery in this yucky weather : )
there is a kebab shop here where we get the best ever kebabs so we r in love with kebabs now,I m sure I will try this out very soon.

Serah said...

Fab post Nisha :) !! And i must say that its sheer coincidence that i made kababs too today and its been raining like crazy here in Ooty with no power since aftrenoon. I know the feeling of making great food and getting terrible low lighting pics. Having said that, your pictures are actually fab :)so dont worry. Waiting to try this recipe along with many others of yours.

Anonymous said...

I never made rashmi kebab before. It looks super moist. I have to try this soon!
Btw.. that spoon you picked .. awsm prop :)

Sravs said...

Super delicious recipe and awesome photography !!

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maha said...

looks delicious

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious looking flavourful meal looks wonderful

Torviewtoronto said...

deliciously done lovely hyacinth in the background

Ribbon Clown said...

Love your photos! and I'll give this recipe a try! Definitely!

Akila said...

Wow fantastic clicks n murgh looks so delicious...

Sharmilee! :) said...

Absolutely yummy combination. Super tempting pics too

Turmeric n Spice said...

Love the serving spoon - and want it :)))) well that's how much I like it :))))

I love the pix !! The mood is so nicely depicted - am glad it was raining - love the play of light and u picked great colors !!

Awesome job !!!!

manjooo said...

the pictures are very nice...and the kebabs are soo good

Priya said...

Fabulous dishes together,cant resist..

Asha said...

Looks so good... I am drooling here...

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Tempting combo...Lovely presentation and clicks..

Satrupa said...

The weather here is just perfect for the kebabs :) It's raining in this part of the world

Suja Manoj said...

This is irresistible,love your clicks dear..drooling..

Lubna Karim said...

Love that smooth, creamy and very succulent looking kabab's....can't take my eyes of that rustic spoon.....

Asmita said...

I love the photographs and the kebabs look mouthwatering. I can only imagine how tasty these must be.

Namitha said...

That's a wonderful combination,especially for a rainy evening ! Jeera rice is comforting ! and I love that pretty flower spoon in the rice :)

Parita said...

Rice bowl looks yummy n love your header!

Jay said...

this looks like a fantastic dish..I am sure this is very delicious nisha..thanks for sharing
Tasty Appetite

Cathleen said...

My oh my, these look fantastic! Your photos are also gorgeous!

Rookie Qookie said...

These look very tempting! Will make them after my next grocery run :)

themustardseed said...

This looks too good! Love the photographs too and that pretty spatula for rice!

Arun said...

Hey Nisha ,we had guests at home on the weekend and I made the malai kebabs.They tasted sooo good and everyone liked it .I plan to make it again.Thanks a lot for this wonderful recipe.Also I have tried the chicken biriyani from your blog.It is also a hit at ours.It is a regular dish now whenever we have guests over here.:)