Methi Malai Chicken (Indian Chicken Gravy with Fenugreek and Cream)
500 gms chicken pieces; washed and pat dried,
1/2 bunch of methi (fenugreek) leaves; washed and coarsely chopped,
For marinade –
1/2 cup yogurt,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp red chilli powder,
Salt to taste,
1 tbsp vinegar.
For the gravy –
2 star anise,
1″ stick of cinnamon (dalchini),
1 small piece of mace (javitri),
2-3 cloves (laung),
4-5 black peppercorns (kalimirch),
2-3 bay leaves (tejpatta),
2-3 dry red chillies; broken into pieces,
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste,
2 medium size onions; chopped,
1 medium size tomato; finely chopped,
2 tbsp readymade tomato puree or tomato ketchup,
2 green chillies (or as per taste), finely chopped,
A pinch of turmeric powder,
2 tsp garam masala or Chicken masala,
Salt to taste,
3/4 cup fresh cream; well beaten,
Chicken stock or water,
Ghee/Butter/Oil. (Preferably use ghee for rich taste).
Make small slits into the chicken pieces. Combine all the ingredients of the marinade in a large mixing bowl and transfer the chicken pieces to the bowl. Apply the marinade generously all over the chicken pieces and cover and refrigerate for over 2-3 hours (the more the better).
To prepare the gravy –
Melt ghee in a kadhai on a low-medium flame. Add dry red chillies, bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, star anise, mace and fry for 30 seconds on low flame, or only until fragrant. Do not let them burn. Then add ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and fry for a minute. Now add onions and saute nicely for 5-7 minutes on medium flame, stirring ocassionally until they become transparent and soft. Then add little turmeric powder and chopped tomato. Cook until tomato becomes soft. Then add tomato puree/ketchup and garam/chicken masala. Cook until the masala starts leaving oil. Then add the chopped methi and fry for a minute. Add marinated chicken pieces, combine well to coat them with the masala. Roast for 2 minutes. Then add chicken stock or water to it, enough to cover all the pieces. Cover with a lid, pour some water on the lid. Cook on medium flame until chicken is done. Season with salt. Add beaten cream, mix and serve hot with chapatis, parathas , butter naan or even with steamed rice.