This is a typical karhai (formerly balti) dish prepared at Mumtaz restaurants in woks set over very, very high heat. The stoves in the kitchens here noisily shoot out vertical jets of flame like the tail ends of rockets, allowing the staff to cook very quickly.
The curries are made in an almost upside down manner: the oil is added after the ingredients are practically cooked. This technique relies on a very high cooking heat to dry off the cooking liquids, leaving just the oil to brown the meats and seasonings.
- 1 medium tomato, peeled and roughly chopped, plus 1 more, quartered
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2½ centimeter (1 inch) chunks
- 1½ tbsp finely chopped onion
- 3 tbsp peeled, finely grated root ginger
- 1½ tbsp finely grated garlic
- 4 tbsp yogurt
- ¼ tsp ground asafoetida
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp basaar mix
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 5 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
With a stick blender, blend the roughly chopped tomato to a purée.
Mix the chicken, blended tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, 3 tbsp of the yogurt, the asafoetida and salt in a karhai, wok or medium-sized pan, about 23 cm in diameter. Set it over the highest heat you can muster and bring to a boil.
Cook, stirring and mixing, for 5-6 minutes. Add the basaar mix, ground coriander and cumin and stir for 1 minute.
Pour in the oil, incorporate thoroughly and cover for 1 minute. Uncover and stir in the tomato quarters and remaining yogurt. Stir for another 2 minutes, or until all signs of the yogurt have disappeared and the oil has pooled at the surface. Serve.