A North Indian favourite, with the freshness of green herbs and background notes of spices. These make the dish very fresh, light and crisp in taste. The "harra" refers to the colour meaning green. It’s best to cook the dish without a lid, which will help to retain the colour.
- vegetable or sunflower oil, for deep-frying
- 3 onions, thinly sliced
- 8 small green chillies
- 1 bunch mint, leaves picked
- 1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked
- 50 g (1¾ oz/⅓ cup) cashew nuts
- 130 g (4½ oz/½ cup) plain thick yoghurt, beaten
- 2 tsp finely grated ginger
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) skinless, boneless chicken thigh fillets, cut into 4 cm (1½ inch) pieces
- 2.5 cm (1 inch) piece cinnamon stick
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 8 black peppercorns
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 3 tbsp ghee
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp thin (pouring) cream
- cherry tomato quarters and ginger slices, to garnish
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.
Chilling time 30 minutes
Fill a wok or heavy-based saucepan one-third full with oil and heat to 180°C (356°F) or until a cube of bread turns golden brown in 15 seconds. Deep-fry the onion until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Reserve some to garnish.
Grind the green chillies, mint leaves, coriander leaves, cashew nuts and remaining fried onion together in a food processor to make a smooth paste. This is your green masala.
Combine the yoghurt, ginger, garlic and green masala in a large bowl. Add the chicken and mix well to coat. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, and cumin and coriander seeds in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. This is your powdered masala. Set aside.
Heat the ghee in a large frying pan over medium–high heat, add the chicken and seal on all sides. Add the turmeric, 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of water and season with salt. Cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.
When the chicken is almost cooked, add the powdered masala and cream and simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is smooth and rich. Ladle into a serving dish and garnish with the reserved fried onions, cherry tomato and ginger.
Recipes and images courtesy of From India by Kumar and Suba Mahadevan, published by Murdoch Books, $59.99 photographer Mark Roper.