Murgh Hariyali Masala - Chicken in Fresh Herb Sauce

Recipe from the The New Curry Secret

Notes from diary early August 2008. I have completed and sent off the manuscript for my new book “The New Curry Secret” and have some time before I start the next book. It’s a great opportunity to create this much desired vegetable garden. Following a great deal of observation and discussion (and a little argument) we’ve chosen a site on the north eastern side of the block, just down a rocky escarpment from where the main house will be. It will get sun all day and have some protection from the cold southerly winds. The olive trees we’ve had planted in the north east corner directly opposite the site, and some fast growing conifers along the remainder of the northern fence will (eventually) provide protection from the hot northerlies. No solution to the cold easterlies and westerlies yet, will need to work on that.

The right site for the veggie garden
We’ve decided to use raised beds– a quick and easy (albeit more expensive) solution to the hard, grass and weed covered clay soils. Fill ‘em up with good organic soil from Australian Native Landscapes and off we’ll go. Raised beds are also a good barrier to slugs and snails and they are easier to work – you don’t have to bend down so far. We order 7 of them online from a Queensland company when we get back to Sydney.

Late August 2008, nearly spring in Australia. We’re in Orange and I am armed with about 40 packets of assorted heirloom and organic seeds that I eagerly ordered from the Diggers club a month ago. Heirloom varieties that are tops for flavour unlike modern hybrids and genetically modified crops bred for transportability and storage. Heirloom vegetables are our inheritance; selected and saved by our ancestors, over hundreds even thousands of years, they offer some of the best yielding, best tasting and disease resistant varieties. Each season they produce fertile seeds that you can sow again. Seeds for genetically modified crops have to be purchased each year from the large multinational companies together with petroleum based chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides at ever rising prices. The idea of a few large, greedy corporations controlling the world’s food production alarms me. I have been impatient to get started ever since my package from Digger’s arrived, but the raised beds that were supposed to arrive from Queensland have not and we have to go back to Sydney tomorrow. No sowing yet.

Time for some cooking -

Murgh Hariyali Masala.

This is absolutely delicious and so simple and quick to prepare. The lovely fresh herbs are the mainstay of this spectacular dish.

Serves 3 - 4

Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes (plus marinating time)

3 chicken fillets about 450g (1lb) in weight
1 tsp of salt
4 tbsp of coriander leaves
4 tbsp of mint leaves
4 fresh curry leaves
4 green garlic tops (optional)
4 spring onions
2 - 3 green chillies
2.5cm (1inch) piece of ginger, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp garam masala
6 tbsp of greek style plain yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp of thick cream
1 tsp of gram flour (besan)
100ml hot water

Rinse chicken fillets, pat dry with paper towels, and cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) chunks. Place in a large bowl.

Place the salt, herbs, chillies, ginger, garlic, garam masala, yoghurt and 1 tbsp of the oil into the bowl of a blender or food processor and process to a paste.

Add the herb paste to the chicken, mix well and refrigerate for 2 -3 hours or overnight.

Remove from the fridge about half an hour before cooking and stir in the cream and gram flour.

Heat a wide heavy based, (preferably non stick frying pan) and add the remaining oil. Add the chicken and all the marinade to pan and stir fry on high heat until chicken is opaque.

Turn down the heat a little, and continue to cook, stirring and turning the chicken pieces, until the sauce is quite dry at which stage it will release the oil, about 6-7 minutes.

Continue cooking for a few minutes longer until the chicken pieces start to brown slightly. Now add the water and stir in to create a thick, creamy sauce.

Simmer gently for 3 or 4 minutes. Add more water if you want a little more sauce.

Serve with rice and nan.

Note: The gram flour stops the sauce from splitting.


IndianFoodie said...

Nice recipe for chicken hariyali. Alternative recipe with (masala) sauce and cilantro-mint paste is at
chicken hariyali recipe