My version of the ever-popular creamy chicken, Murgh Makhani. We've based this recipe on a dish my father's good friend used to enjoy whilst at college in Lucknow (Oudh). Bizarrely enough, this particular recipe uses cheese for added richness, an ingredient used in more opulent, banqueting dishes the rich Northern Indian Nawabs encouraged their chefs to prepare for them. Fresh cardamoms, creamy sauce, simple cooking... beautiful!

Ingredients

  • 1kg chicken, thigh meat, chopped into good-sized, chunky pieces - breast meat is fine
  • ½ lemon - juice and zest
  • For the Marinade:
  • 300ml Greek (style) natural yoghurt,
  • 100g, butter, softened
  • 100ml cream
  • 75g, ginger, fresh root, roughly chopped
  • 4 fat cloves garlic
  • 1 Bird's Eye chilli, red, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 30ml sunflower oil
  • 60g, cheese, grated (use your favourite type of cheese - a mild cheddar, Ardrahan, Comté or Emmental all work really well)
  • Spices: 12 green cardamom pods, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp black pepper, all freshly blitzed then add 2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp of Garam Masala and a good couple of gratings of nutmeg

Method

  • Place the chicken into a sturdy, snug-fitting roasting tray. Sprinkle the chicken with the lemon zest and its juice. Cover with wetted greaseproof or foil and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, pop all of the marinade ingredients and your spice mix into a food processor and blitz to a smooth, thick paste.
  • Pour your marinade over the lemony chicken, scraping every last bit from the processor's 'jug', then mix everything around to combine all the flavours and to coat the meat.
  • Cover with the foil again and place in your fridge for about 20 minutes.
  • Turn your oven on to medium/low heat. About 190°C, Gas Mark 5 is fine.
  • Pop the roasting tray, still covered with foil onto the middle shelf of your oven and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Then take off the foil cover, roast for a further 10 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked, but still juicy and tender.
  • Serve immediately with green leaves, Indian breads and Green Saffron's Aged Basmati Rice and Mango Chutney, spooning the roasted marinade juices all over for extra (special) flavour. Simply beautiful!!
  • Alternative Suggestions:
  • Try pushing the marinated pieces of chicken onto a skewer for a brochette effect, grill or cook on a griddle pan and serve with good crusty sour-dough or freshly baked bread and a crisp salad. You could use pieces of 1kg lamb, leg of lamb, instead of the chicken for a more 'meaty' feast!