The idea for this recipe was inspired from Masterchef Australia. They often cook their meats (or proteins as they are called) with whole masoor (lentils) and I’ve wondered what kind of a combination that was. My mom does use a mix of three dals, which include masoor dal, when she’s cooking mutton on the bones, but just masoor? Umm, it needed to be tried out.
Since I wasn’t too sure of the marriage of flavours, I went back to my bible, the Food Thesaurus. The combination didn’t exist. Should I or shouldn’t it. I have never been one to shy away from experimentations. So out came the dal and the chicken. What followed thereafter were pure instincts. And am I glad I did try this one out.
Ours is an almost no wheat home, I served the Chicken with Lentils with Organic Brown Rice, a Kachumber (recipe follows) that was flavoured with apple cider vinegar and some Spicy Potato Crisps (recipe follows).
Time taken: 2 hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Marination time: 1 hour
Equipment needed: Thick-bottom pan, Skillet, Pressure Cooker
For the Chicken with Lentils
- 500 grams of boneless chicken, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 100 grams of yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic-chillie paste
- 1 teaspoon each red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander-cumin powder
- 150 grams of whole masoor (lentils)
- 1 tomatoes, chopped fine
- 2 onions, chopped fine
- 2-inch cinnamon piece
- 1 large masala cardamom
- ½ tablespoon garam masala (or use Kitchen King Masala)
- 5 to 6 fresh curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
- 2 green chilies slit and de-seeded
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons of pure ghee (you can use olive oil or any other oil of your choice. You can also use a mixture of oil and butter. The taste does change with the variation in fats used)
1 Wash the chicken and marinade it with the yoghurt, half the ginger-garlic-chillie mix, and half the dry masalas. It can be left to marinate for anything between 30 minutes to 24 hours.
2. Wash the dal and soak it for 1 hour. Add the cinnamon and masala cardamom and pressure cook for 20 minutes. You want to dal to be cooked but not pasty or over cooked.
3. In a thick-bottomed pan add the ghee, when it’s hot add the curry leaves, chili and cracked pepper. When the curry leaves are crisp (not black) add the chopped onion and fry it till golden.
4. Now add the tomato and let it cook together till the oil separates. About 20 minutes.
5. Add the chicken and let it caremalise. When the skin gets a golden colour, add the rest of the dry masalas and cook for 5 minutes.
6. When the chicken and onion and tomato look well mixed, add the pre-cooked dal. Let it simmer together for 20 minutes (which is why it’s essential that you do not over cook your dal). Add water as needed to ensure you have a thick gravy.
8. Adjust the seasoning, add salt and just before serving add the chopped coriander leaves.
Place a small bowl in a plate and create a wall of rice all around it. Carefully lift the bowl and add the chicken with masoor in the well.
I have served this with an onion, tomato and cucumber kachumber and spicy potato crisps.
To make the Kachumber
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tomato, finely chopped
- ½ cucumber, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves.
1 Put all the ingredients in a bowl and give it a good mix.
2. Make the kachumber at least 20 minutes before you serve it, as it gives the vinegar time to flavour the veggies.
Spicy Potato Crisps
- 2 potatoes, sliced thin, (you could leave the skin on, I have and I find it adds an earthy taste. Make sure you scrub the potatoes though)
- 1 teaspoon each red chillie powder, turmeric powder and coriander-cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
- 1 tablespoon oil
1 Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl, add the dry masala to it and let it marinate for 20 minutes. Do not add salt at this time as the potatoes will release water.
2. Heat up your skillet and add the oil.
3. Mix the salt into the potatoes and start frying the potatoes in the skillet. Make sure to get really crispy sides, even taking it to a dark brownish-black colour as that will impart flavor to the dish.
4. Cook both sides in the same way. When done place them on a dish and serve hot.