Earlier on I had acquired Fathima Shahjahan’s A-1 Muslim Samayal. I was so impressed by her recipes, I added her Chicken Special to my collection. I have corrected some errors and reworked the recipe for non pressure cooking. The wonderful thing about Tamil Muslim cooking is that the tastiest dishes are prepared with fewer ingredients than other kinds of cooking I have come across. Here is a recipe for Chicken Pulav, which does not use ground coconut or kus kus or even coconut milk. The cooking procedure is very simple yet seems to arrive at the most delicious and aromatic preparation in a very short time. My family was most delighted and impressed by the way in which I served this chicken pulav before they started to complain of hunger. The dish has a mild flavour (it is not very hot) but is very tasty.
- 1 kg Chicken, skinned and joined
- 4 C Basmati Rice
- 4 large Onions, sliced
- 2 T ginger–garlic paste
- 4 Green Chillis
- 3 Tomatoes, diced
- ½ C Coriander leaves, chopped
- ½ C Mint leaves, chopped
- 2 Cardamoms
- 2 Cloves
- 2 Cinnamon sticks
- ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 T Chilli powder
- 150 ml Curds
- 4 T Salt, or to taste
- ½ C Ghee (clarified butter)
- 8 C Water, at boiling temperature
- Heat ghee in a large heavy-based vessel (with a close-fitting lid).
- Wash the Basmatic rice and drain in a colander.
- Fry the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks in the ghee.
- Before the cloves burst, add the sliced onions and fry till tender.
- Add the ginger–garlic paste, green chillies, tomatoes and the chicken, and fry for a few minutes.
- Add the curds, turmeric and chilli powders, salt, mint and coriander leaves. Stir well, cook at least for 5 minutes.
- Add the Basmati rice and stir till it is evenly coated with the gravy.
- Pour the hot water, stir and bring to boil. Lower heat, cover the vessel and allow to cook.
- Stir the rice once to ensure it is evenly mixed.
- Remove when the rice is fully cooked.
Curds is the yoghurt set in Indian homes. If curds cannot be obtained, plain unsweetened yoghurt can be used.