[gardeners] OT: Recipe for the season

Liz Albrook (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Wed, 22 Jul 1998 16:04:29 +0000

What season?  The Walla Walla sweet onion season!

Every year Margaret hosts a cocktail party that features Walla Walla 
sweets and chopped liver when the season hits.  I fix Murgh Masala, 
aka Chicken in Onion Tomato Gravy.  The following is Julie Sahni's 
recipe from _Classic Indian Cooking_.

Serves 8 or makes 2 meals for Ray

2 three-pound chickens cut into serving pieces (or about 3-4 pounds 
skinless, boneless chicken, I use thighs)
10 T oil (I use 2T oil)
6 cups thinly sliced onions
2 T finely chopped garlic
3 T finely chopped ginger
2 three-inch cinnamon sticks
4 black (or 8 green) cardamom pods (or about 1 tsp ground cardamom)
1 T turmeric
1 t red pepper (ground dried N. Indian chiles are best else use 
2.5 c. pureed fresh tomatoes or 2 c drained canned maters
1 T kosher salt (or scant T other salt)
2 c hot water
3-4 T chopped coriander leaves (or more to taste)
1 T ground roasted cumin seeds

Roast cumin seeds over medium heat until slightly darker and 
fragrant.  Cool and grind in spice or electric coffee grinder.

Remove skin from chicken pieces.  Pour 2T oil into large, heavy, 
nonstick pot and heat on high.  When very hot brown the chicken (a 
few pieces at a time so it gets really brown).  Set chicken aside.

Add onion to pot, add remaining 8T of oil if using it, reduce heat to 
med-high and fry onions until they are light brown (about 30 
minutes).  [I fry WWs for about 5 minutes on high.]  Add garlic and 
ginger, cook another 5 minutes.  Add cinnamon and cardamom pods (if 
using ground cardamom don't add it now) and cook for about 2 minutes 
until the spices are somewhat darkened and puffy.  Add the turmeric, 
pepper (and ground cardamom if using it), stir rapidly for 15 seconds 
then add the tomatoes.  Stir until the sauce is a nice golden red 
color then add the chicken, salt and 2 cups of hot water.  Stir, 
reduce to low heat and simmer until chicken is tender -- about 40 - 
45 minutes.

Gravy should be slightly thick -- boil off any excess liquid or add 
liquid if necessary.  Turn off heat and let the dish rest at least 1 
hour, 2 is better and overnight is fabulous.  To serve, reheat, mix 
in the ground cumin, check for salt, fold in cilantro and serve with 
rice or bread.

I like to serve cauliflower with ginger and grilled eggplant with 
this dish and have been known to skip the bread and rice in favor of 

Oh, if you are not lucky enough to have access to Walla Walla sweets
you can make the authentic dish in order to use up the surfeit of
shallots we all have thanks to Margaret's generosity.  Yep, in the
dead of winter I made this dish with 6 cups of shallots and it was
heavenly.  Almost every Indian dish, if authentic, uses shallots
rather than onions.