Cook­book chal­lenge Asma Khan’s In­dian Kitchen

Editor Keith Ken­drick dishes up an aro­matic chicken stew

BBC Good Food - - Update -

If you’ve ever doubted your abil­ity to cook hearty, whole­some, de­li­cious food, take a leaf out of Asma Khan’s (cook)book. When she moved to the UK from In­dia in 1991, she couldn’t even boil an egg. Today, she’s one of Bri­tain’s most fêted chefs: owner of London’s renowned Dar­jeel­ing Ex­press restau­rant (staffed by an all-fe­male team) and named as one of the 100 most in­flu­en­tial women in Bri­tish and Ir­ish hos­pi­tal­ity by CODE Hos­pi­tal­ity. She did it by draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from her child­hood spent in Kolkata (then Cal­cutta); learn­ing recipes that had been in her fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions; and then fol­low­ing her dream to open a food busi­ness after two decades work­ing in law. Asma proves you’re never too old to learn some­thing new – and never too old to fol­low your dreams.

The food she cre­ates is glo­ri­ous: Kolkata mugh­lai dishes that are warm­ing, com­fort­ing and made for sharing

– and share them she does, in Asma’s In­dian Kitchen.

For this chal­lenge, my wife and three chil­dren chose murgh rezala, an aro­matic chicken stew that Asma de­scribes as ‘mild enough for chil­dren to eat’ and

‘a good dish to pre­pare when cook­ing for the whole fam­ily’. Here’s the recipe, so you can en­joy it as much as we did: Heat 6 tbsp veg­etable oil in a fry­ing pan, add whole garam masala (1 large In­dian bay leaf, 2 green car­damom pods, 2 cloves and 1 piece cas­sia bark, 5cm long) and cook for a few sec­onds, stir­ring con­tin­u­ously. Add a thinly sliced onion and a pinch of salt. Lower the heat and cook the onion un­til soft and translu­cent (this took about 10 mins). Add whole skin­less chicken legs – 5 in our case – and in­crease the heat. Add 1/2 tbsp gar­lic paste, 1 tbsp fresh gin­ger paste and 1 tbsp ground co­rian­der pow­der. Stir 500g full-fat Greek yo­gurt, then add it to the pan. Lower the heat, cover and leave to sim­mer for 25 mins. Re­move the lid, turn the chicken over and cook for a fur­ther 10 mins. Add 3 sliced green chillis and sim­mer for an­other

10 mins. Re­move from the heat and add the juice of 1 lemon and

2 tbsp gran­u­lated sugar. Gar­nish with a hand­ful of mint leaves.

Keith’s home­made murgh rezala

Asma’s In­dian Kitchen (£20, Pavil­ion) is out 4 Oc­to­ber. Pho­to­graphs © Ming Tangevans

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