On “believing” and Kesar- badam murgh ( Saffron- almond chicken)

by Sunita on June 21, 2010

I coughed, deeply, rolled my eyes, frowned so much that I was in danger of leaving a permanent one on my forehead. I really tried everything to catch his eyes, and then my eyes glared back at him even more, the head shaking furiously from side to side.

We were sitting around the kitchen table, the four of us, enjoying our breakfast, on Saturday. As usual, there was talk, the occasional squabble between the kids, the discussions on various topics. Yes, it was a regular weekend morning. So, what brought up all those facial expressions? You see, during the course of the breakfast, somehow, the topic changed to vampires, to which, Dinesh said ‘ but you do know that vampires are not real? ” and then a discussion on that started. So far, so good.

Then, Dinesh got a bit carried away and began to say ”Do you know, even the concept of Santa is not that old!” My jaw dropped. Why did he have to say that? And Rengoni, always quick to pick up on such things said, ”then, how come you said that Santa’s always been there?” And Dinesh was about to explain, when those furious facial expressions that I have mentioned in the previous paragraph took place. No way, was I going to let Dinesh”enlighten” them with his ”facts”, so, the topic was quickly swept off the track. Phew! Disaster averted!

The above incident made me think. What made me act so? Why did I not want the kids to know the ”facts”? Because they would stop ”believing”? What would happen then? Probably nothing. After all, aren’t they going to find out one day, anyway? In fact, since last year, Rengoni has already started asking questions after Christmas, and every time the ‘tooth fairy’ pays a visit to our hoiuse. ”Is there really a tooth fairy? Are you sure , that it is not you or dad who puts the money under the pillow?” To which, I always say something else or somehow duck the question. But, for how long? She is nearly nine and Agastya will follow suit too. Is it that I still want to hold on to their innocence? So, when do I tell them? Is there any such thing as ‘the right age’ ?

What would you do? When did you stop ‘believing’ ?

On to the food, later that day, I made this delicious, slightly rich chicken curry. It was another of those ”put together” curries, where ingredients were being added on the spur of the moment with a satisfying outcome. The plan was to make the usual chicken curry, but it was not meant to be. But, no one complained, as it was being devoured for lunch.

What’s needed-

1.5 kg whole chicken, skinned and cut into pieces
2 tblsp cumin powder
1/2 c sunflower/vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp saffron strands
1 large onion+4 large cloves of garlic+1 inch piece of ginger, ground together to a paste
1 tblsp garam masala
1/2 C whole almonds, ground together with a little water to a slightly coarse consistency; andĀ  mixed with 2 and 1/2 C water ( may need more)
1/2 C finely chopped coriander
salt to taste

For tempering-

1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 whole red chilli
1 inch cinnamon stick

How to-

  1. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add the ingredients for tempering.
  2. When the seeds begin to sizzle, add the sugar. When it caramalises, add the onion-ginger-garlic paste along with the cumin powder and the saffron. Stir constantly till most of the moisture evaoporates and the mixture is lumpy.
  3. Add the chicken and stir till nicely coated in the spices and is browned on all sides.
  4. Season with salt, cover and cook over low heat till the chicken is very nearly cooked. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add the almond mixture along with the garam masala powder and stir well. Simmer, stirring frequently to avoid sticking to the bottom and add more water if the mixture dries out too much.
  6. Stir in the coriander and simmer for about 1/2 a minute.
  7. Remove from heat and serve hot with rice or any Indian flatbread and some fresh salad.

This was one gorgeous, lip smacking dish, if I may say so myself. Saffron and almonds go very well together, and thisĀ  dish reaffirmed the fact. It was the perfect marriage and the coriander in the end added the final lift to the dish.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RJ Flamingo June 21, 2010 at 11:22 am

Sounds fabulous…. and I think I have everything on hand, too. Hmmm… could be tonight’s supper!


2 Cherine June 21, 2010 at 11:46 am

This chicken looks so flavorful and tasty!


3 Rosa June 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm

A beautiful dish! So droolworthy.




4 Alessio June 21, 2010 at 3:01 pm

i don’t really remember when I started not believing in Santa anymore, was it probably when I found the gifts in my parents closet? or did I catch something in the air across the years so that I came up to not believing into him anymore without realizing? dunno, dementia is kicking in lol
As concerning the curry, this sounds like my style of curry yum! Nice, rich and luscious with the homey touch of almonds in it and the exotic saffron; something to try indeed!


5 sanyukta gour(bayes) June 21, 2010 at 4:03 pm

ahhhhhhhh….bful pics…chicken looks so tempting in tht kadai


6 5 Star Foodie June 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Beautiful chicken dish, so flavorful!


7 Soma June 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I made badam chicken on friday!! :-) no photos, no posts. I will try the saffron version next time.

Every year I fear that P will stop believing. The little one goes one day when she was told that unicorns are not real, they belong to fantasy land…. “mama, where is fantasy land? can we go there one day to see the unicorns if they are not real here?” well thank god for children!


8 Sarah, Maison Cupcake June 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm

The thick sauce clinging to that meat looks absolutely divine. Looks like an amazing curry.


9 notyet100 June 22, 2010 at 3:07 am

u r temptin me to try this,..


10 praniskitchen June 22, 2010 at 3:49 am

wow sunitha nice write up abt the saturday bf talk..
The chicken curry looks so delicious addition of saffron and badam makes it so tasty.. looks so creamy n yummy


11 The Gypsy Chef June 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Leave it too men to blurt out the facts! Kudos to you for saving the day! I once told my kids that if you didn’t believe in Santa, he would stop bringing gifts. My daughter is off to college and still can’t wait for Santa.
Lovely pics! This recipe will be our Friday dinner!


12 Su-yin June 22, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Oh man, the photos of this dish are so enticing. I love how there’s no coconut milk used. Definitely going to try this out.


13 Malar Gandhi June 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Looks extremely rich and creamy, very inviting chicken curry:)


14 Jamie June 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

Oooh, Sunita, you know that I am always scouring my friends blogs for fabulous Indian recipes that even I could do and this is it! Next on my list! Scrumptious and using ingredients I have on hand. Perfect. And it looks so delicious! And I was always glad that our older son was always the one who wanted to believe while the younger one was always the realistic, practical one who never believed anything, so no ruining any believing by accident!


15 Anjali September 21, 2010 at 8:50 am

Sunita, looks delicious – am going to try it this weekend – one doubt, where’s the chilli? Do you not add any at all? Thanks, Anjali


16 Sunita September 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Anjali, I added one whole red chilli with the other ingredients for tempering; if you like it hotter, you can add some chilli powder while adding the cumin powder and saffron.


17 Anjali September 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Sunita, made it today – it was tres superb! Thank you so much for such an unusual, simple and delicious recipe. Went beautifully with chapatis. Didnt add any more chilli pwd.

Just a couple of comments — first, at point 4., I added a little (1/4 cup) hot water before covering and cooking, as the masala was pretty dry by then and I thought the chicken may burn. Shd I have done that, or does the chicken let out enough juices to avoid burning?
Second, as you’d guess, am novice cook. Wd be helpful if you gave approx times for each step – for e.g., ‘Stir constantly till most of the moisture evaoporates and the mixture is lumpy. ‘ – if you cd say ‘about 3 min’, that would really help.
Thanks again, and keep up the great work. Anjali.


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