Indian cuisine dates back over 5000 years. In a true sense, the cuisine is an amalgamation of the cultures, traditions and influences of different ethnic communities absorbed and imbibed over the centuries.
If you look up the definition of curry, you will understand that it is a dish of meat, vegetables, etc., cooked in an Indian-style sauce of hot-tasting spices and typically served with rice. This is of course a much generalized definition which does not reflect the diversity that is Indian cuisine.
Bhuna technique originated in Bengal. The first wave of immigration was of the Hakka Chinese in late 18th century, who came to work on a sugar plantation. The Chinese stir fry technique was quickly adopted and bhuna dishes were favoured. Bhuna which simply means to fry the flavour base or masala really well till it starts to caramelize and give out oil along the sides.
Serve this with pita bread or Nan along with a salad or vegetables for a weeknight dinner.
600g boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut in half or third
Juice of ½ a lime
2 tablespoons ghee, divided
1 tablespoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
250g red onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon peppercorns
1-2 bay leaves
½ cup Greek style yoghurt
Fresh coriander, chopped
Salt to taste
For the masala powder
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 cardamom pods (seeds only)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (Shahijeera)
Put the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl. Marinate chicken with the juice of half a lime, 1 tablespoon of the ghee, salt to taste, chilli powder, coriander and turmeric powders for up to 2 hours.
Dry roast the spices for the masala powder until fragrant. Once cool, grind in a spice grinder and set aside.
In a large fry or saute pan, add the oil and ghee. Fry the onions and a couple of pinches of salt on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes until well caramelized.
In another fry pan, fry the chicken pieces in batches if necessary until golden brown. Add the chicken and juices into the onion pan.
Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Beat the yoghurt with a fork and add to the pan along with 2 tablespoons of the masala powder. Adjust seasoning and sprinkle the coriander leaves.