'Zeera chicken balti' basically means cumin flavoured chicken curry made in a deep pan. You can use a wok or a deep frying pan, ideally a non-stick pan will be easiest to work with. The list of ingredients may seem shockingly long however, the end result is a delicious curry with a really balanced flavour. The warm taste of cumin compliments the chicken very well in this dish. Overall this curry is very mild, so it will hopefully appeal to most people’s taste. This curry can be eaten with boiled rice, pilau rice or naan bread.
Ingredients 3 Chicken breasts (cubed)
Black cumin seeds (optional)
Black cardamom pod
Green cardamom pod
Dried coriander seeds
Add a pinch of cumin seeds to your chosen pan/wok. Gently heat these for a couple of minutes.
Add 4tbsp cooking oil and a pinch of salt to the same pan, allow the oil to heat slightly. Add the chicken and gently cook it in the oil.
As soon as the chicken has cooked take it out of the pan and place it in a pyrex bowl for later. Keep the oil in the pan, the curry base will be cooked in this. The heat can be turned off for now.
The oil will change in colour after the chicken has been cooked in it.
Using the nut/spice blender function on a food processor, make powder from 1tbsp cumin seeds. Add this to a plate for later.
Optional: add 1tsp black cumin seeds
Cumin seed powder
I prefer to measure out all the herbs and spices before the cooking process; it makes it less manic with so many elements to remember. You will need 1tsp cumin seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, 1tsp chilli powder, 1/4tsp turmeric powder, 2tsp dried coriander seeds, 1 black cardamom pod, 1 green cardamom pod and 1 clove.
Add an optional 1/2tsp black cumin seeds.
Roughly chop 2 medium sized onions and place them in a food chopper. Add 2 cloves of garlic and chop the ingredients together to make a paste.
Reheat the pan with the oil in, add an extra 1tbsp cooking oil and 1tsp salt.
Add the onion paste to the pan and cook this on a gentle heat stirring regularly. After a few minutes add 1tsp of crushed ginger.
Whilst the onions are slowly cooking add 150g tinned tomatoes to the food chopper and give it a few blitz. You will only need a few blitz to chop the tomatoes in to smaller pieces.
Once the onions start to turn gold in colour, add all the herbs and spices prepared earlier. Stir well and continue cooking on a gentle heat. If the mixture starts to stick to the pan, add a few tablespoons of water.
Cook the spice for roughly 5 minutes and add more water if necessary.
Add the tomatoes and mix well. Continue to heat this for 15 minutes whilst stirring it regularly. Use the above method of adding water if it sticks too much. This is the part of the cooking process where all the flavours are extracted from the herbs and spices and combined together.
At this point you can add a small mild chilli, chopped. This is entirely optional.
Once the curry base has cooked, add the chicken to the pan. Stir well to ensure all the chicken pieces are coated with the curry base.
Add 1/2 cup of water. Lower the heat and cover the pan with a large lid, this can be taken from another pan. Simmer on a very low heat for 5 minutes.
Then add 3tbsp plain yoghurt to the chicken. Simmer again (using the lid) on a very low heat for 10-15 minutes.
If you like it extra creamy add another table spoon of yoghurt.
Stir well to ensure the yogurt has been evenly spread on the chicken.
Garnish with a few chopped sprigs of coriander. Serve and enjoy.
If you like mild curries such as this one, then why not try Chicken Dopiaza using this recipe.