Chicken Makhani with Pilau Rice

Marinated chicken roasted on the bone with Makhani style sauce and pilau rice.

Skinless chicken thighs marinated in spices and yogurt then roasted on the bone in a hot oven, giving the chicken deep Indian flavour and also keeping the chicken wonderfully moist. The sauce is made from onion, tomato, almonds, garlic, chilli and spices – it is a match for even the best of Indian takeaways here in the UK. The pilau uses chicken stock to cook the rice along with garlic, shallots and spices to give that authentic flavour.

This recipe is fairly straightforward and tastes so good that you may never order an Indian takeaway again.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 25 minutes (plus 2-3 hours to marinade), cooking time 40 minutes

Ingredients

For marinated chicken

4-6 chicken thighs – skin off but keep on the bone

250g Greek yogurt

3 dessert spoons desiccated coconut

1/2 tsp cayanne pepper

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garam masala

Juice of half a lemon

Root ginger – 1/2 thumb sized piece, peel, finely chop

4 cloves garlic – peel roughly chop

Method: Combine the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well until combined. Add the skinless chicken thighs, mix well, cover and set aside in a fridge for at least 2-3 hours (overnight is even better). Remove from fridge 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature. To cook add the chicken to a large roasting dish and cook uncovered in a hot preheated oven (200ºC fan) for 30 minutes. Leave to cool in tray for 10 minutes before serving.

For Makhani style sauce

2 dessert spoons vegetable oil

4 cloves

4 cardamom pods

8 curry leafs

2 bay leaf

2 white onions  – diced

4 cloves garlic – roughly chopped

1 large red chilli – sliced

2 dessert spoons flaked almonds – keep a few as garnish

2 tsp grated ginger

6 plum tomatoes –  remove skin then cut into wedges

Approx 200ml water

25g butter – cut into cubes

1 dessert spoon brown sugar

Salt to taste – approx 1 tsp

Coriander leaf – as garnish

You require a stick blender for this recipe

Method: In a deep pan heat the oil over a medium heat then add the onions and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until browned. Add the chilli, garlic, bay leaf, curry leaf, cloves and cardamom and stir fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Next add the tomatoes, ginger and almonds and stir fry for 2 minutes before adding approx 200ml water. Stir well and bring back to a simmer, leave to reduce and break down the tomatoes for approx 10 minutes.  Remove the bay and cardamom from the sauce then use a stick blender to blitz into a smooth curry sauce, if the sauce has reduced too much add a little extra water to loosen it. Add the sugar and the butter to the sauce and stir until combined, the butter will give the sauce the classic gleam of Indian curry sauces. Add salt to taste, when serving garnish with a few flaked almonds and coriander leaf.

For Pilau rice

4 shallots – finely chopped

2 cloves garlic – thinly slice

15g butter

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Chicken stock – twice the volume of the rice

150g basmati rice – rinse well

4 cardamom pods

4 cloves

1 bay leaf

Pinch saffron

Method: Use a pan with a tight-fitting lid, a dutch oven style one works best. Heat the butter in the pan then fry the shallots and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Next add the Cinnamon, turmeric, coriander and fry gently in the butter for a minute, take care not to burn the spices. Add the rice, cardamom, cloves and bay and stir gently so that each grain of rice is coated in the fried mixture. Add the chicken stock along with a pinch of saffron, bring to a simmer then place lid on the pan. Let the rice cook away until all the liquid is absorbed (approx 10-12 minutes on a low/medium heat) then fluff up with a fork before serving.

 

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