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Chicken Dilruba
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    Chicken Dilruba

    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
    • 6 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
    • 3-to-4-pound chicken, skin removed, cut into small serving pieces
    • 1 cup plain yogurt
    • 1/4 cup almonds
    • 1/4 cup walnuts
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin or squash seeds (optional)
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 2 to 3 fresh green cayenne peppers, stems and seeds removed, minced or substitute any small, hot chiles such as serranos or jalapenos
    • Salt and ground cayenne to taste
    • A few strands whole saffron, soaked in two tablespoons warm milk
    Garnish:
    Chopped fresh cilantro
    Whole almonds
    Whole cashews

    Put the onions and ginger into a blender or food processor and process to a smooth paste, about the consistency of applesauce. Heat the butter or vegetable oil in a heavy skillet and brown the onion mixture, stirring often. Add the chicken and yogurt, mix well, and cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes rather dry and the chicken begins to brown. Grind together the almonds, walnuts, and seeds until they are fine. Stir them into the milk and add to the chicken along with the garam masala, turmeric, chile, salt and ground cayenne. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the chicken is very tender and the sauce is very thick, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the saffron mixture and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer. Garnish with the cilantro and nuts and serve hot.

    Serves: 4
    Heat Scale: Medium

    Note:The Moghuls controlled most of India from 1526 until 1839, leaving behind some of the country's most famous architecture, like the Taj Mahal, and influencing Punjabi cuisine more than any other conqueror. Chile Pepper Magazine Contributing Editor Richard Sterling collected this recipe on an Indian adventure, and describes the results as "a very rich, spicy-sweet chicken dish with distinct Moghul influences. Dilruba means sweetheart.

    From: Heat Wave! The Best of Chile Pepper Magazine, Freedom, CA:
    Compiled by Editor-in-Chief Dave DeWitt and Food Editor Nancy Gerlach.

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