Have you ever had an intense dislike for a particular herb which rather somehow caught your attention later? Mint is one such herb for me! There was one point in my life when I absolutely “loathed” the flavor and aroma of mint leaves. I didn’t particularly know the reason why but this intense dislike probably might have been because of not being too used to its taste. Apparently growing up as kid, I never came across this herb being used in any of the dishes prepared at my parents home, except for mint-coriander chutneys. Especially when it comes to Bengali dishes, one can claim with huge confidence that there is absolutely no usage of mint leaves in Bengali cuisine. I remember I got introduced to Mint for the first time when I spent my days in Bangalore. Mint is widely used in Karnataka cuisine; it is in fact so common that once I came across mint chutney rather being used as a sauce inside MacDonald’s burgers. This happened around 11 years back…long time huh! Not sure if they are still carrying on with the same tradition. At that point, back in Bangalore before I tried anything new, I literally had to confirm the presence of Mint (with the one serving up the dish)…..and if the confirmation was affirmative I would very clearly and politely turn down the dish. Today, I realize what a loser I was!! I mean seriously, would you really not eat something just because it’s got mint in it?? Now I know how immature I was! 😛
Today, 11 years after, as I am writing down this post, I literally cannot explain to you how much importance this particular herb holds in my life. There won’t be a single day I wouldn’t have fresh mint leaves stacked up in air-tight containers inside my fridge. Be it biryanis, curries, chutneys or even a glass of fresh mint lassi, that forms a refreshing drink to beat the summer heat, I always find an excuse to use mint in most of my cooking. Not only have I got used to its sweet mellow flavor and aroma, but today I love it because of its various nutritional benefits too! Most importantly being that it promotes digestion, cools down the stomach in case of indigestion and inflammation.
Today I am sharing with you the recipe of “Mint Chicken Curry”. Chicken curry is a popular and loved delicacy in South Asia, South-east Asia, the Caribbean and Morocco. I am not too sure on the roots and origin of this dish, but different regions have adapted and formed their own versions of chicken curry, depending on the local tastes and preferences. Same stands for chicken curry in India. Due to India being a culturally diverse nation, you would find a whole variety of recipes for chicken curry within India itself. This recipe is just one of them.
Chicken curry flavored with mint leaves tastes delicious and refreshing. It is best enjoyed with rotis / phulkas but nevertheless it does taste wonderful with pulao as well.
Chicken – 750 gms
Bay leaves – 3-4
Cinnamon stick – 1 big stick / 2 small sticks
Whole peppercorns – 6-7
Cloves – 7-8
Green cardamom pods – 3-4
Onions – 3-4 finely chopped
Ginger – 1 large piece
Garlic – 8-10 cloves
Green chillies – 6-7
Curry leaves – 10-12
Mint leaves (picked) – 1 bunch
Tomato puree – 2 tomatoes
Yogurt – 3-4 tbsp
Cashew nut paste – paste of around 10-15 cashewnuts
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Cumin powder – 1 tbsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – as per taste
- Take some oil in a pan. Add all the whole garam masala spices – bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamoms, peppercorns and cloves. Stir for few seconds.
Then add in the finely chopped onions. Saute the onions until golden brown.
Grind the ginger and garlic into a fine paste using very little water.
Once the onions turn golden brown, add the ginger-garlic paste. Mix and saute until the raw smell is gone.
2. Add the pureed tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are well cooked and the mixture turns a little dry.
3. Grind the mint leaves, curry leaves and green chillies into a fine paste. Add this paste. Mix well. Then add the red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. Cook this until the mixture is dry and the masala is well cooked.
4. Add the chicken pieces. Also add the garam masala powder. Coat the chicken well with the masala. Saute and stir continuously on high heat for 5 mins.
5. Add some water just enough to cover the chicken pieces.
Whisk the yogurt well. Add the cashew nut paste to the yogurt and mix well. You can replace the cashewnut paste with 2 tbsp of cooking cream.
Add the yogurt-cashewnut mixture. Add salt. Mix well.
6. Bring the curry to a boil. Once the curry is boiling, lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 20 mins or until the chicken is tender. After 20 mins, remove the lid and cook for another 10 mins or until the gravy thickens and you get the desired consistency.
Serve Mint Chicken Curry with hot rotis. Enjoy!!