Sunday, February 01, 2015

Chicken Do Pyaza

Chicken Braised with Two Types of Onions 
We had company for dinner tonight. This last week has been pretty busy so all the cooking was done starting early this morning. It's the middle of winter in Michigan (USA) with temperatures plunging into the single digits, making the task of cooking meat and fish rather difficult because all the windows need to be left open to air out the house.

I used all shortcuts possible while making this chicken dish. Do (two) Pyaza (onions) means a gravy made with two preparations of onions. The chicken was marinated overnight, brought to room temperature and then cooked with finely sliced onions and garnished with crispy, deep-fried red shallots. We're very fortunate that birista or deep-fried onions/shallots are now readily available in Indian and Oriental markets in North America. 

Besides using fresh tomatoes, tomato paste was also added to thicken and provide a rich, red colour to the gravy. Kashmiri mirch which is an aromatic paprika from India also adds to the rich, red colour. I was first introduced to this way of cooking meat and poultry by a friend in New Delhi close to 45 years ago. I was only just finding my way around my kitchen when this kind gentleman came over one day and taught me to make this. Although he has long since left this world, his kindness and patience remains a precious memory.

1 lb. chicken, cut in bite-sized pieces
3 large onions, sliced finely
1 medium tomato, diced
1 + 1 tsp. garlic paste
1 + 1 tsp. ginger paste
1 + 1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch/paprika
1/4 tsp. tandoori masala
1 tsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder (ground cinnamon, cardamon & cloves) 
1 + 6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 sticks cinnamon
2 black, large cardamom
1/2 tsp. shah jeera or cumin
2 cups simmering chicken broth
1 cup + 4 Tbsp. deep-fried red shallots
salt to taste

  1. Clean chicken and marinate in the fridge overnight (or minimum 2 hours) with 1 Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. each ginger & garlic pastes, 1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch, tandoori masala and salt to taste. 
  2. Bring marinated chicken to room temperature before cooking.
  3. Blend diced tomatoes with 1 tsp. each ginger and garlic pastes.
  4. Heat oil over medium high heat, fry chicken until golden brown & set aside.
  5. In the same pan, sputter shah jeera, cinnamon and black cardamom.
  6. Add sliced onions and stir-fry until translucent.
  7. Stir in tomato paste and stir-fry until oil resurfaces.
  8. Add blended tomatoes, garam masala & remaining Kashmiri mirch.
  9. Stir well & simmer over medium heat until oil resurfaces again.
  10. Add browned chicken, 1 cup deep-fried red shallots and broth, lower heat to medium-low, cover & simmer for 30 minutes until gravy is thick and reduced by half.
  11. Adjust salt to taste, garnish with remaining deep-fried red shallots & transfer to serving dish.
Serve with hot Basmati rice, Indian bread or tortillas.