This recipe was provided by our guest chef Asma Khan.
¼ tsp good-quality saffron strands or a few drops of orange food colouring
10 tbsp sunflower oil or other neutral oil
5 onions, thinly sliced into half moons
1.2 litres/40 fl oz/5 cups thick Turkish or Greek yogurt
2 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp mild chilli powder (preferably Kashmiri)
4 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp flaked almonds, to garnish
For the garam masala
2 tsp cloves
4 black cardamom pods
2 large pieces mace
6 Indian bay leaves
To make the garam masala, in a dry frying pan (skillet), roast all the ingredients over a medium heat, stirring continuously to prevent them burning. The spices are ready when the cloves swell, turn grey, and pop.
Allow the spices to cool, then grind to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder. Grate the nutmeg, before adding it to the spice grinder. Any unused garam masala can be kept in an airtight container for a few weeks.
If using saffron to colour the dish, in a small bowl, infuse the saffron strands in 4 tbsp tepid water.
In a frying pan (skillet), heat 6 tbsp of the oil over a medium–high heat.
Add the sliced onions to the pan and fry gently, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions from the oil, leaving as much of the oil in the pan as possible to use later, and place on a plate to drain. Spread the onions across the plate so they crisp as they cool.
In a large bowl, mix the yogurt with the garlic, ginger, 1 tbsp of the garam masala and the oil retained from the caramelized onions. If using orange food colouring, add this directly to the yogurt.
In a pan that has a lid, heat the remaining 4 tbsp oil over a medium–high heat. Add the chicken and seal on all sides. Lower the heat to medium and pour the yogurt mixture over the chicken. Keep the heat at medium so the contents of the pan do not boil. Add the caramelized onions and ground coriander and cook, stirring continuously, for 10 minutes.
When the oil rises to the surface and the yogurt splits, add the chilli powder and salt. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat. Add the infused saffron at
this point, if using. Cover and cook the chicken for a further 10 minutes. Add the sugar and stir to mix thoroughly.
Before serving, taste to check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
To serve, garnish with flaked almonds.
450 g/1 lb/3½ cups wholemeal (whole wheat) or chapati flour
1 tsp salt
300 ml/10 fl oz/1¼ cups water
50 g/2 oz/4 tbsp butter or ghee, melted (or use oil)
Vegetable oil, for cooking
To make the dough in a food processor, place the flour and salt into the bowl. Using the paddle attachment, gradually add the water to the bowl. Do this very slowly so you do not end up with a sticky mess.
To make the dough by hand, place the flour and salt into a large bowl. Gradually add the water, working the dough until it is smooth, elastic and no longer sticky.
On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough for at least 5 minutes. Place in a lightly floured bowl, cover, and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Once rested, divide the dough into eight equal pieces.
Roll out each piece of dough to a 30-cm/12-inch disc. To shape the paratha, fold the top third of the disc down into the centre. Brush the dough with the melted ghee or butter, then lightly dust with flour.
Next, fold the bottom third of the disc up into the centre. Again, brush with melted ghee or butter, then dust with flour. Now, turn the folded paratha 90 degrees clockwise and fold the top third down into the centre. Brush with more melted ghee or butter and dust with flour. Lastly, fold the bottom third up into the centre to make a square.
Repeat with all pieces of dough. Keep each square separate so they do not stick to each other, cover with a clean dish towel and set aside until you are ready to cook.
When ready to cook, roll out each paratha to a 3-mm/1/8-inch thick square.
Put a tawa (flat iron griddle pan) or a non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Cooking one paratha at a time, drizzle oil around the edges of the pan and, using paper towels, press the paratha down in the pan to ensure it cooks evenly. Turn the paratha over and cook the other side in the same way. The bread is cooked when it is freckled with small brown patches on both sides.