Chicken with Whole Spices
This tastes authentically Indian, but with an added 'home-made' freshness that is so often lacking in Indian restaurants.
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course, Delia's Smith's Illustrated Cookery Course and The Delia Collection: Chicken. Serves 4
Prepare the chicken a few hours before cooking.
Arrange the pieces in an oblong roasting tin. In a small bowl mix together the crushed garlic, ground ginger and turmeric with the groundnut oil. Now, with a sharp knife, make several incisions in the chicken pieces, season with salt and pepper, then coat them as evenly as possible with the oil and spice mixture. Leave in a cool place (but not in the fridge) so that the flavours penetrate. When you're ready to cook the chicken, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400ºF (200ºC). Place the tin on the highest shelf, uncovered, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken pieces are a nice golden colour.
Meanwhile, prepare the whole spices. First of all place them in a thick-based frying pan over a medium heat for about 1-2 minutes until they turn one shade darker, tossing them to keep them on the move. This warming of the spices helps to draw out all the flavour. Next grind them and crush finely, either with a pestle and mortar or in a basin using the end of a rolling pin.
Next, melt the butter and oil together in a frying pan. Add the onion and green pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Now add the crushed spices, chillies and crumbled bay leaf, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the yoghurt and water and add a little salt. Now pour this mixture all over the chicken pieces, cover the tin with a double sheet of foil and bake for 30 minutes with the heat reduced to gas mark 4, 350ºF (180ºC), then remove the foil and let it cook for about a further 10 minutes.
Menu suggestion Serve with Spiced Pilau Rice and Mango Chutney.
You will also need a roasting tin or dish large enough to take the chicken pieces in a single layer.