I was looking through the selection of recipes you guys have available on my blog and was surprised to see that I haven’t posted a run-of-the-mill chicken salan dish yet. Chicken salan is a basic chicken curry (minus the curry powder, because no Pakistani/Indian cook actually cooks with curry powder btw) that is perfect for an every day affair or can be jazzed up a bit and would be perfect to serve as a dish at a dinner party.
Either way, it’s a staple that most of us have grown up on. Tender, juicy chicken that easily falls off the bone cooked in a velvety, flavorful sauce. It’s really quite a perfect balance and it’s amazing what kind of flavors you can extract out of simple ingredients. That is probably my favorite part of cooking btw. It’s the same ingredients used over and over again in new ways that result in new exciting flavors. It’s fun.
Let me show you how it’s done!
First, we’ll need to slice up one medium onion. I ran out of yellow onions (super shocking for me!) so I used a red onion that I had on hand.
Add the onions to the pot and saute with two teaspoons of kosher salt. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s always quicker to sauté onions with salt because the salt will draw out the moisture in the onions allowing it to sweat better. Cook this for about five minutes or until the onions have turned a slight brown.
Add in two teaspoons of ginger and garlic paste, one teaspoon of garam masala, half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, half a teaspoon of red chili powder, two teaspoons of cumin powder, and two teaspoons of coriander powder to your pot. Sautee this into the onions until it comes together in a loose paste.
- 2 drumsticks
- 6 chicken thigh pieces (3 on each thigh)
- 4 chicken breast pieces (2 on each breast)
- 2 wings
While this is happening, chop up 3 tablespoons of cilantro and one green chile into small pieces. The green chile is at your own discretion, add more or less based on your preference.
Now add about 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup of water to the pot depending on how deep your pot is and put a lid on the entire shabang and allow this to simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes. You want the water to barely cover the chicken.
Now, here is where this dish differs from regular home-every day salan, to company salan. Usually, when guests are coming over you want to serve some of your better, fancier, more expensive dishes. It’s important to make guests feel comfortable, welcome, and appreciated. (Remember, I am Pathan, so this was big in my house) But one of the things that’s not so bueno with guests is having really watery salan. Because it’s super easy to extend a dish with having lots of water added to a sauce so it might show that you did less effort, maybe? Unsure, but watery salan in front of guests isn’t cool. We want a thick, velvety sauce that coats the chicken pieces. So we are going to allow some of the excess water to boil out, with the lid off.
- 1 whole, skinned chicken cut into 14 pieces
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1 medium onion (red or yellow) sliced
- 2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garam masala
- .5 turmeric
- .5 red chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 3 tsp chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp chopped green chili
- Heat up oil in a heavy, large over medium heat
- Add in sliced onion and salt and cook for 5 minutes or until onions are golden brown
- Add in ginger and garlic paste and the spices and cook for 1 minute
- Add in the tomatoes and cover the pot and allow this to all steam and cook for about 3-5 minutes
- Add in the chicken and cook this in the masala, allowing it to slightly brown piece by piece for 5 minutes
- Add ½-3/4 cup of water to the pot, depending on the depth of your pot, you want the sauce to barely cover the chicken
- Add the half the cilantro and green chiles and mix with the chicken and put a lid on the pot and cook for 20-25 minutes
- Boil down some of the sauce with the lid off if it is not thickened enough
- Add the remaining cilantro on top and serve warm
I hope you guys try this out!
Please let me know if you do. 🙂