Indian Recipes – Browning and Adding Spices to the Chopped Onions for the Chicken Curry

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 64,512
    Chef Bhasin Balraj demonstrates how to make the Indian dish, Chicken Curry, including what spices to add to the onion base.

    Bhasin: Hi I'm Bhasin and this is Nicky my wife, we are from the Bombay Curry Company, an Indian restaurant in Alexandria and we are showing you how to make the perfect chicken curry. In this segment, we are going to show you how to brown the onions. It's very very very critical, browning the onions, so we are going to devote an entire segment to it, of course you turn the stove on and then we are going to add -- put the pot on and we are going to add some oil. How much oil? We are going to add approximately a quarter cup of oil, you can add more or less it's a matter of preference.

    There we go, and let the oil heat a little bit and then we are going to add the onions to the oil, once it heats up a little bit. We are going to add chopped onions, we have approximately three medium onions here and we are going to, I think, maybe add two. Again, how much onion to add depends on you, if you add more onions, you are going to get more sauce, it's also going to take you longer to cook, it's also going to, you are also going to have to add more spices to that because you have increased your base. So, we are going to let this brown on high heat and once it starts browning, we are going to reduce the heat to kind of medium and caramelize or brown these onions. Okay, now when these red onions which we are trying to caramelize start turning pink, they turn a color pink like you see now. That is the time to add some, our ginger and garlic. You can add chopped ginger and garlic, very finely chopped ginger garlic as we have mentioned, talked about earlier, which has been ground up with a little bit of water to facilitate the grinding. We already have a little bit of ginger and garlic in our yogurt, in our chicken over here, so we don't want to add too much of ginger and garlic. So, I think we added about a couple of teaspoons in there and we are going to add a couple more in here and that should probably do it for the ginger and garlic, and we are going to continue frying the paste.

    At this stage, if you find that your -- too hot or beginning to burn too fast, you can reduce your fire to medium. At any point you find that it is getting out of control and you find that the onions and ginger and garlic is browning too fast, just take a little bit of water and add the water and it will stop the cooking process and put you back in control. Those people who know Indian cooking will add the spices directly, but sometimes doing that will make the spices burn. You want the spices to be toasted, you want the spices to be cooked, but if you cannot control those spices, you will find that it will have a burnt taste.

    So, a good idea is to play safe. Instead of adding spices to the onions and the ginger and garlic which has been fried or caramelized or bhoonoed, we will make a paste of these spices in water. So, what we are going to do is, we are going to add some salt, and some turmeric, just a little bit, some coriander powder, I like coriander so I'm going to add little more of the coriander powder. I added a spoon and a half and perhaps almost a teaspoon of cumin powder, some garam masala, a teaspoon of garam masala and some cayenne.

    So, you mix it all together to form a paste and this we can add to our caramelizing onions, once they have reached the stage that we want. How much we brown will determine the color of our curry. I think it's ready to be added and we are going to add the spices. You see the onions and everything, it's beginning to break down, when you add the water the spices mix together in the water, it forms one mass. The onions break up and after a while, the oil separates, this process is what is known as bhoonoing.

    Now you see, the onions which were looking separate are beginning to get a little pasty. Once the oils separates, you see that the oil is released, you will see a sheen on your mass over there, you will see like a ring of oil at the side, those are some of the indicators that your spices are almost cooked, fry it or saut it a few minutes more and you are in good shape. We are going to add the tomatoes, again, it's entirely up to you, if you like more tomatoes, you can add more tomatoes. I like more tomatoes so I'm going to add little more tomatoes. It probably has two medium tomatoes in here and we are going to cook the tomatoes down. The tomatoes, these tomatoes are a little hard, I would prefer tomatoes which are vine ripe, have a little acidity, have some taste and flavor to it. You can also use canned tomatoes, you can use tomato paste or tomato puree also, it all works. After a while, you will see that the tomatoes are beginning to break down a little bit, get caramelize a little bit, again this is the process called bhoono. Now that we have finished making the masala, it s ready the oil has separated and we are ready to put the chicken in and cook the chicken and get ready for that perfect chicken curry.