Hara Masala Murgh (Green Masala Chicken)
As is the case with every South Asian dish, variations of hara masala murgh abound. In the south of India, fresh desiccated coconut is used in place of yogurt, which is a common ingredient in the northern parts of Pakistan and India. The stalwarts of the dish across regions are copious amounts of fresh cilantro and mint — hence its name hara masala, which means green masala. In Lahore, it is commonly found on restaurant menus, and its peppery herbaceousness is a welcome reprieve from the tomato-onion gravies typical in Punjabi cooking. This version uses thinly sliced chicken breast. It also skips over the tedium of grinding almonds in favor of using almond butter. These two shortcuts mean quicker cooking time and a creamy texture.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 3tablespoons ghee or neutral oil
- 1large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 12whole black peppercorns
- 1teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1pound chicken breasts, thinly sliced (about ¼-inch thick)
- 1teaspoon freshly grated ginger or ginger paste
- 1teaspoon freshly grated garlic or garlic paste
- ½teaspoon kashmiri red chile powder or other red chile powder
- ¾teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½cups finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 1 ½cups finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 4Thai green chiles, chopped
- ¼cup full-fat Greek yogurt or coconut milk
- 2tablespoons almond butter or other nut butter, stirred to combine
- 2to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about ½ lemon)
- ½teaspoon garam masala (optional)
Step 1Heat ghee or oil in a medium pot or wok for about 30 seconds over medium. Add the onion, peppercorns and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, ginger and garlic, and cook on medium-high, stirring frequently until the chicken is no longer pink or fleshy and the onions have softened, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Step 2Lower the heat to medium and stir in the chile powder and salt. Continue cooking for about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup cilantro, 1 cup mint and the Thai green chiles, and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Step 3Stir in the yogurt and almond butter. Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining ½ cup cilantro and ½ cup mint. Sprinkle with lemon juice, and garam masala, if you like.