Al Noor Chicken, today with potatoes and spinach. That’s what I call it, simply as a tribute to the Bassar brand I use in this curry.
It doesn’t matter whether there are potatoes or spinach in it, whether it’s just potatoes or just spinach or green peppers, it just always simply tastes delicious. It’s one that my family really love. It’s one that always tastes amazing and the aroma is just so seductive even as you’re cooking it let alone when you’re eating it.
I love Bassar, I think it’s a wonder spice blend, I like that each blend creates its own unique magic and this recipe was where my love for Al Noor started. It’s a hot strong aromatic blend, reflective of the higher content of chili powder, mustard oil and fenugreek leaves.
Bassar curry Masala uses traditional spices and herbs to produce an all in one complete spice mixture which only requires the addition of salt according to an individual’s taste. This curry masala is widely used in Asian communities around the world especially Kashmiri, Pakistani and North Indian cuisine.
I don’t use ginger in this recipe or cardamoms. I use a blade of mace and lots of cloves and peppercorns.
I use tons of garlic and lots of fresh tomatoes. But the key ingredient is the Al Noor Bassar. I do use additional ground spice powders, that’s just me, but the addition of Al Noor Bassar brings on a beautiful flavour profile, unique and specific to Al Noor. The rest is down to years of cooking!
8 cloves of garlic sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 medium chicken breasts sliced
1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
1/2 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 large onions thickly sliced
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp Al Noor Bassar powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 blade mace
3 tablespoons tomato purée
4 fresh tomatoes chopped really small
quarter cup of oil
1 tsp of sugar and salt or to taste
Handful of fresh chopped coriander
1 large potato, peeled, cut into finger width slices then quartered
2 green chillies slit or scotch bonnet if you like heat
1 tbsp dried kasuri methi
Approx 80g fresh baby leaf spinach
Take a karahi, add the cooking oil, once hot add the whole spices the bay leaves, cloves, mace and peppercorns.
As soon as they take on a darker colour and you can smell that toasty aroma add the onions and garlic. Fry this gently until the onions become opaque and take on slight colour.
At this point add all the freshly chopped tomatoes, add the salt and sugar, green chillis, I added a Scotch bonnet quartered but that is entirely optional.
Continue to cook this on a medium to high heat until the tomatoes are completely broken down and mushy. The salt will ensure that all the water in the onions and tomatoes is released and the sugar will aid with caramalisation.
Once the onion is softened and the tomatoes are disintegrated add the tomato purée. Fry this until you can see the oil is separating at the sides and in the middle when you stir.
Add 1/4 cup of water and bring this to the simmer. Next add the ground spice powders and continue to cook this covered stirring occasionally until the water has totally evaporated and the oil is splitting floating to the top. This method is called ‘bhuna-ing’ where you cook out any liquid and let the spices release their oils.
Next add another quarter cup of water and stir well. Add the potatoes in, the Kasuri methi, then the chicken and combine together well. Cook uncovered until the water evaporates again and the oil splits. During this time the potatoes should be half cooked.
At this point I add another half cup of water and this time cook the curry covered on a low heat until the potato is cooked. You should still have a nice sauce. The chicken will be tender and juicy. Reduce the sauce if you prefer but be mindful that the potatoes will continue to absorb some more of your sauce as it stands and thicken.
Lastly add the spinach leaves if using and a handful of freshly chopped coriander. Fold this in and simply cover with the lid for a couple of minutes for the spinach to wilt. You will see that the oil should be surfacing at this point. And your done…so is the Al Noor chicken!
Serve with rice or flatbreads of your choice.
Feel free to omit the potatoes or spinach.
Feel free to add whatever veg you like.
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