THIS recipe was given to me from a house cook one summer in Simla, India, about 10 years ago.
Ingredients: 2 boneless chicken breasts; 4 boneless chicken thighs or legs; 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter; 6 cloves of garlic, minced; 2-5 red chilies, finely chopped; 1 piece ginger, 2-inches; 5 cloves; 1 cinnamon stick, 1-inch; 2 large onions, chopped; 5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped; 1 teaspoon cardamon; 1 tablespoon garam masala; 1 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne; 2 teaspoons lemon juice; 1/4 cup yogurt; 1/2 cup cream; salt
1. Cut the chicken in large chunks then marinade in the yogurt, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon each of the garlic and ginger (minced), and a pinch of salt for 2 hours.
2. Boil water in a medium pot. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 2 minutes or until you see a split in the skin. Drain and cool. This method allows you to peel off the skin easily. Cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze out the seeds, roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside.
3. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon ghee on medium-high heat with 5 cloves, a 1-inch cinnamon stick, garlic, chilies and ginger until your kitchen is filled with the fragrance. Now add in the chopped onions and saute until translucent, about 7-8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, add the tomatoes, garam masala, cardamon and red chili powder. Cover and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Season with salt.
4. Remove the cinnamon stick, ginger piece and cloves and blend the sauce if you have a blender.
5. While the sauce simmers, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a medium sauté pan. Cook chicken pieces until just cooked through. Do not overcook. Season the chicken with salt while cooking. Add chicken pieces to the sauce, stir and serve immediately with basmati rice!