Cilantro is hands down my favorite herb of all time! If I could have the herb garden of my dreams, I would plant cilantro everywhere!! While most of the Indian dishes that I cook require cilantro as garnish, for this dish, the herb paste forms the backbone of the sauce. The combination of cilantro and mint makes the dish light and fragrant and gently simmering the chicken in the coconut milk ensures that you end up with juicy morsels of meat.
Please make sure that you use the tender , young stems of cilantro in this dish - the harder, older stems will most probably end up making the dish taste bitter. This dish is adapted from this recipe (http://www.sailusfood.com/2007/01/22/coconut-chicken-masala/) and I have simplified the cooking process and tweaked it so that the flavors of the herbs are front and center in this dish. —Madhuja
1.5 lbs chicken thigh meat, cut into small chunks
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp ground clove
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl. oz)
1 tsp cardamom powder
Zest of 1 lime + juice of ½ lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 small bunches of cilantro (leaves and young stems)
Throw the cilantro, mint and cashews in a food processor and pulse until it is very smooth. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. If needed, add a splash of water to get the desired smoothness. Set aside.
On medium heat add oil to a saucepan. Add the onions and salt and sauté until the onions start getting browned at the edges. Add the ginger paste, garlic paste and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the black pepper, cinnamon, clove and coriander powder and sauté for another minute. Add the chicken and sauté for another couple of minutes.
Add the coconut milk and mix thoroughly. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, cover and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked through. Check a couple of times to make sure that there is enough liquid in the pot.
Add the cilantro-mint paste and mix everything well. Let it cook uncovered on medium-low heat for another 5 minutes or until sauce has the desired consistency.
Off the heat, add the cardamom powder, lime zest and juice. Mix well. Check for seasoning. Serve immediately with steamed rice. Enjoy!