Growing up in California, there was a mosque nearby that we used to attend frequently. It was a small mosque, a ranch-style home that was transformed into a few prayer halls and a large kitchen. It had a very homey feel to it and I have wonderful memories of my time spent there. Unfortunately several years ago, a bigot that lived nearby decided to take it upon himself to vandalize and set fire to the mosque (you can read more about that here). Since then, a new mosque has been built in its place.
Some of my fondest memories of that Masjid (mosque) revolve around the community potlucks. They were simple affairs, and the women from the community always brought with them plenty of home-cooked meals. The majority of the community in that area was of Pakistani Punjabi background, and that reflected in the food that was brought to these events. Murgh Chanay, Chicken and Chickpea Curry, was almost always present at these potlucks, and was loved by all. It is a simple dish, and it is often enjoyed with Matar Pulao (Green Pea Pilaf), plain rice, or with Naan/Roti (traditional flatbread).
Yield: 3 to 4 Servings
- 1 pound boneless chicken, cut into desired pieces
- 1 onion, thinly sliced, divided
- ½ cup oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- ¾ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups chickpeas
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 green chili, sliced lengthwise
- Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Heat half of the oil in a cooking vessel over medium-high heat. Add half of the sliced onions and cook until transparent. Add ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric, and salt and cook for 2 minutes.
Add ½ cup water, tomatoes and chicken, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the chicken is no longer rare and the tomatoes have lost their shape and begun to form a paste.
Run half of the chickpeas through a blender or food processor with ½ cup water, and blitz until a thick paste is formed. Add chickpea paste and whole chickpeas to chicken, mix, and cook until a thick gravy is formed.
Heat remaining oil in a small fry pan over medium-high heat. Add remaining onions and cook until golden brown. While the onions are cooking, add garam masala and green chili to chicken and mix well. Top with tempered onions (with oil), cover, and reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro.