Shab’s Chicken Fry Masala

Two years ago, the concept of a food blog was alien to me. Apart from the usual Allrecipes, Epicurious or Martha Stewart, the only recipes that I swear by are those taught by my mom or my aunt. The only curry I knew how to make during my student days were thanks to Patak’s paste that came in variety ( albeit taste all the same!), and of course the Pakistani joint that sells amazing chicken pakora and biryani saved the day whenever some spicy craving was in order.
Then I chanced upon this blog, which brought Malabar cuisine to a new height, and fell in love with the Chicken Fry Masala that was so simple, yet tasted out of the world. Two years on, we still have this tasty curry for special occassion with ghee rice, or on a lazy work day when a curry is needed in twenty minutes.
It was also thanks to this blogger that my food blog was born.

A lot of you know Shabs of Shabs cuisine. One fine day, as I was sitting idle browsing on her website, I quickly sent an email asking for some photography tips. Shabs got back to me almost immediately, and gave a list of tips that I still use until now. She encouraged me to start my own blog and document what I made.
I love that idea of sharing. So The Cooking Doctor was created in May 2011. As I reflect on the friendships and the recipes and the books that came along after the blog, one person that I should really thank is Shabs, and her famous Chicken Fry Masala. If it wasn’t for how delicious the curry turned out, and how generous she was with her recipes, writings and photography tips, I bet I wouldn’t be lured to join in the community either. And Patak’s would still get business from me, for buying the ready made curry paste yet again!
What striked me as odd then has become a routine every time I cook the chicken for this recipe. I would marinade the chicken pieces with freshly ground spices, then boil them, ( yes, boil!) until they are tender. More spices will be tempered separately with lots and lots of onions, shallots, tomatoes before the boiled chicken pieces are combined in.
All it takes is 20 minutes, give and take. The curry is ready. 
The few variations that I made as I go along is by adding almonds once in a while, or adding a wee bit more gravy. But I still love the original recipe, where the chicken pieces are dry roasted, and full of spices.
In my effort to push persuade Shabs to post more of her authentic Malabar recipes, I am sharing this gorgeous dish with all of you. Pay a visit to her blog, and try the dishes there. With our comment love, hopefully this talented lady will keep on showering us with her traditional recipes:-).
If you like my photos here, at least now you knew who is my first photography guru!

Shabs Chicken Fry Masala
from here

1 whole chicken- cut into 12 pieces
2 tbsp ginger-garlic mince
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp chilli powder
a few sprigs curry leaves
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water

Spices for tempering
a few sprigs curry leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 tbsp ginger-garlic mince
2 large red onions- sliced finely
2 tomatoes- chopped coarsely
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp garam masala
a small bunch coriander leaves
Juice from 1/2 lemon
salt and black pepper to season
2 tbsp vegetable oil (original recipe is coconut oil)

1. Marinate the chicken with spices and and boil with water until chicken pieces are almost tender. This takes around 15-20 minutes in a heavy bottomed pan. 
2. In a separate wok,  heat the oil and temper the curry leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves.
3. Add in the sliced onions, ginger-garlic paste and tomatoes.
4. Once tomatoes are mushy, add the chilli powder, cumin powder and a bit of water to form a paste.
5. Tip in the boiled chicken and the liquid; combine well.
6. Drizzle the lemon juice, garam masala, salt and pepper.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.
note: add a bit more water if you like a bit more gravy.

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  1. says

    100% agree with you on shab’s blog… she seems to have gone quite nowadays, maybe busy… but i keep going to her page to get tips on authentic malabar cooking and seriously love the way she explains things in detail… the chicken masala looks so sumptious… and the pics are gorgeous!!! :)

  2. says

    I am totally with you, my friend, on the food blogging thought except mine is 8 months old :)

    Thanks for introducing Shabs blog. The chicken looks delicious and your photos magazine like.

  3. says

    The chicken looks delish Jehanne. Somewhat different from the way we do it at home – yet, I love all those flavors in there. And as usual, love the pics :)

  4. says

    Hi Jehanne, I am late to comment in here, but thank you for all the praise, I am totally flattered. I am glad you liked the recipe.:)

    Love, shabs.

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