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Tasty Chicken Podina Recipe | A Delicious Mint Curry

Tasty Chicken Podina Recipe | A Delicious Mint Curry

This tasty Chicken Podina recipe has everything you’ll ever need. Creamy, yet tart, lightly spiced and absolutely booming with mint!

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Light, creamy and minty curry.
Light, creamy and minty curry.

Introduction

Under normal circumstances, my approach to making curries is to do my research and to learn about the history of the cuisine. In fact, that tends to be my approach to making dishes from anywhere in the world.

That approach helps me to better understand the dishes themselves. And to build a more comprehensive understanding of the regional cuisine.

In fact, when you put this all together on a grander scale, it becomes a fascinating exploration of a whole country. One in which you learn the differences between regional cuisines and the where’s and why’s of it all.

While I’m certainly no expert, I really enjoy learning about the ecological and geographical reasons food is made the way it’s made. And India, in particular, with its incredible heat and diverse spices, is a fascinating place to start.

Nevertheless, there is a time and place for that kind of intellectual approach to food. And there is also a time and a place for the more adventurous, explorative approach I employed in creating this dish.

The Chicken Podina is a wonderful mint curry that is frequently sold in takeaways. And while there is some information about the history of the dish available online, there is substantially less than for most of the dishes I research.

In short, all I really know about this dish is that it is a minty chicken curry. And a very delicious one at that.

Chunks of tomato rather than pureed tomato make this dish stand out from other curries.

About the dish

Podina, sometimes spelled as Pudina, is Indian for mint. So the whole concept of this dish is essentially a minty chicken curry. That’s pretty much that.

In the takeaway versions I have tried, mint is absolutely the pervading flavour. As one might expect from a curry made with mint in mind.

The protein used is frequently chicken, though lamb is often used instead. Lamb makes a very natural partner to mint. But so does chicken. And chicken tends to be the more popular option. At least here in England!

That chicken tends to be breast. Although I think that’s generally the case with Indian takeaway food here in general. It also tends to be especially tender and flavoursome. So it can be assumed there is at least some kind of marinading going on.

The sauce is usually tart, but creamy. I don’t get citrus, but vinegar. And what I would imagine to be yogurt in most cases. Although I can’t say for certain.

Big chunks of marinaded chicken give the dish a wonderful, flavoursome bite.
Big chunks of marinaded chicken give the dish a wonderful, flavoursome bite.

About this dish

This version of the dish will simply attempt to emulate the flavours and techniques I’ve described above.

We’ll start by marinading the chicken breast to make it tender and tasty. We’ll bake it and add it late in the cook to make sure it doesn’t dry out.

Naturally, we’ll be making a very minty sauce with ground cashew nuts for texture and flavour. This step isn’t necessarily in keeping with the flavours found in takeaway versions of the dish. But it does make for a fairly tasty combination of flavours.

We’ll be using cream instead of yogurt for its versatility. Yogurt tends to split far more readily than cream, especially when mixed with heat and acid.

A quick guide | Chicken Podina – Step-by-Step

Mise en place - Chicken Podina.
Mise en place – Chicken Podina.

First off, we’ll dice and marinade our chicken in a combination of yogurt, ginger and garlic, seasoned with enough salt to impart flavour. This will need to marinade in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

We will also soak our cashew nuts in water for a similar length of time.

Next up, we’ll chop our onions, set aside a little bit more of the ginger & garlic paste we’ll have made for our marinade, and put together our spice mix. Toasting a few whole spices and grinding them into a powder, then mixing them with a few more.

We’ll grind our mint leaves into a paste with a tiny splash of vinegar and set it aside for later. We will also, separately, grind up our cashew nuts and set them aside as well.

And then we cook! First we’ll bake the chicken until it’s cooked all the way through. We’ll add it back into the sauce at the very end just to bring it back up to temperature.

With the sauce in mind, it’s onions first, to caramelise. Followed by the spices and finally the ginger and garlic paste. That keeps the flavour of the ginger and garlic nice and fresh, avoids burning the very sensitive spices and breaks down the sugars in the onion to deliver a really wonderful sweetness.

We’ll then add the cashew nuts and stir them in, followed by the mint paste and eventually just enough cream to create a nice, thick sauce in which to coat our chicken. Lastly, we’ll add a few slices of tomato and cook them through for just a few minutes.

Finally, the chicken is added, along with any additional required seasonings and we’re ready to plate!

Cashews and poppy seeds make this particular Muglai recipe what it is.

A few final things to remember

  • You really don’t want to cook the chicken for too long in the sauce. Breast, especially having been baked, is especially susceptible to overcooking and drying out. We’ve already packed the chicken with flavour during the marinading process. So there’s no need to cook it for long in the sauce.
  • You could use yogurt instead of cream. It would be a slightly more authentic approach. But if you do, use a high fat yogurt to reduce the risk of curdling. And take the pan off the heat first for the same reason.
  • It all cooks quite quickly once the sauce gets going. So be prepared beforehand. Don’t leave yourself anything to do while the cooking has already begun.

Similar Recipes & Useful Sides

The Best Kashmiri Lamb Rogan Josh Recipe – An unexpected favourite, a childhood favourite in its grown up form. Rich, deep and incredible.

Passanda Sauce Recipe – An Authentic Leftover Chicken Curry – The sexiest, creamiest, butteriest, chickeniest curry I’ve ever made and an absolute personal favourite.

Goan Lamb Curry – Another of Goa’s beautiful curries. This time a delicious vindaloo style lamb dish!

The Best Indian Flatbread Recipe – The best Indian flatbreads you’ve ever seen. Seriously.


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Tasty Chicken Podina | A Delicious Mint Curry

Tasty Chicken Podina | A Delicious Mint Curry

This tasty Chicken Podina recipe has everything you’ll ever need. Creamy, yet tart, lightly spiced and absolutely booming with mint!
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • Oil or Ghee
  • 2 lrg Chicken Breasts
  • 250 ml Full-Fat Yogurt
  • 1 lrg White Onion
  • 3 inches Fresh Ginger
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 5 Cloves
  • 4 Cardammom Pods
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Cashew Nuts
  • 1 pack Mint
  • 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 300 ml Single Cream
  • Salt
  • Caster Sugar

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Peel all of the garlic and ginger, then grind into a paste in a pestle and mortar.
  • Set half the paste aside and mix half with the yogurt, adding a little salt and then wiping out the pestle and mortar to be used again soon.
  • Chop the chicken into large pieces and submerge them in the marinade. Leave them to soak in the flavours for a couple of hours.
  • For the same couple of hours, soak the cashew nuts in water.
  • Pick all of the mint leaves and discard the stalks. Then grind them into a paste with a splash of vinegar. Set the paste aside.
  • Once everything has marinaded and soaked, transfer the chicken pieces to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked through. Set them aside.
  • Clean out the pestle and mortar and grind the cashew nuts into a paste. Add a little water if needs be to loosen the mixture. You could do this in a blender instead if preferred, but for a finer texture you might want to finish off in the pestle and mortar.
  • Clean out the pestle and mortar one last time and then toast the cumin, cloves, cardammom and coriander seeds in an unoiled pan on high heat. Just for a minute or two until you can smell the aroma lifting from the pan and until the seeds start to go brittle.
  • Grind those seeds into a fine powder in the pestle and mortar and then combine with the cinnamon and black pepper.
  • Slice two tomatoes into 8 pieces each.

Cook

  • Peel and finely dice an onion, then caramelise the onion in a low-medium pan with a good splash of oil or melted ghee. This should take 10 minutes or so. You’ll want some salt in there as they cook to help draw out the moisture.
  • Add the dry spices and stir them in, cooking for another couple of minutes before adding the garlic and ginger paste.
  • After a further minute or two, add the cashew nuts and the mint paste. Stir everything together and cook through for just a couple of minutes.
  • Add the tomato slices and pour in enough cream to create a thick enough sauce that you can coat all of your chicken pieces when it goes in. Cook through for just a few minutes until the tomatoes are soft and cooked.
  • Finally, add the chicken and cook on a low temperature for just long enough that the chicken comes back up to temperature. this shouldn’t take more than five minutes and if the chicken is still warm from the oven, could take substantially less.
  • Taste test the sauce and add any additional seasonings you might require. You’ll probably want a little more salt as there isn’t a great deal of natural salt making its way into the dish. A teaspoon or two of caster sugar will help to bring out the flavour of the mint and a splash more vinegar will help to balance the sugar. But it’s up to your taste.
Keyword Chicken, chicken curry, Chicken Mint, Chicken Podina, Mint Chicken, Mint Curry, Podina

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