The people of ancient India turned to physicians to make their bodies, minds, and spirits happy. Healing with food, herbs, and spices was nature’s gift to people. Food had three classifications: nourishment to prolong life, taste (rasa) or flavor as judged by the palate, and aesthetic pleasure and enjoyment to the mind. Food was analyzed on the basis of taste, digestion, and “gastric fire” (agni) or ability to digest and assimilate food.
We are what we eat. My cookbooks (see http://www.feastofindia.net) are masterfully adapted for use in any kitchen and includes a dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, and easy-to-prepare healthy recipes of diverse flavors from India’s ancient and distinguished culinary heritage.
You and your family will love this delicious chicken kebab, spiced with cumin and flavored with cardamom from my second book India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016).
Mughal-Style Chicken Kebab (Mughalai Kastoori Murgh Tikka)
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
½ teaspoon ground white peppercorns
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons corn oil
½ cup chickpea flour
¼ cup bread crumbs
3⁄4-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine
2 egg yolks
3⁄4 teaspoon black cumin seeds
½ teaspoon saffron threads
¼ cup melted butter for basting
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Remove the skin and fat from the chicken. Cut the chicken breasts into two pieces; wash, drain, and transfer to a pan.
In a small bowl, mix the ginger and garlic pastes, lemon juice, pepper, and salt.
Combine the lemon mixture with the chicken; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chickpea flour and stir for 1–2 minutes until golden brown. Reserve 4 teaspoons of this mixture, and set aside in a small bowl for later use.
Add the bread crumbs, chopped ginger, and cilantro leaves, and stir for 1–2 minutes.
Add the marinated chicken and mix for 4–5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350ºF or prepare the barbecue grill.
In a food processor, puree the egg yolks, black cumin seeds, saffron, and 4 teaspoons chickpea flour.
Oil a deep baking pan. Skewer 6 chicken pieces together on 9–10- inch steel skewers at least 1 inch apart. Coat the skewers with egg batter and place two inches apart on the baking pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 8–10 minutes. Remove the foil and baste with melted butter. Turn the skewers over and bake for 8–10 minutes until evenly brown and tender. Baste with melted butter and skewer on toothpicks. Sprinkle with ground cardamom. Serve hot with naan and cilantro chutney.