On one of my last nights in Australia, Alex and I decided to cook dinner for his parents. We decided to do Indian food because a) who doesn’t love a good curry and b) its one of the few, few things I can properly cook. So we gathered all of the ingredients to make chicken makhani and aloo gobi (cauliflower and potatoes) and headed into the kitchen. Unluckily for me, that particular night happened to be the Australia vs. NZ rugby game, so I was promptly abandoned and left to fend for myself in the kitchen. I started off making a paste that would be the marinade for the chicken, as well as the base for both dishes. It consisted of mustard seeds, garlic, turmeric, ginger, cumin, fresh lime juice and plenty of paprika.
While the chicken marinated I diced the potatoes, and enlisted the help of Alex’s mom to chop up the cauliflower (its such a daunting vegetable!). I began with toasting some mustard seeds and cumin, letting their flavours infuse the oil before draining them out. Next I sauteed onions and garlic, before adding the potatoes, spicing the mixture with the paste from earlier. Leaving that to sit awhile, I focused my attention on the chicken- cooking it most of the way through on high heat before adding tomato paste, as well as some fresh tomatoes. While the chicken curry simmered, I added cauliflower and plenty of diced tomatoes to the aloo gobi.
Alex swooped in here and added a splash of chicken stock to the makhani, which rounded the curry out and gave it an unusual amount of depth- it was an unexpected but great addition to the meal. We also added fennel to the curry for a bit more crunch and texture. More of the initial paste was added to both dishes- Alex had to stop me from adding more paprika (I was trying to cover up the flavours with spice, just in case the dishes hadn’t turned out as planned!). Towards the end, we added a generous amount of cream to the curry, in order to give it that proper ‘makhani’ taste. It ended up having a wonderful, velvety texture that can only be attained with absurd amounts of cream. We had a variety of naans and parathas with the meal, and garnished both dishes with fresh coriander. They both went over well, and I’m hoping I won a few extra points with the parents in the process!