Legend has it that it was Akbar who brought the Persian recipe of cooking meat in fragrant yogurt based gravy which has now become the signature Yakhni recipe. There are many variants of this recipe. Some variations use saffron. Traditionally, the non - vegetarian version of Yakhni is made with mutton. .To keep it light I have made it with chicken. (I make a vegetarian version too with bottle gourd). Typically, first the meat should prepped (the flesh is separated from the bones) , then the 'Spice Potli' has to be made, then the 'Shorba' is made using the chicken bones and 'spice potli' and lastly the 'Yakhni' or the broth is made.
Yakhni is essentially a part of Kashmiri Pandit cuisine which avoids the use of onions, garlic and tomatoes. And any recipe which does not need onions makes me one happy girl! In the kitchen, I love coming up with 'mimic' recipes which will have most of the goodness of the original recipe, while not having to follow all the steps rigorously.In my version, I added most of the spices of the ' Spice Potli' directly to the ghee. If you are not a ghee person, use oil. For this preparation I used just the breast pieces and the whole legs of a chicken. I could not find fennel powder in the market, so I dry roasted the fennel seeds and using a mortar and pestle pounded it into a fine powder.
What I needed:
- Chicken - 500 - 600gms
- Oil - 2 tbs for browning the chicken
- Ghee - 1 tbsp
- Dry Ginger Powder/Sonth - 1 tsp
- Fennel Powder - 2 tsp
- Kashmiri Mirch Powder - 1/2 tsp
- Asafoetida/hing Powder - 1 pinch
- Black Peppercorns - 15 - 20
- Ginger paste - 2 tsp
- Black Cardamom - 2
- Green Cardamom - 2
- Cloves - 4
- Cinnamon Sticks - 2
- Yogurt - 2 tbsp
- Cream - 1tbs
- Flour - 1/2 tsp
- Salt to Taste
How it was done:
Heat oil in a pan, brown the chicken pieces and keep aside. Make sure to pat dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel after washing them. It should not take more than 2-3 minutes on each side. In a separate pan, add the ghee and temper it with the cardamoms - both green and black, cinnamon sticks, cloves, black peppercorns and the grated ginger. Fry till fragrant. Add enough water to just cover the chicken. Add the dried ginger powder, fennel powder, asafoetida, Kashmiri Mirch powder and salt to it. Once it starts simmering add the chicken pieces and cook on low flame for about 10 mins. In a bowl, add the yogurt, cream and the flour and whisk very well till smooth. I add the flour to prevent the yogurt from curdling. Now add the yogurt mixture little by little to the pan while stirring continuously. Serve this aromatic chicken dish with rice or pulao.
Note: The mint leaves have been used for garnishing purpose only.
This recipe will be a part of Kashmir Special on Radio One's (94.3 FM) Afternoon Show with RJ Arvind, who has very graciously asked a group of Food Bloggers from Kolkata to talk about our food experiences & recipes with him. You can hear me between 3-4pm today, 24th July '13 & Friday, 26th July '13. Do tune in!