Amanda Laird: Garam Masala chicken with eggplant and cucumber avocado salsa

By Amanda Laird

Photo / Babiche Martens
Photo / Babiche Martens

Serves 4

GARAM MASALA
makes approximately 1 cup

4 Tbs coriander seeds
2 Tbs cumin seeds
1 Tbs whole black peppercorns
2 Tsp cardamom seeds
4 cinnamon sticks, broken
8 whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg
1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic
Salt
1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 eggplant
Juice of one lime
Fresh coriander
4 chicken thighs
Oil
Fresh mint, chives

SALSA

1 avocado
1 cup cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
1 Tbs lime or lemon juice
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 Tbs mint leaves, finely chopped

1. To make the garam masala; dry roast each spice (except the nutmeg) individually by heating a wok or heavy frypan, adding the spice and stirring until the spice becomes fragrant.

Tip on to a plate to cool, then continue.

2. Put all spices into a mortar and pestle or an spice grinder and grind into powder. Finely grate the nutmeg and add. Store in a glass jar with an airtight lid. Will keep for six months.

3. Roast the eggplant over a flame while turning, until the skin goes black and the eggplant becomes soft. Allow to cool then remove the skin and quickly rinse. Alternatively you can prick the skin all over and roast in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, depending on size.

4. Put oil into a saucepan, add crushed garlic, salt, tomato paste and chopped eggplant. Cook for a few minutes, remove from heat then add lime juice and chopped fresh coriander.

5. To make the salsa; finely dice the avocado and put in a bowl with the cucumber, juice, oil, sugar, salt and mint. Stir to combine, taste for seasoning then refrigerate.

6. Coat each chicken thigh lightly in the garam masala. Heat a heavy frypan. Pour in just enough oil to lightly coat the pan, then when hot, add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes on one side before turning and cooking until done.

7. Serve the chicken on the eggplant with the salsa spooned over. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and chives.

- NZ Herald

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