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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Garam Masala Chicken Wings with Cilantro Chutney
Tasty North India garam masala spice mix and ghee sauced wings!
Garam masala is North Indian in origin, although garam masala is used in cooking throughout all of India. Garam masala is considered by many to be a curry spice mix and it is used in many Indian recipes. Garam translates to warm and warm best describes the comfortable feeling one gets from eating garam masala!
Cinnamon, mace and ginger gives garam masala its comfortable warm aroma. Garam masala is made with cumin, cinnamon, mace, ginger, coriander, black pepper, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, nutmeg and bay leaves. Some garam masala spice mixes may sometimes include small amounts of curry leaves, fenugreek or turmeric. It takes experience to know how to properly blend a complex spice mix like garam masala. Great pre mixed garam masala spice mixes can be found at Indian markets.
Cilantro chutney is a very nice condiment! I featured a few recipes with mint chutney last year in this blog. Both mint chutney and cilantro chutney are made with very finely minced mint or cilantro leaves. Pre made cilantro chutney is sold in jars at Indian markets and it is a nice convenience. Although cilantro chutney is not difficult to make, it takes time to finely mince the ingredients, so the cilantro chutney becomes a fine texture.
Ghee is used in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Egyptian and Indian cooking. Ghee is clarified fresh butter. Fresh butter has no water or salt added. European plugra butter also has no water added. Regular unsalted butter does contain a small percentage of water. That small amount of water with the milk fats can scorch a butter at high temperatures.
Clarified Butter (Ghee) and Drawn Butter Recipes:
Making ghee or clarified butter is easy. When I am working in a busy saute station at a restaurant, I usually clarify a large amount of butter, so that I do not have to worry about butter scorching. For single portions entrees and most blog recipes, I usually do not clarify butter, because I have time to cook the moisture out of the butter to order, without scorching the milk fats.
To clarify butter, simply place a large amount of unsalted butter in a sauce pot over medium low/low heat. When the butter comes to a gentle simmer, allow the moisture and milk fat liquids to evaporate. The milk solids will stick to the bottom of the pan, after the liquid has evaporated. It is important not to over cook the butter at this point, or the butter will become a beurre noisette with a hazelnut aroma. By cooking till the liquids evaporate, the clarified butter will have much more flavor than drawn butter.
After the liquid has evaporated in the clarified butter, skim any foam off of the top of the clarified butter. Carefully pour the clarified butter into a container and leave the milk fats stuck to the bottom of the pot. The clarified butter (ghee) can be refrigerated and portions scooped when needed.
Drawn butter is melted butter cooked at a low temperature and that is drawn off of the top of the liquid water and milk fats, without gaining the flavor of the milk fats by cooking till the liquids have evaporated. Simply use a ladle to remove the surface foam and then use the ladle to draw the butter off of the top of the liquids in the bottom of the pot. Discard the remaining milk fat liquids or use the milk fats to flavor vegetables. Drawn butter is usually used for broiling seafood or as a dipping butter condiment for steamed seafood.
Drawn butter does not have as much flavor as clarified butter. I kind of laugh to myself when I see a culinary arts instructor demonstrate how to make clarified butter and what they really make is drawn butter. I laugh because most culinary arts instructors stress the importance of flavor. Drawn butter has very little flavor, unless salt is added. Good properly clarified butter tastes rich and it is a clear golden yellow color!
Over cooking clarified butter is no problem either. The result of over cooking clarified butter is beurre noisette. Beurre noisette is required in many recipes. If you really overcook the clarified butter, till it is dark brown or black in color, then you will have a beurre noir. Beurre noir can be used in fewer recipes and it is usually poured smoking hot over poached fish or poached skate.
To avoid confusion, the order of prepared butters from lightest to darkest is melted butter (pale whitish yellow), drawn butter (pale yellow), clarified butter or ghee (golden yellow), beurre noisette (golden yellow brown), beurre meuniere (brown butter) and beurre noir (black butter).
The reason that I posted this butter episode in this blog recipe is because ghee is used in many northern India recipes. Garam masala and ghee are combined to make many sauces. I just happened to get a big container of garam masala spice mix at the Indian market at a very low price, so there will be more upcoming North India recipes and ghee will be needed!
Garam Masala Chicken Wings with Cilantro Chutney Recipe:
The sauce should be started before the wings are fried. It takes a few reductions to cook the masala base of minced onion and garlic, till it becomes soft.
Boil 2 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
Add 6 finely minced garlic cloves.
Add 1 small handful of finely minced onion.
Reduce till the water is nearly evaporated.
Add 1/2 of a seeded minced green jalapeno pepper.
Add 2 teaspoons of minced ginger.
Add 1 cup of water.
Reduce till the water is nearly evaporated and till the onions and garlic become soft and mushy.
Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Add 3 ounces of ghee. (clarified butter)
Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of garam masala.
Add 1 tablespoon of Korean red serrano pepper chile sauce.
Add sea salt.
Stir the ingredients together.
Gently saute the spice mixture with the onion garlic base, till the spice aroma can be noticed. (About 30 seconds)
The mixture will look paste like at this point.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Add just enough water, while stirring, to turn the ingredients into a medium thin sauce consistency.
Simmer for 2 minutes over low heat.
Place the garam masala chicken wing sauce into a mixing bowl and keep it warm on a stove top.
Heat 4" to 5" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360 degrees.
Cut the wing tips off of 6 chicken wings and save them for making chicken stock for another recipe.
Cut the wings apart at the wing and drumette joint.
Place a few of the the chicken wings in the hot oil at a time, so the danger of hot oil foaming is reduced, till all the wings are in the hot oil.
Fry the wings till they become golden brown, slightly crisp and fully cooked.
Use a fryer net to remove the wings from the hot oil.
Place the fried wings in the mixing bowl of warm garam masala sauce.
Toss the wings and sauce together.
Place a bed of Italian parsley sprigs on a serving platter.
Place a ramekin of cilantro chutney on the center of the platter. (Cilantro chutney can be purchased pre made in jars at an Indian market.)
Place the garam masala sauced chicken wings around the ramekin on the platter.
Spoon some of the remaining garam masala wing sauce over the chicken wings.
Indian cuisine requires Indian cooking techniques. This garam masala sauce recipe may seem backwards, when compared to French techniques, but only one pan was used instead of a separate pan for the onion and garlic masala base. Indian cooking techniques have been in use for thousands of years. The complex flavors of this chicken wing platter are exceptionally good! This garam masala sauce is mildly spicy and full of warm feeling comfortable spices. Yum! ... Shawna