Yogurt combines with cashew cream to replace heavy cream in this fragrant and traditional Pakistani main dish recipe. The spicy chicken is accompanied by refreshing fresh pineapple and the mellow cashew-yogurt sauce. Use the pita wedges to scoop up the remaining sauce.
1/2 cup roasted cashews
2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded
2 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt, divided
6 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thirds
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped cashews, roasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 (6-inch) pitas, each cut into 6 wedges
How to Make It
Place 1/2 cup cashews in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once. Add yogurt; process until well blended. Remove from processor; set aside.
Combine onion, juice, ginger, and jalapeño in a blender or food processor; process until finely chopped.
Combine coriander and next 4 ingredients (coriander through cloves) in a large zip-top plastic bag; add 1/2 teaspoon salt and chicken. Seal bag and shake to coat.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken pieces. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
Add onion mixture to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and yogurt mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes or until heated, stirring frequently.
Spoon 1/2 cup yogurt mixture onto each of 6 plates. Top each serving with 3 chicken pieces. Sprinkle each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons pineapple, 1 teaspoon chopped cashews, and 1 teaspoon cilantro. Arrange 4 pita wedges on each plate.
This dish was quite unusual, but I liked it a lot. Unfortunately I had to leave out the jalapeno, as kids were eating from it, too. I cut the chicken into cubes in order to speed up the cooking time. Using fresh pineapple is a must!
Next time I will flatten the chicken pieces and add more salt to the chicken. Didn't use cardamom because it is super expensive where I live. Only had whole cloves so sprinkled chicken with season mix 3 hours prior and threw a few cloves in, just pulled them out before cooking. This would also work well as a pita sandwich, making kebobs of the chicken and grilling then putting sauce over top.
This is one of the most visually beautiful dishes you'll ever make! And the taste definitely did not disappoint. Loved the spice rub on the chicken, the fresh sweet taste of pineapple in contrast to the spices and jalapeno/ginger mix, and the creaminess of the yogurt sauce. I do wish that there was less onion/jalapeno taste to the yogurt, and more cashews, so I would adjust the ratio slightly next time.
Wow! I made this with the ingredients I had on hand, so I admit I did not follow the recipe exactly, but the sauce is a keeper, it is SO good. I admit I did use full-fat yoghurt (Mountain High brand), but I think it would have been just as good with the low-fat yogurt the recipe calls for.
I used bottled lemon juice, didn't have any jalepeno, used Penzey's Bali Spice Blend instead of the dry rub, didn't have any cilantro (though I imagine it would be awesome and I will use next time), used canned pineapple, and used garlic naan instead of pita bread.
I suggest cutting the meat into smaller pieces before pan frying. It was really hard to get the pieces fully cooked. I think it would be good with tofu, so I will try that next time.
Don't let the long list of ingredients keep you from making this! It really is pretty quick and easy to make. The taste was very complex with the spices coating the chicken, the onion/ginger/jalapeno mix, and the cashew yogurt. Like jerk chicken meets tandoori. The pineapple also added a nice sweet flavor (though I used canned not fresh). I did not seed the jalapenos and still thought it could've been hotter. Next time I might substitute habanero peppers.
It makes me sad that there aren't more reviews, because that probably means not a lot of people have tried this recipe. It's DELICIOUS, one of my favorite things I've made! I halved the recipe to serve three instead of six, and it worked out fine (although I used an entire tablespoon of oil to cook the chicken in because I think it would've gotten quite dry without it). I used low-fat plain greek yogurt rather than regular yogurt because it's what I had on hand. I also tossed the bag of chicken with the spices in the fridge for about four hours before cooking it. I had to leave out the cardamom because I didn't have any and the store I was at didn't carry it either but it was still delicious. Rather than large pitas, I used the whole wheat mini pita pockets from Trader Joe's. I think the pitas definitely have to be at least heated up rather than served plain - after I cooked the chicken in the pan and before I put in the onion/jalepeno mix, I added in the pitas and just let them cook a bit on each side until toasty. They were fantastic!
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