Moreish Jalfrezi

Jalfrezi
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

With this tasty curry, tender, juicy pieces of chicken are simmered in an aromatic tomato sauce that is flecked with chopped peppers and onions. Using a combination of Chinese and Indian methods, the stir-fry is ready in less than 30 minutes, making it an ideal evening supper. Stir-frying delicate, juicy chicken with jalapenos and shallots results in a light and flavorful meal that’s both easy to prepare and delectable. Although it’s a common starter in the United Kingdom and India, it’s rare to see it on American menus. In India, Chicken Jalfrezi is a relatively new dish.

 By employing the cooking method brought by Chinese settlers in the British Raj, the dish was created as a means to utilize up food that would otherwise be wasted. In contrast to other curries, which need hours of simmering, the chicken and jalapenos in Jalfrezi are rapidly stir-fried. Not only is this a feasible evening supper, but the peppers and onions are preserved in both taste and texture.

It’s hardly a surprise that some Chinese immigrants ended up in India, which is only a few miles away. Orange Chicken and Chop Suey, two American-Chinese hybrids, originated in the United States, whereas Chicken Jalfrezi , an Indian-Chinese hybrid, originated in India.

What Exactly Goes into Making an Authentic Jalfrezi Recipe?

Every Indian chef has their own method for cooking Chicken Jalfrezi, as is true of other Indian cuisines. Most variants feature a protein, jalapenos, shallots, and tomatoes that are stir-fried with aromatics and spices including cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, and cloves.

To make it stand out from other Indian curries, I prefer to include two more spices in my version. The star anise is the first flavor to be introduced to you. Originally from China, the aromatic spice gives a hint to its more famous Indian counterparts without overpowering them.

Nigella seeds are the second ingredient. A popular Indian spice, referred to in Hindi as Kalonji, is often misidentified as black caraway, black cumin, or black onion seed. Caraway, cumin, or onion isn’t connected to the anise-like taste or aroma of Nigella Sativa. Nigella seeds, which might be difficult to come by, give this dish a delightful fresh herbal taste that elevates it to an entirely different level. 

Chicken Jalfrezi is a quick-cooking stir-fry, so you’ll need to complete all of your prep work ahead of time. To begin,  sear the chicken on both sides to render fat and form a brown crust on the meat. To avoid overcooking, I then remove the chicken.

Before the garlic and ginger are cooked until they begin to caramelize, the spices are sauteed in the oil to bring out their flavor. After that, the majority of the vegetables are added and stir-fried just long enough to bring out their brilliant colors but not so long as to lose their texture. Once the flavors have melded, the chicken is reintroduced to the pot with a little tomato puree.

Garam masala and salt are used to season the combination, and I like to add a touch of sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for some zing.

Recipe Card

Ingredients

  • 330 grams of de-boned chicken, preferably thighs
  •      1/4 tsp of salt
  •      1/4 tsp of pepper
  •     1 tbsp cooking oil
  •     Star anise, preferably a pod
  •      1 tsp of cumin seeds
  •      1 tsp of nigella seeds
  •       5 cloves
  •      fresh ginger, about 15 grams
  •      15 grams of garlic, fresh or in paste form
  •       ½ onion
  •       1 jalapeno
  •       1 medium-sized red pepper
  •       1 tomato
  •        A 400 gram can of pureed tomatoes
  •        1 tbsp of garam masala
  •       1 tsp of powdered sugar
  •        1/2 tsp of salt to taste
  •        Cayenne pepper
  •        Some cilantro for decoration

Method Used to Make Indian Jalfrezi

  • Add salt and pepper to taste to the chicken before cooking.
  • Chicken should be placed skin-side down in a pan that has been heated to medium-high heat. Before turning and frying the other side, allow the chicken to brown on one side.
  •  Transfer the browned chicken to a dish and keep aside.
  • Fry the nigella seeds, cumin seeds, star anise, and cloves until they begin to splutter. Spices should not be burned.
  • Stir-fry the garlic and ginger until fragrant and starting to caramelize, working quickly.
  • Stir-fry the tomatoes, peppers, and onions until the moisture from your tomatoes has mostly evaporated.
  • Add your salt, sugar, Garam masala, and cayenne pepper to the tomato puree.
  • Put the chicken back in the pan and heat until it is done and the sauce has thickened.
  • Present this to your guests with naan and rice, and garnish with cilantro.

FAQs

Is jalfrezi curry healthy?

Absolutely! It’s rich in vegetables, which are nutrient dense and packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Can we make jalfrezi with chicken?

Yes, you may certainly do so, as chicken is the one of the most popular meat used in this dish.