About five months ago, I watched with passion the TV cooking show called Million Pound Menu on Netflix. It showcasts British amateur chefs who started a small food truck business or the like in whatever small town England, and who are now competing to get the chance of opening a three-day ephemere restaurant in Manchester, UK, for the sole purpose of taking their chances and winning the opportunity to get investors from various horizons to invest in their first ever restaurant-to-be. This is when I watched this show on TV that I found out about Atul Kochhar, a Pakistani-British hot-shot Chef with a palate as delicate as his experience managing restaurants is a reference these days.
Subsequently, it’s been a couple of months that my husband and I have had the new habit of stopping by Shalimar’s, our local Indian restaurant, to have dinner before going back home after work, like once every fortnight. Or Indian we thought it was because this is what is said on their online menu. But by the style of the staffs, and given there is no alcohol nor pork served in this restaurant, we figured out the restaurant actually is held by Pakistani. As small a detail as it is, the fact that these guys are from Pakistan tickled something inside me: memories from my life in China flooded into my heart, as I had a nostalgic thought for Gilani, one of my good Pakistani friends and my neighbour from the last years that I lived in Guangzhou.
But enough with the past. Back onto the menu. Of course, most dishes of this restaurant are Indian or Pakistani alike. But the last time we ate there, our attention was caught by a dish we never tried before, and we thought the option of tasting something new would make our evening a bit more interesting. We had Gosht Lahore, which translates into Lamb from the city of Lahore, Pakistan. The sauce is a variation of the traditional Indian Butter Chicken, except that it has less tomato, a bit nuttier flavor, and the addition of a few raisins (and sometimes tiny pieces of dried apricots too). OMG, it was so good that I couldn’t help but reproduce it at home today. I had no lamb in the fridge so I went for chicken breasts, and it was delicious too. I found the basis of the recipe on a Youtube video made by a very nice Pakistani lady: she only spoke the language of Pakistan, but fortunately for me she sometimes used English for most of ingredient names, however all quantities plus the majority of secondary ingredients were not translated, so I had to guess it all but I think I did well because the taste of my final dish was absolutely amazing. Here is the link to the original video https://youtu.be/eJd9xmyQiU8
Here is the recipe of my revised Chicken Lahore, from Pakistan. It may look a bit mushy but it’s only because I overloaded my bowl with the delicious sauce before taking the picture. Chunks of chicken are generous underneath, and the sauce is thick and rich and so flavorsome!
- 4 Chicken breasts
- 100 gr of butter
- 2 tbsp of canola oil
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 2 inches (5 cm) of ginger, peeled
- 3 garlic cloves or 2 tsp of hot garlic pickle paste
- 2 onions (small to medium size)
- 150 gr of cashew nuts (I replaced by almonds, which was available in my pantry)
- 1/2 small can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 large tbsp of ground coriander
- 3 tbsp of paprika
- 2 tbsp of curcuma
- 3 tbsp of dried raisins
- 10 cl of light cream
- Prepare most ingredients before hitting the gas stove.
- Reduce the onion to a puree in a food processor. Reserve.
- Likewise for the ginger, garlic and cashew nuts (or almonds in my case today). A bit of water may be needed to form a paste.
- Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. In a salad bowl, combine with softened butter, lemon juice, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of paprika.
- Heat a large pan with high edges, and start melting 1 tbsp of butter with 1 tbsp of oil on medium fire to cook the onion puree (I did not use as much fat as in the video and the result was very good). Take care not to brown it.
- Add the ginger and garlic paste to the pan. Combine and soon add the cashew or almond paste.
- Add the diced tomato and a bit of water, then keep stirring to combine.
- Add the dried raisins now, as well as 1 tsp of salt, 2 large tbsp of paprika and 2 large tbsp of curcuma. Let the aroma develop for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken to the pan — make sure that all the butter comes with it.
- Add a bit of water, thoroughly combine and cover with a lid. Cook the chicken for a solid ten minutes on low to medium heat.
- After ten minutes, uncover the pan, add a large tbsp of ground coriander, stir again, and adjust salt if needed.
- Reduce the heat to low, and add light cream to finish it off.
- Immediately serve with white rice.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2019 All Rights Reserved.