1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
1.5 kg/3 lb chicken pieces or roasting chicken
3 tablespoons ghee
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
3 fresh red chillies, seeded and sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
11/2 teaspoons salt
Toast saffron strands in a dry pan over low heat for 1 minute without scorching them. Turn onto a saucer to become cool and crisp, then crush with the back of a spoon. Dissolve in a tablespoon of very hot water.
If using a whole roasting chicken cut into small serving pieces, dividing breast into quarters, separating thigh from drumstick and jointing wings. Heat ghee in a heavy saucepan and gently fry onion, garlic, ginger and chillies until onion is soft and starts to turn golden. Stir frequently. Add dissolved saffron to pan with cardamom and stir well, then add chicken. Increase heat and turn chicken pieces in the mixture until each piece of chicken is golden. Add salt, cover and cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes or until chicken is tender. Uncover pan and continue cooking, turning pieces of chicken often, until almost all the liquid evaporates. Serve with parathas or pilau.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)