Safed Maans (Rajasthani White Chicken Curry)

Rajasthani White Chicken Curry (Safed Maans)
Rajasthani White Chicken Curry (Safed Maans)
A seasoned coconut chicken curry is tempered with yogurt.James Roper

Yogurt tempers the heat of this coconut chicken curry, a variation on a classic lamb dish from the state of Rajasthan in western India. Though the recipe is mild, the flavors are complex: the dish is seasoned with a cornucopia of toasted and raw seeds and spices, including black cumin, green and black cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, white peppercorns, white poppy seeds, and more, all lavished in a dairy-rich sauce. This recipe first appeared in the tablet edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.

Safed Maans (Rajasthani White Chicken Curry)
Yogurt tempers the heat of this coconut chicken curry, a variation on a classic lamb dish from the western Indian state of Rajasthan.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 14 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp. white poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 25 whole white peppercorns
  • 20 cashews
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • 12 cup ghee
  • 1 tsp. kala jeera (black cumin)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 black cardamom pods, cracked
  • 2 Indian or regular bay leaves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 small green Thai chiles or 2 serranos, halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 (2 1/2–3-lb.) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
  • 34 cup plain, full-fat yogurt
  • 34 whole milk
  • 12 tsp. ground mace
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Grind coconut, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, 15 white peppercorns, 10 cashews, and the green cardamom in a spice grinder into a powder; set aside.
  2. Melt ghee in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook remaining peppercorns, the kala jeera, cloves, black cardamom, bay leaves, and cinnamon until fragrant and seeds begin to pop, 1–2 minutes. Add chiles, garlic, onion, and ginger; cook until golden, 8–10 minutes. Add chicken, yogurt, milk, mace, and salt; boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir in reserved spice powder; cook, covered slightly, and stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 20–22 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a serving platter. Stir remaining cashews into sauce; simmer until slightly thickened, 4–6 minutes; spoon over chicken and garnish with cilantro.