As I take over from Shireen to write this post for the first time (and may be many more posts in the future if she allows me ;-)) this dish, “Nimbu Chicken” is one of my favorites. My love for this dish began after my first visit to Urban Tadka in Versova, Mumbai a few years ago. The ambience of the restaurant was lovely, complete with a village kind of a setup. The food was served on an unique colored plate, the stirrer for the drinks was made of sugar cane, the dum biriyani was served in earthen pots and finally the 'last order' was announced by beating the dhol (drum). All these things made me feel like visiting this place more often.
Thereafter it became a routine to order our office lunch from this place at least twice a week. On Fridays especially extra portions of the spicy dum biryani and jalebis were ordered to celebrate an early weekend that started almost as soon as the heavy lunch was finished. DS (my biz partner) and I must have eaten this dish (Nimbu Chicken) umpteen number of times. I still remember DS commenting right after the heavy meal "Now go to your office, switch off lights and take a nap" while our office staff smiled mischievously as they had gotten used to my post Urban Tadka meal siestas. Furthermore, I used to order this at home and I never got a no for an answer from Shireen and our little fella Yu as they also started loving it.
Once we moved to Dubai I was determined to try Nimbu chicken as I started missing it so much. Having found no recipes on the internet that came anywhere close to what I had eaten, the experiment began and after a few tries, I think I have almost perfected this. It is the closest in terms of the taste & texture although the original served at the restaurant still remains to be my favourite
Prep time: 15 mins + 2 hours (marinating time) | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves 3
- 750 grams chicken on the bone (preferably, or you may use boneless too)
- Juice of 3 medium size limes (approx 3 tablespoons) (adjust and use as required) * see notes
- 3/4 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 200 grams fresh cream (I used Almarai, you can use Amul fresh cream)
- 6 green chilies de seeded & cut julienne
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 75- 100 grams unsalted butter
- salt to taste
1. Wash and cut the chicken in medium sized pieces. Allow to drain on a colander till the excess water drips away. If need be, wipe with a kitchen tissue. Then transfer into a bowl and marinate it with salt, turmeric and half of the lime juice for about 2 hours.
2. In a heavy based wok/kadhai heat the butter and fry half the green chillies, garlic and ginger for about a minute.
3. Add the marinated chicken and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat a bit and add the powders (turmeric, red chilli, coriander, cumin, garam masala) and mix well till all the chicken pieces are coated well.
5. Add the fresh cream and mix it until well with the chicken. If you need more gravy you can add a little whole milk (full fat)
6. Cook for about 3 minutes on a low heat and then add the remaining lime juice and the reserved green chillies and cook for a further couple of minutes. Do a taste check and adjust the lime as required. The gravy should predominantly taste tangy from the lime.
7. Remove from heat and serve hot with rice, rotis, pulkhas or plain parathas!
1. In Dubai we get limes of various sizes, we used medium sized ones. 1 lime yieleded us approx 1-1/2 tablespoons of juice. For this recipe you need approximately 3-4 tablespoons (in total). However, not everyone prefers a tangy curry, so please add less initially and then add extra juice only if required after tasting.