2.5 lbs chicken thighs, chopped in small pieces
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon pure red chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon oil
4 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 small piece cinnamon stick
1 star anise seed
2 onions, finely chopped
4 roma tomatoes, pureed
2 green chiles, sliced lengthwise
1/2" piece ginger
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup grated coconut
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 tablespoons cashews (raw)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)
Combine: chicken, turmeric, chili, garam masala, black pepper, salt and yogurt in bowl. Set aside to marinate.
Heat oil in a large pot or pressure cooker. Splutter the whole spices (cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise) for about 30 seconds, then add onions and green chiles. Saute until well cooked (golden brown in color). Meanwhile, make a puree of the ginger and garlic, and add to onion mixture and saute for a couple minutes. Add tomato puree and saute until well cooked and liquid evaporates.
Add to this the marinated chicken, cover and simmer until chicken is almost done. (If pressure cooking, 2 to 3 whistles.)
Meanwhile, soak the cashews and poppy seeds in a little water. Then combine with coconut and fennel seeds and puree. When chicken is done, stir this into chicken mixture and cook for another 5 minutes. Last, stir in coconut milk, bring to a boil, switch off heat and stir in cilantro.
Serve with: rice, idli, parotta...