Murghi Elaichi (Cardamom Scented Chicken With Ginger and Garlic) and Spinach

Recipe courtesy of Nancy Josland Dalsin

2 tablespoons Ginger Paste
1 tablespoon Garlic Paste
2 teaspoons cardamom seeds from green or white pods, ground
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium size red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches long)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

1. Combine the Ginger Paste, Garlic Paste, cardamom, cayenne, salt and turmeric in a small bowl and mix well to form a wet paste. Smear each drumstick with the paste and refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
(I added all to a zip lock bag, mushed it all together and left it overnight).

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the paste-smeared drumsticks and the onion, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Allow the chicken to sear all over and the onion to soften and brown lightly, stirring occasionally, until the bottom of the pan acquires a thin brown layer of spice and onion and the mixture smells menthol-like, 18 to 20 minutes.

3. Pour 1 cup water into the pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze it, releasing the thin layer of browned spices, chicken and onion. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and braise the chicken, spooning the juicy, saucy onion slices over the drumsticks frequently, until the meat is fall-apart tender, 25-30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter.

4. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the sauce, uncovered stirring occasionally, until it has thickened, about 5 minutes.

5. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the cilantro, spoon the sauce over the drumsticks, and serve.

You can substitute other bone-in chicken pieces. If you wish, stir in 8 ounces well-rinsed fresh baby spinach leaves in Step 4.

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