Virender Batra has been cooking for over 40 years, and has chef qualifications in Indian and continental cooking.
Virender came to Australia 30 years ago, and after working in various restaurants as a head chef, he decided to open his own restaurants with his brother.
“I love to help people,” Virender said. “My whole family does. So I use my skills in cooking to provide for my community.”
Virender cooked two delicious curries for the last Community Kitchen of 2015. Try them out for yourself.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
250ml plain, full-fat yoghurt
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tsp saffron threads
50g cashew nuts
60ml vegetable oil/4 tbsp ghee
4 cinnamon sticks
10 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp ginger, finely grated
1/4 tsp freshly coriander
1 tsp fine salt
Seeds of 1 black cardamom pod, crushed
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp spoon red powder chilli
1 cup tomato puree
Cut the chicken into large bite-sized chunks and marinate in half the yoghurt for at least 3 hours at (cool) room temperature, but preferably overnight in the fridge. Take it out ½ hour before you want to cook.
Heat the oil in a wide, heavy-based, pan with a lid over a medium-high heat.
When hot, add the cinnamon and green cardamom pods. Once the cardamom start to pop, add the chicken and brown on all sides, in batches if necessary, then lift out of the pan and set aside.
Add the onion, turn down the heat slightly and fry until soft and browned, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn.
While the onions are cooking, blend the cashews with a little water to a smooth paste.
Stir the garlic, ginger, nutmeg and sultanas into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the cashew paste and stir well.
Add tomato puree and then take off the heat and stir in the remaining yoghurt and the salt.
Add the chicken, along with any juices and yoghurt marinade, and bring back to a simmer.
Cover tightly, turn down the heat as low as possible and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. If you like then add some cream and cook for another five minutes, then stir in the black cardamom.
3/4 cup whole black lentils
2 tbsp kidney beans
salt to taste
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chillies, cut lengthwise
3cm piece cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 cups fresh tomato puree
1/2 cup fresh cream
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp fresh cream for the garnish
Clean, wash and soak the whole black lentils and red kidney beans overnight.
Drain, add 2 cups of water and salt, and pressure cook for 7 whistles or until the lentils are overcooked. If you don’t have pressure cooker, boil the lentils in a saucepan until soft, topping up water as required.
Stir till the dal (cooked lentils) is almost mashed. Keep aside.
Heat the butter in a deep pan and add the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the green chillies, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, and onions and sauté till the onions turn golden brown in colour.
Add the ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder and tomato puree and cook over a medium flame till the mixture leaves oil.
Add the dal, salt and approximately 2 to 3 tbsp water if required and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the cream and mix well. Simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes.
Serve hot, garnished with coriander and fresh cream.