1 cinnamon stick, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 whole cloves
1 T coriander seeds
1 T fennel seeds
1/2 tsp whole allspice
2 small green chiles, chopped, seeded and membranes removed.
2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 piece (4 ounces) fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 T sunflower or other neutral-tasting oil
1 T cumin seeds
1 T black or brown mustard seeds2 T tomato paste
1 quart chicken stock
1 tsp turmeric
6 fresh curry leaves (You can find them at an Indian Grocery Store)
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried red chiles, finely ground
1-2 tsp Coarse salt
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1-2 T ghee or butter
Make garam masala: Gently toast the spices in a dry saute pan over medium heat until they are fragrant. Let cool slightly, then grind spice to a fine powder in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. You should have about 1/4 cup.
Prepare onion mixture: Chop the onions and garlic, and grate the ginger. Set a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add the oil and green chile peppers. Saute until the peppers begin to soften. Add cumin and mustard seeds and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture is fragrant and starts to turn golden brown, and mustard seeds begin to pop, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in the onions, garlic, ginger and garam masala and cook until the onions have softened and are translucent. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking and stirring for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken has browned. Pour in the stock and deglaze pot, stirring vigorously to incorporate the onion mixture. Add turmeric, curry leaves, bay leaves, and ground chiles and season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the stock has reduced slightly (and the flavors have melded), about 45 minutes. Add the vegetables, submerging them in the liquid as much as possible. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes and cauliflower are tender. This will take about 30 minutes more. Stir in ghee. Garnish stew with cilantro sprigs, and serve with rice, yogurt, and lime wedges as desired. Serves 6.