As many of you will know, there are many different types of curries. Bhuna has very little gravy, rus misah (Punjabi) has a medium amount of gravy and then there is the thin shora (Punjabi), shorba (Urdu), not to be confused with shurba, an arabic stew made with meat and oats.
Shorba is popular with many as its stocky and full of flavour and feeds a family of five without straining the budget! This can be paired with meat or vegetable pilaos, but is equally delicious with bread and chapattis (roti).
I remember my maternal grandpa (nana) would break pieces of roti into a deep bowl. My grandma (nanee) would ladle over a generous amount of the shorba mix, to be soaked up by the chapattis making them soft, pliable and very enjoyable. My family still mimics this style when they eat rotis and shorba.
The recipe has been passed down through generations and this one is 90% my cousin’s version. I will attempt to write it out in easy steps, but as with all good things, practice will make perfect!
- 2lb (1Kg) chicken with bones cut into pieces
- 3ozs (85g) grated or v finely chopped onion
- 8 tbs cooking oil
- 2 tsp crushed ginger
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 7oz (200g) crushed fresh or tinned tomatoes
- 2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
- 1.5 tsp red chillie powder (adjust to taste)
- half tsp turmeric
- 4 tbs freshly chopped green coriander
- 3 tsp whole roasted cumin
- 2 fresh green chillies
- 1 tsp garam masala
Boil some water and keep aside.
Wash the chicken pieces in cold water and keep in a colander to drain well.
Put the oil in a wide pan, add the onions and cook on medium heat until they turn golden brown, add the ginger and garlic, and cook together for 2-3 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, red chillies and turmeric, stir well and bhun until all liquids dry up and oil separates.
Add chicken pieces, stir well with a wooden or plastic spoon, and add half a cup of water.
Cook covered on a medium/high heat until chicken is ALMOST done. Stir from time to time and add 2 tbs of water if mixture begins to stick to the bottom. In the UK this should take 12-15 minutes.
Turn heat to high and bhun the chicken until any remaining liquid dries up and masala begins to stick to the chicken pieces, should take approx 7-8 mins (will depend on the amount of liquid remaining).
This stage will determine the colour of your shorba, so bhun long enough to ensure the chicken pieces begin to turn reddish brown.
Add 3 - 4 cups of boiling water, wait for the mixture to boil then add half the coriander, the cumin (rub between palms to release flavour) and green chillies. Keep on a low rolling boil for 5-7 minutes.
Switch off and leave covered for 5 minutes, the oil should rise to the top. (you can take some oil off at this stage and discard if you choose to).
Using a ladle, remove the chicken shorba into a deep serving bowl, sprinkle the garam masala and the remaining fresh coriander and it's ready to be taken to the table!
Potatoes can be added to the chicken shorba (see picture). In the UK it is best to use new potatoes boiled separately for 8 mins, if using large potatoes cut into smaller pieces and boil them separately for 5 mins. Add the potatoes with the green chillies at number 9. You can also add 2 cups of frozen peas at number 9.