Basic Chicken Curry

Monday, August 31, 2015

The funny thing about curry powder, is that I have found it used in a legit Indian recipe literally zero times.  All the spicy flavors come from all sorts of places that are much more familiar.  When you are talking about a dish being a curry, it is meaning a spiced sauce.  (note: there are dry curries as well, but trying to keep this simple)
This basic chicken curry is anything but basic. This dish has just the perfect touch of heat, paired with the fresh bite of cilantro and lime. I like serving this with Perfect Basmati Rice and Naan, and making an Indian style gordita. It is said that there may be over 1000 variations of a chicken curry, but Aarti suggests this one is a great place to get your feet wet in the world of curries.  I am a good 10-15 recipes into this cooking adventure, and this has been my favorite thing I have made thus far.

You will need:
3 TBSP sunflower oil
2 cinnamon sticks
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
 2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 2in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 medium serrano chile, sliced into half moons
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
2 TSP ground coriander
1/2 TSP paprika
1/2 TSP ground turmeric
1 TSP ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 TBSP lime juice (or juice from 1/2 a lime)
1/4 cup minced cilantro

Start with a big skillet (non-stick if you've got it) and heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot and shimmery, add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, bay leaves and cloves.  Let those heat for a few seconds until fragrant, they will add a nice flavor to the oil base.
It is time for the onion.  Add to the pan and then add a pinch of salt.  In 8-10 minutes your onion should be a beautiful golden brown color.  Saute longer if need be to get the onion to be a nice brown color.

Next into the pan goes the serrano, garlic, and ginger.  Stir together and heat for a minute or two before adding the next group of ingredients.
Now we add the tomatoes, coriander, paprika, turmeric, and cumin.  You will allow all these ingredients to simmer together for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens and the tomatoes have lost their structure.

After 10 minutes have passed, remove the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves from the pan.  You are going to carefully transfer the sauce to the blender to puree.  (but keep the bender handy) Again, be careful not to overfill your blender, or the steam will cause the hot liquid to explode out of the top.  No one likes a burned hand!

Take the pureed sauce and pour back into the pan and bring up to a boil.  Add in the chicken pieces and stir to coat.  Cook for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Next add the yogurt in slowly, a few drops at a time so it doesn't curdle.  Put the water into the blender and swirl to get the remnants of the tomato puree and pour into the pot.  Add 1 TSP of kosher salt.  Cover, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.  Remove the lid and simmer 5 more minutes to let the sauce thicken.  Lastly, turn off the heat, squeeze in the lime juice and top with the cilantro.

Now that is one nice looking curry.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I ever realized how much goes into a proper curry. We usually get ready-made stuff at the store, because lazy. Well done!