Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chicken Coconut Curry

I love Indian food! My first Indian cookbook, now held together by tape, more tape and string, contains a lovely chicken coconut curry dish that includes almost every spice you can think of. It's the most complex masala in the book. I have made this recipe many times as well as numerous variations on the theme. Usually, I would cut the amount of chicken down to half and add two large cubed potatoes, but this time I had only one single chicken breast to work with. That's 1/2 of 1/2. I added three large carrots to make up the volume and the result was really delicious served over steamed basmati rice. Here's my modified recipe.


1 single chicken breast
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 tsp salt

1 medium onion
1/2 in. piece of ginger
5 cloves of garlic
2 tbsps vegetable oil

1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp aniseeds (or fennel seeds)
1 stick cinnamon
5 cloves
2 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

1 cup coconut milk
1 med. tomato, diced or 2 tbsp tomato paste
1 potato, cut into a fine dice
3 carrots cut into a fine dice
up to 3 cups water

salt to taste

Initial preparations: First, cube the chicken and mix it in a small bowl with the yogurt, turmeric and salt. While that is marinating in the fridge, chop the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor*. Set aside. In a small frying pan roast the spices until they become fragrant and turn ever so minimally darker. I use a cast iron blini pan which looks like the teeniest, tiniest prying pan ever, and it's perfect for roasting spices. Take off heat, pour into a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Music to grind your masala by: A little Bollywood bump and grind.
*If you're interested in the rich flavor of caramelized onions, you should thinly slice the onion and sautee it until it's light brown before adding the ginger and garlic.

Cooking: In a medium pan over moderate heat, pour in the oil. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and sautee until it becomes blonde. Add the spices and mix for a minute. Add in the marinated chicken (without washing off the yogurt mixture)and mix into the pot. Now add the coconut milk, raise heat and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, potato and carrots. Finally add enough water to create the consistency you want. This curry can have the creamy texture of thick coconut milk or of a soup, you decide. Simmer for 20 minutes to let the flavors blend and the vegetables soften. Correct for salt and serve over fresh basmati rice.


Blogger Proud Italian Cook said...

I've never suceeded with curry, you've inspired me to give it another try. Thanks

6:54 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Marie, i hope you do try it. I've thought of what I'll make for your Festa Italiana: escarole and beans. I haven't made that in a long time.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Beenzzz said...

This looks wonderful. I must try this soon and I'll let you know how it goes.

5:53 PM  

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