Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicken Curry

Chicken curry. There are probably as many versions of this dish as there are households in India. This is my humble version, which I find to be yummy and versatile. It can be a comfy dinner to have with your honey on a cold night but can be elegant enough to serve to guests. And it's perfect to multiply for larger groups and make-ahead; just reheat in the oven. And for my veggie lovin' friends out there, I'm sure you could use potatoes and tofu instead of the chicken.

This dish happens to be one of my son's favorites! When he didn't have the teeth (or desire) to chew the bits of chicken, I would blend it up with a little extra water or chicken broth and stir it into his soft cooked rice. Of course I'm careful to remove the whole spices from his bowl and I go a little easy on the red chili powder when he's having the chicken.

1 large Sweet Onion
8 cloves Garlic
1 inch Ginger
1/4 c. Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/2 stick Cinnamon
4 Cloves
1 tsp Peppercorns
2 Cardamom Pods
2 Bay Leaves
2 small Tomatoes (Vine Ripe or Roma)
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder (or Cayenne Pepper)
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 Tb Cumin Powder
1 Tb Madras Curry Powder (or any curry powder of your choice)
5-6 Chicken Legs, skinned (or boneless, skinless, chopped Chicken Thighs)
1 tsp Salt

Blend onion, garlic, and ginger together into a paste, using a little bit of water (no more than 1/4 c.).

Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Add cumin, mustard, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, and bay leaves and toast. Add onion paste and fry until water is evaporated and oil separates.

Meanwhile, blend tomatoes and add to pot once onions are cooked through. Simmer until the liquid is gone. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and curry powder and stir. Stir in chicken and salt.

Add enough water to almost cover the chicken and cover. Let simmer on low until chicken is cooked through and is falling off the bone. Check the water level to keep from scorching and to maintain desired thickness of gravy. It may be necessary to simmer uncovered towards the end if the gravy is too thin.

Serve with basmati rice.

NOTE: For a creamier texture, use a little less water and add 8 oz. Sour Cream just before you cover to simmer. Do not stir in the sour cream, just pour it on top and cover.

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