Friday, May 28, 2010

Chicken Curry

I cannot count the number of failed attempts I have had with chicken curry. Finally here is a version which works for me without fail.

2 tablespoons yogurt
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
5 chicken thighs, deskinned and chopped into bite size pieces

In a medium glass bowl, mix together yogurt with spices and salt. Grate the garlic and ginger (or, put in blender with a little water to make a paste), it should come to about 2 tablespoons combined. Add to yogurt mixture. Add the chicken pieces and coat well with the yogurt mixture. Marinate for 3o minutes to 2 hours.

1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 whole cloves
3 whole cardamom pods
4 pieces cinnamon stick
2 cloves garlic, 1/2 inch ginger grated or blended together
1 1/2 onions (medium), sliced
5 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds, dry roasted in a saute pan then ground (or you can keep them whole if you prefer)

Heat oil in a saute pan. When hot add mustard and cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick. When mustard seeds "pop" (30-45 seconds), add ginger-garlic and saute for 30 seconds then add sliced onion and saute until onion is browned (be patient, this takes some time). When onion is cooked add chopped tomato. Continue cooking until tomato is soft and pulpy. Add salt and ground fennel and poppy seeds. Add marinated chicken (along with marinade) and stirfry for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water (or, per your taste), bring to boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken cooked all the way through. (If you want the liquid to reduce, simmer uncovered.) Garnish with cilantro leaves.



A lentil stew, of sorts, usually eaten over rice with a side of chicken, or served alongside dosa, a South Indian rice-dal crepe. From my cooking lessons with my sister-in-law!

 Sambhar, idli and coconut chutney

Servings: 2-3 days worth for us. :-) I strongly recommend halving the recipe for those are not sambhar lovers like my husband.

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
10-15 curry leaves
3 dry red chilis
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
3 or 4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup vegetables -- (i.e. one of, or combination of the following: cubed eggplant, vegetable drumstick, thinly sliced carrots, green beans)
4 cups water
1 scant cup toor dal (split yellow peas)
2 cups water
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 inch piece of tamarind pulp, soaked in warm water
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sambar powder (Dahlia's recipe is perfect!)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Heat oil in a pot. When hot, add all mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, red chilis. When mustard seeds begin to "pop" add the chopped onion and saute until onion is translucent. Add tomato and saute until softened.  Add vegetables, saute for a minute then add 4 cups of water.  Gently boil the vegetables for 15-20 minutes, or until softened.

Meanwhile, in a pressure cooker combine toor dal, water, turmeric and garlic. Cook for 3 whistles, turn off heat and wait for the pressure to naturally release. Set aside

Mash the softened tamarind pulp in the soaking water.  Pour through a filter and into the pot of vegetables.  Stir in chili powder, sambar powder, and salt.  Simmer for a few minutes.

By now the pressure will have released from the toor dal.  Open the cooker, pour the contents into the vegetable mixture.  Simmer, adding water and salt as necessary.  Stir in cilantro leaves.

Serve with idli, dosa, white rice.