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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nepalese Chicken Tarkari

This one blew me out of the water. Really really!
I got this one from the Amateur Gourmet who got it from Feeding the Dragon and this authentic untweeked recipe is just what makes it so wonderful. It tasted as if some old village woman in Nepal cooked it for me as I was passing through her village. Luckily I already had everything on hand.
Serves 4


  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (find some! they're good for you!)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 dried red chiles, seeded and minced (I used 1 tbsp red chili paste for lack of red chilies)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • Handful of fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice, for serving


  1. Wearing rubber kitchen gloves so the turmeric doesn’t stain your hands (I did not do this and my hands are fine), rub the turmeric black pepper, and salt all over the chicken and let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, dry-roast the mustard seeds for a few seconds, or until they are fragrant, and then remove from the skillet and repeat with the fenugreek seeds. Be careful not to burn the spices. Combine the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder and grind into a coarse powder.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, ground spice mixture, cumin, chiles, and bay leaves and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add the onion and saute for about 6 minutes, or until slightly translucent. Drop in the marinated chicken and stir-fry for 4 minutes, then add the stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve with the rice.
It has been 1 week since I made this, and the house STILL smells like curry. Not unpleasant, but good to know.
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