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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Malabar Chicken Curry

 The thing about cooking Indian is that there are usually several different dishes happening.  I like that, but it can be overwhelming and you have to have a strategy.  Imagine you want to go Indian all week or for several days in a row but you don't want to have to make several dishes a day.  Here's my strategy:
Start the first day with something simple, that you wouldn't mind eating by itself or simply with rice.  Make enough to have leftovers of that dish.
The next day, be a little more elaborate.  Now you have 2 dishes with the leftovers from the previous day.  Do this every day, and eventually you will have a many things to put into your home thali.
Another tip is to put someone in charge of the simple things such as rice or rotis or chopping, so that you can come in and save the day with your madd skillz later on.  Something I learned from watching my host's servants cook is to make things like pastes or curries in bulk and take out when needed, that way you only have to add it and BAM, you have a sauce.  Other cultures do this too, as I've realized through reading my Burma book.
  Since the weather is awful this weekend, I decided to spend some time in the kitchen perfecting my art.  Here's yet another jewel from the lovely ladies at ShowMetheCurry.
Masala paste:
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion, sliced
handful curry leaves
3 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 dried red chilies
6 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp ginger
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup water
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 sliced onion
2 carrots, diced
some chopped green chili (optional)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 lb chicken breast, cubed
1 cup water
1. Make the masala paste.  In a wok or heavy based pan, heat the oil with the onion and curry leaves.  Cook until the onions are translucent and a pleasant aroma wafts through the house and into your nostrils.
2.  Add the coriander seeds and dried chilies.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.
3.  Add the ginger and garlic.  Cook, stirring until the raw smell disappears.
4.  Add the coconut.  Turn off the heat and allow to sit a few minutes.
5.  Grind into a paste, adding water a little at a time.  You may not need that whole cup of water.
6.  Make the curry.  In a wok or heavy based pan, heat the oil with the onion, carrots, and green chilis.  Cook until onion is translucent.  I personally did not use the green chilis because the 2 dried red chilis in the masala paste are strong enough spice wise.  Do what you feel is right for you and your family.
7.  Add the tomatoes and turmeric.  Cook until the tomatoes are unrecognizable.  They will have integrated with the onions.  This is a good thing.
8.  Add the masala paste to the curry on high heat.  Incorporate well.
9.  Add the chicken and enough water for it to look like a curry, not a paste.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until chicken is cooked (minimum 20 minutes).  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

I served this with some Bhindi, basmati rice, and Asparagus Mung.  It was a perfect healthy thali.  I would have made some rotis but I ran out of flour after making PB cookies.
Yea I kept busy today...
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