Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mom's Quick and Easy Chicken Curry

From my farmer's market adventure, I had quite a bit of cilantro left.  Also, since I had gone on a falafel binge, I hadn't eaten meat in a while.  And, since I was craving some Indian food, I decided to make some chicken curry instead of order from Bricklane.
This recipe is really quick.  I was surprised at how fast I was able to chop everything up and get ready to eat in no time flat!

Usually cilantro is saved as a garnish, but I threw some stems in here to make it more fragrant.

Tomatoes, turmeric, garam masala and chicken all simmering away and making my kitchen smell like heaven!

I've actually never made my own garam masala.  I just use what my mom sends home with me from time to time.  Garam masala is basically a blend of all different spices - and it depends on the region.  The kind my mom has from Bangalore is different from the kind my dad's mom uses in Mumbai.  Regardless, garam masala typically includes cloves, cumin, cardamom, mustard seeds, and an array of other spices, again depending on region/etc.  I learned about black cardamom - which apparently is used in garam masala in Punjab.  I've only used green cardamom, and generally in desserts.

Oh.Emmm.Geee...the cilantro and spices make this smell SO delicious!  My mouth is watering just staring at the photos!

Chicken Curry (approximately 4 servings)

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • A sliver of ginger, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Chicken pieces (about a pound or less for 4 servings.  2 thighs and a few random pieces is what I have here)
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped, with stems reserved from the leaves
  • As for the spice mixture, I can't give you exact measurements.  I throw things in and see how they taste.  But approximately: 
    • 1 tsp. turmeric
    • 2 tsp. garam masala* (again, per your preference)
  • A pinch of salt
  • Oil (I use olive, I'm sure canola is fine) to coat the pan
  • 1/2 cup or so of water
In a pan, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Once it is ready, add the onions, garlic, and ginger and brown (usually 5-ish minutes or so).  Once they are browned, add the cilantro stems, tomatoes and chicken.  The chicken will release some moisture, so at this step, slowly include some water, in small increments, as the chicken cooks.  If you put in too much water, it will be more of a liquidy soup than a curry (Trust me I've done this before.  Ask my sister).  Also spoon in the turmeric, garam masala and salt, and stir everything together (I use a wooden spoon).  

Let the chicken continue to cook and see where the water is at - really you need to eye ball this.  If you think you need more water, add it in a little at a time - maybe a few tablespoons as needed.  

Let the dish cook for about 10 minutes or so - that should be enough time for all the meat to cook through.  You can eat this with some yummy rice, naan, or, as I did, with faux chapatis (aka pita bread).

I think from chopping to plate it took me 30 minutes or less!  Almost the same time it takes seamless to arrive at my apartment with my delivery!!   

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