Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Curry!

     In honor of my friend OK, to whom I promised this and other curry recipes a long time ago, here is my first ever curry posting! I made this chicken curry a week ago actually and froze it. But having eaten it again for dinner a few days ago, I realized it is delicious. The recipe deserves to be posted. Furthermore, it illustrates my firm belief that Indian food is ridiculously easy to make. I mean, I'm not talking about naan or the other fancy foods that restaurant chefs spend hours preparing. I'm talking about the regular old, but still delicious and flavorful, Indian lentils, meat curries, and vegetables that I eat at home almost every day. Once you own some coriander, cumin, and red chili powder, you can really make any curry recipe! Even I don't own the more obscure spices here at school, but my curries are still my best meals. 

     This is one extra satisfying and simple chicken curry. It has a tomato paste base, a few spices, and some chicken breast. I was riffing off the "Chicken Madras" recipe in Mridula Baljekar's "Best-ever Curry Cookbook," since I didn't have my mother on hand to advise me on how much of each spice to add. The recipe called for fenugreek, fresh ginger, garlic, curry leaves and fresh green chillies. I did away with all of them or substituted with powders. Thankfully, it didn't harm the curry an iota (though I suppose it isn't traditional "Chicken Madras" anymore..ah well). Eating this curry with plain yogurt (yes, Indians eat curry with yogurt) and some defrosted mixed veggies (from where? from Trader Joe's!) I realized two things. First, that I hadn't eaten a full meal in days, and second: it tasted like home.

     I am going to do a more in-depth curry posting later, but as I do have a midterm tomorrow, I am going to cut this short. If you have never made curry before, start with this one! Its ridiculously easy, and it tastes delicious. The curry is lovely, tomato-ey, and not too spicy, but very flavorful (of course if you want spice, you can add back those fresh green chilies). And, the chicken prep is what my mom always does, so I do it too. Without further ado, here's the recipe:

Yay for a balanced meal! Also, this plate composing thing is far harder than it seems.

Chicken Madras 
(Loosely Adapted from Mridula Baljekar's Recipe in "Best-Ever Curry Cookbook") 

Serves 4

1 lb Chicken Breasts, Skinned
3 tbsp Tomato Paste 
1/4 tsp Fennel Seeds 
1/4 tsp Ginger Powder (or 1 tsp Fresh Root Ginger, Grated) 
1 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander 
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder (or 1 tsp Crushed Garlic) 
1/4 tsp Chili Powder 
1/4 tsp Turmeric 
2 tbsp Lemon Juice 
1 tsp Salt 
1 1/4 cups Water 
3 tbs Vegetable Oil 
2 Small Onions, Diced 

Prep for Chicken: Fill a large bowl with water. Add a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of salt. Submerge chicken breasts while preparing curry base. 

Curry Base: 

In a medium bowl, mix the tomato paste, fennel seeds, ginger (whether powder or grated), ground coriander, garlic (ditto),  chili powder, turmeric, lemon juice, salt, and water.

Preparing Curry:

First, cut the chicken beasts into small cubes (about 1 inch). Heat the oil in a large pan, and fry the onions until translucent. Then, add the chicken and cook it on both sides to seal. Pour in the curry base and stir to make sure the ingredients are well mixed. Finally, lower the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

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