I had the incredibly good fortune to spend three weeks in India this summer. While there, I relished every culinary experience possible, trying regional cuisines, touring kitchens, taking a cooking class, and discussing food and drink with the locals. Admittedly, I am biased, but Indian flavors are unparalleled in all the world. Rooted in the Indus Valley civilizations, their cuisine is enriched by a dizzying array of spices, and honed by millennia of traditions. No one does it better.
From those experiences I have created a chicken curry recipe based on traditional ingredients and methods, but very accessible to any Western kitchen. The ingredients are readily accessible, but some are unique to Indian cuisine. Most will be found in your kitchen and spice cabinet, but make certain to have (or make your own) garam masala spice blend, plain yoghurt (strained or Greek style if you are in the States), and ground turmeric.
Although this recipe takes some time to prepare, it is well worth the effort. It is every bit as good as the dishes I had throughout India, and it will tantalize your tastebuds long after your bowl is empty.
1 medium onion
3-4 banana peppers or 2 green bell peppers
3 cloves fresh garlic
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed.
1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons Garam Masala Mathur
1 Tablespoon ground tumeric or tumeric-based curry powder
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 C plain yoghurt
1 C milk
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or to suit your heat level
Salt to taste
Paprika, chopped cilantro and diced jalapeño to garnish
Serves: 6 (on a bed of rice)
Prep Time: about 1 1/2 hours, but I am slow at chopping.
1. Sauté sliced onion & sliced peppers until caramelized to golden brown.
2. Add diced garlic, garam masala, turmeric/curry powder, tomato paste, and a little water, then simmer 5 minutes.
3. Add cubed chicken breast, stir and simmer 5-10 minutes until edges start to brown.
4. Add yoghurt, milk, and slowly bring to a boil. Note: if using low-fat milk, do not heat too quickly or it will curdle. You can also add a teaspoon of cornstarch to 2% milk to temper it. Make every effort to avoid curdling since it will fundamentally change the texture and mouth-feel.
5. Reduce heat and simmer 10-20 minutes.
6. Serve with rice; garnish with paprika, chopped cilantro, and diced jalapeño.
My family really enjoys this dish, even those who do not like spicy foods. Enjoy, and let me know if you like it.
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