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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chicken Curry

This recipe was based on the Basic Chicken Curry recipe from Neeram Batra's 1000 Indian Recipes. The author noted : "Perfect when served with rice or bread and easy enough to cook every day, this traditional chicken curry is usually the first one taught to all novice Indian cooks. Once you understand the basic procedure, you can vary it as you like".

The following is hence a variation, with the addition of potatoes as an extender (meaning doubling the size of the meal!), an extra kick from the tamarind and kaffir lime leaves, and the cilantros have been omitted - only because it was not available in the fridge at the time the dish was cooked!

Ingredients :
2 teaspoons olive oil (or ordinary cooking oil)
2 bay leaves
2 dried kaffir lime leaves
6 green cardamom pods, crushed lightly to break skin
1 2-inch long cinnamon quill
(these three are usually blended together in a food processor, or just minced finely if you prefer:)
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 fresh ginger (about the size of your thumb)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 large tomatoes, minced (in the original recipe, the tomatoes are blitzed with 1/2 cup of cilantro)
1-3 fresh green chili peppers (add or decrease according to taste), minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup non fat yoghurt, whisked until smooth
1 cup water
1/2 cup water to soak dried tamarind
500 grams chicken thighs, diced
3 potatoes, diced

Heat the oil in the pan over medium-high heat and cook the bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, cinnamon quill and cardamom pods, for around 30 seconds. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook until browned. Add the tomatoes and cook until wilted.

Add the spices - coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, salt, pepper, chili powder, then mix in the yoghurt. Stir constantly to prevent from curdling, and incorporate well into the mixture.

Add the chicken pieces, simmer until slightly browned, add the water, tamarind water and cook on high heat for around 6 minutes or until bubbling. Add potatoes, reduce heat, and cook for about 30 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkling of garam masala.

Spice Stop : Green Cardamom

Fragrant, almost floral-smelling pods with an outer covering protecting black seeds inside. It is picked while immature, then sun-dried to preserve its nice, bright green color. Used widely in Indian cooking, even for desserts.


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Scribe's Notes

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So from the diversely abstract to the intensely specific, it's off to making tracks, and it is here where it stops for a thought or two.

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