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A blog about cooking and food, and how to make it taste good and be healthy. The dishes are almost all gluten/dairy free, and many are vegetarian. The focus is on techniques and ingredients over recipes - this is about everyday cooking, and that means making it work with whats on hand!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chicken Curry

Yeah. Chicken Curry.
This is a standard chicken curry, in a rich tomato sauce.  I used boneless thigh meat because it makes it easier to eat, but bone-in chicken makes a better curry, especially if you cut the pieces across the bone to expose the marrow.  Use dark meat if you go boneless because it has more fat and stays moist.  When I use bone-in, I like to use a whole chicken's worth of pieces (breasts, wings, legs, thighs). It somehow feels natural and homestyle to have a whole bird if you're going to have all those bones.
You need onions and tomatoes along with the chicken. The onions get diced or minced - the smaller you cut them the better it comes out, although it takes more time to do the extra chopping. The tomatoes get medium diced, and the chicken gets cut into cubes.
 
Heat a pan and toast some cumin seeds. Add some oil (or even better, ghee) and add whole spices, in this case mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and fenugreek.  After those fry up a little, add the onions, and sweat or brown on a medium heat.  After 5-8 minutes (stirring occasionally), add curry leaves and minced garlic. You can also add chopped chilies at this point, if you want a spicier curry.
Once the onions are really becoming well-cooked (this may take 15-20 minutes, but is worth the wait), add the ground spices. Here I used turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and salt, which is my usual mix of ground spices. Mix them into the oinions and fry them in the oil.
After 3 or 4 minutes, add the tomatoes and let them cook in for 2 or 3 minutes. At that point add the chicken. The tomatoes will not yet have turned into a sauce, so it will look weak, but you don't need to add water. Fat from the chicken and juice from the tomatoes will fill out the gravy. Cook the chicken for 20-30 minutes, covered, stirring every now and then.
The tomatoes will have melted and the curry sauce will now be thick and rich and creamy. Add cilantro now if you have it. It takes about 45 minutes to make a curry like this, but you can make it in big batches, and it only uses one pot. It tastes even better as leftovers, because it gives the flavors more time to mix.



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