Thursday, March 08, 2007
After we thoroughly went through the Indian spices in our first Bollywood Cooking session, it's high time we do a bit of cooking. After thinking about it for a long time I decided to go with a chicken curry. It is probably one of the most well known type of Indian dishes in the world and is cooked in many different varieties.
The word curry actually comes from the South Indian Kari, which mean sauce. Curries are prepared all over the Asian continent, with the Thai curry, Malaysian curry, Indonesian curry and of course the Indian curry being the most popular types. The flavor and content of the curries not only differ from country to country but also from cook to cook. Therefore, each curry you ever try is most certainly unique in it's own way. Curries are not always to be considered hot, they are indeed spicy as in full of flavor. In fact there are more mild curry recipes than hot ones and these are designed to give a cleverly balanced blend of the various spices and herbs used, some of which have delicate and highly sophisticated tastes.
Generally speaking in Indian curries, commonly used base spices and herbs include coriander, cumin, cardamom and turmeric. Depending on the recipe involved, other ingredients can include things like chili, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, garam masala, onions, cinnamon and pepper and mustard seeds.
I found an amazing article from the Toronto Star in which 6 different ways of curries are prepared. Something I have to also share with you for your future reference.
My way of preparing this chicken curry is the way I got it from my dad. You heard me - my dad! Ever since my dad retired he has become a hobby cook. He watched my mum cook for several years and now has sort of taken over in the kitchen. What I love about my dad is that the recipes he cooks are "no fuss no nonsense" type of dishes. For example my mother will make the effort of going through the process of peeling, pitting and squeezing the tomatoes for this curry. My dad on the other hand believes this to be nonsense and simply chops up the tomatoes into pieces, juice, peel, pit and all. Personally I find no difference to the taste.
So, I hope you now join me and let's cook up a super tasting chicken curry.
The theme for the latest Monthly Mingle is - Savory Cakes.
Deadline is March 15th. Hope to see you there!
Music While Cooking:
Illegal - Shakira
Album: Oral Fixation Vol. 2
1 free-range chicken, cut into 8 pieces. You can also simply use 8 chicken drumsticks or drumsticks/thighs.
4-6 medium sized tomatoes - coarsely chopped. You can, if you like, peel, pit and squeeze the juice out of these and then chop. Or take my dad's "no fuss no nonsense" method.
1 medium onion - finely chopped
4 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cm piece ginger - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
1-2 green chillies - finely chopped. The fiery hotness depends on your taste.
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp yogurt
a small bunch of coriander leaves - chopped
In a large pan heat the oil and fry the onions on a low to medium heat for 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally, gently brown the onions making sure they do not burn. Add the ginger, garlic and chili to the pan and continue frying for another minute or so. Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric powders to the mixture and fry for another 2 minutes, stirring continuously so that the spices do not stick to the pan. Add salt and pepper.
Pour water and add the tomatoes. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Place the chicken pieces into the pan and coat with the sauce. Covered, allow the chicken to cook for 30-40 minutes over a low heat.
Now stir in the yogurt. Make sure the liquid does not boil after you have added the yogurt to it as it will get clumpy. Add half of the lime juice. Taste and if you like add some more.
Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and serve with basmati rice or a pulao.
A slightly different way to prepare a chicken curry but this holds all the expected tastes of spices, chilies, tomatoes and chicken. The chicken is tender and succulent and has time to soak all of the big taste from the spices.
More on Indian spices refer to the Indian Spice Enspicopedia.
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