I love making curries. When I cook I am very relaxed about the ingredient combinations that I use and if I mess something up (i.e., it tastes like crap), I just add more stuff until it tastes edible. Don’t worry, I can cook. I promise. Mmm I am sensing some doubt. 🙂
Since I do not use recipes or follow rules, I have to taste as I go. There are rules I could follow, but if you met me, you would learn very quickly that following rules is not my forte. Alright, let’s get to it.
When in need of comfort food sometimes I make red Indian curry and sometimes I make green Thai curry. Today I will show you how I make a red Indian curry my way.
I tried to measure the ingredients, but in all honesty, I would add the word “about” or “approximately” before each ingredient. I suck at measuring. Don’t worry, if it gets too hot add some yogurt or coconut milk. You will be fine!
What you need:
- about 2 pounds of skinless chicken (any part of the body as long as it is skinless)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Cooking oil (enough to cover the pan)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes (or whole from a can and you can crush them yourself).
- 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt or coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- A lot of chopped fresh cilantro
Now, what about the rest of the ingredients? This is just the sauce and chicken. Well, I like to add whatever vegetables I feel like eating. Almost always I add potatoes and mushrooms, but these are the ingredients I chose this time around. Potatoes (3), mushrooms (6), zucchini (1). I did not use the plantain or squash in the end. Wow, I had no idea that cutting squash would be so difficult! It looked so appealing at the grocery store.
1) Cut all your ingredients and put them aside. 2) Heat a large pan and then add oil. The heat should be medium-high. 3) Add the garlic, and ginger to the oil (for those of you who like onion, you can add finely chopped onion at this stage) and cook and stir for about 4 minutes (make sure it does not burn or the garlic and ginger will taste bitter. 4) Stir the curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of water into the mixture in the pan. 5) Stir everything together for about 1 minutes. 6) Mix the tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and 1 teaspoon salt into the mixture. 7) Add the chicken to the mixture and pour 1/2 cup water into the mixture and bring to a boil, turning the chicken to coat with the sauce. 8) Sprinkle the garam masala over the chicken and let it cook for about 5 minutes. 9) Add the potatoes and whatever else takes the longest to cook. Add large pieces of cilantro (adds great flavor to the curry). You can garnish with smaller pieces at the end.
Poke the chicken and make sure that there is no blood coming out of it. Once you think it is cooked or almost there (it will cook more when you add the rest of the ingredients), add the rest of the ingredients.
After adding the mushrooms and zucchini let everything simmer together for 15-20 minutes before turning off the stove. Let it sit with no heat for about 10 minutes more. This allows the juices to penetrate the vegetables and it helps the chicken soften. The meat on the chicken will literally fall off the bone.
Final product. We ate this with rice. You can eat it with couscous, bread (any type), naan, etc. Some of my guests found the curry a little hot (I like it spicy), so I added 2 tablespoons of coconut milk to make it more mild and creamy.
**I know this may seem like too much trouble to make, so here are some great curry packages that have been recommended to me: Kitchen of India Curry Spice ($2 at most Canadian grocery stores), Shan Nihari Curry Mix, MTR Sambar Powder, A Taste of Thal, Asian Home Gourmet, etc.
If you do decide to use a package, just stir in the package at step 4.
So, if you have some vegetables lying around, why not make a curry? Go for it!