Sometimes I crave the aroma and taste of curry. Recently, the pantry and frig just said curry everytime I opened one of the doors. It didn't take much convincing...I had everything...no trip to the store!!
I started off making a vegetable curry but I noticed a lonely chicken breast in the freezer so I decided that it could easily join the mix!
What is a curry? According to Neela Paniz, cookbook author and owner of The Bombay Cafe in Los Angeles, curry is not a spice bought in a jar....however, I do happen to have a couple of jars in the spice cabinet... Kard, the Hindi word from which curry is derived, means "to cook over a long period of time." It is a dish that starts with a slow browning of onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and ground spices. The proportions of the spices, usually, cumin, coriander, cayenne and turmeric, vary by cook and palate. So, you may have to doodle with them to find the right proportions for you.
Chicken and Vegetable Curry
adapted from Fine Cooking
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into chunks, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional...taste first....)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup light coconut milk
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1/2 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
In a 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Wipe the pan and add two tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and cook until the onion is nicely browned about 5 additional minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, cook, stirring for about a minute to blend the flavors. Add the coriander, curry and cumin and stir for 30 seconds to toast the spices. Add the tomato paste and stir until well blended with the aromatics, about another minute.
Add the broth, coconut milk, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the chicken, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and carrots. Increase the heat and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20-25 minutes.
Stir in the chick peas, lime juice, and zest. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve over rice, garnished with cilantro.
Note: Curry should be the consistency of a thick gravy.
While we loved this curry, it was a pretty spicy curry so I would suggest that you taste before adding the cayenne pepper.