August 09, 2009
Neha's fish Rana died today. It's about the 12th one that has perished in the tank of ... death. With this book on my plate and another Sun-Times piece to work on I'm so not interested in cleaning a fish tank in the 3-4 minutes I usually have to myself in a day. Unfortunately, Neha insisted through tears that we keep Rana downstairs in a cup. Inside the house so the rats don't get it in the middle of the night. So..I have a dead fish in a plastic cup sitting on my shoe rack right now waiting to be buried tomorrow. Olena - our wonderful au pair. If you are reading this - guess what you get to do tomorrow?!
But, between all this madness I had to post this recipe for my good college buddy Becki! I'm so glad we're connected again through Facebook and now this blog. I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe - and anyone else who tries it. I modified it today and Sandeep says it's excellent. You be the judge...
Traditional Chicken Curry
Cooker: 5-quart medium crockpot
Settings, cooking times: low for 8 hours
For those that are not clear - this is a slow cooker recipe. Thus the 8 hours is not too much cooking time! It's perfect!
When most people think of Indian food the first thing that comes to mind is a good chicken curry. Because I never grew up eating this dish, I relied on my husband’s childhood version for this recipe. He says the best chicken curry is made only with a rich sauce and no vegetables. Though many recipes call for chopped cauliflower or carrots, I’ve tried to remain true to his tastes for this one.
3 pounds chicken, skinned and cut into about 8 pieces (boneless works too)
1 large yellow onion, or 2 medium, peeled and chopped into 8 pieces
2 tomatoes, cut in 4 pieces each
5-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
10 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup plain yogurt (fat, low-fat, or non-fat)
1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 cup dry methi (fenugreek) leaves
1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 inches long
4 green cardamom pods
4-6 green Thai, Serrano or cayenne chilies, cut lengthwise
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup water (optional)
Put chicken in slow cooker. If using frozen always remember in a slow cooker to defrost meat thoroughly first. Frozen items should never go into a slow cooker, as it's tough to get the heat to the desired cooking level with frozen vegetables and meats.
In a food processor grind onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, salt, and turmeric. Be patient. This may take a few minutes. You want the paste to be as smooth as possible. I did not need to use water to get the process started, as the onion added enough moisture. If you need to, you can always add small amounts of water...about a tablespoon.
In a bowl, whisk together above paste, garam masala, oil, yogurt, red chili powder, and methi. Pour into slow cooker over the chicken.
Add cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, and chilies. Mix gently.
Cook on low for 8 hours. Add water towards the end of the cooking process only if you want more broth with your chicken. (I did not add water to my dish as the onions let off enough water themselves). Garnish with cilantro.
Remove whole spices and serve over bed of Basmati/brown rice or with roti/naan.[figend]
What is methi? This is dried fenugreek leaves. It is hands down a great ingredient to keep handy. It can be purchased easily from any Indian grocer. You can add it to many dishes from vegetables to meat. My aunt in England also uses it to flavor her paranthas. If you don't have it for this dish - don't worry. Just remember to pick it up for the next time around.
If you want more or less heat (spice) always remember to adjust the amount of red chili powder and the green chilies to your taste. Neha ate this version. Aria thought it was a bit spicy. She was okay with it once I mixed it in with some lentils.