Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chicken and Tomato Curry Recipe

I had been craving Indian food, so last week I pulled out Flatbreads and Flavors, a cookbook with a favorite Indian dosa recipe, and Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian Cookbook for a savory vegetable side. I wanted to make some type of curry to spoon up in the dosas, so I picked a shrimp curry with coconut milk, that I would modify with chicken, and having forgotten the coconut milk on my trip to the coop, ended up modifying totally.

I used organic chicken thighs in this braise, an inexpensive way to eat organic meat, and virtually impossible to mess up; the longer you cook the chicken, the more tender it gets. Use many thighs, and you have enough for several meals; heat up the portion you will consume, and keep the rest in the refrigerator.

Chicken and Tomato Curry

(adapted liberally from Flatbreads and Flavors, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid)

1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
2 pounds chicken thighs (about 8 thighs)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
20 fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 28 ounce can and 1 14.5 ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon store-bought garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken thighs, and season them liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and heat until very hot, but not smoking. Add a few chicken thighs to the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Sear them on one side until golden brown. If the chicken won't turn, let it cook on that side a little longer. When it has seared, the skin will easily release from the pan with a gently touch. Sear on the other side. Remove the thighs to a plate, and continue searing the rest of them.

Discard the chicken fat from the pan, and add a little fresh canola oil. Heat the oil, and saute the onions until soft, scraping up the chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic, the ginger, the jalapeno, and the curry leaves, and stir quickly. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the garam masala, and mix well. Add the tomatoes, increase the heat, and let the mixture cook a bit, until the tomatoes soften. Bury the chicken thighs into the tomato sauce, lower the heat, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, and the meat releases easily from the bone. Stir in the salt and the chopped cilantro.

If you like, skim off the excess fat from the top before serving with Fresh Coriander, Ginger, and Chile Crepes (Rava Dosa), or rice.