Friday, January 20, 2012

Coconut Chicken Curry

This is my mother’s recipe for chicken curry, which she adapted slightly from Châtelaine by omitting the water (as do I) and by reducing the amount of spices. I’m reproducing it below with the original amounts, but feel free to adjust it to your taste. Sometimes, my mother throws a peeled and cubed sweet potato in there with the coconut milk, for extra color, which is a pretty good idea considering that the dish doesn’t have any vegetables otherwise apart from the onion. I served it with brown rice, but lentils and naan bread would be wonderful.

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 whole cloves
1 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1 to 2 tsp chili powder (I used 1 tsp of Korean pepper)
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp mustard powder
400-mL can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
2 to 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat oil in a large wide saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add whole cloves to pan and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion and garlic. Stir often until onion softens, about 5 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken. Stir-fry until golden-tinged, from 4 to 5 minutes. Then stir in ginger, cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, salt, turmeric, cardamom, and mustard powder. Stir in coconut milk. Taste, and for more kick, stir in remaining teaspoon chili powder.

Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring often, until chicken is cooked, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coriander and 2 tsp lemon juice. Taste. Add remaining teaspoon lemon juice, if needed. Serve immediately.

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