Sunday, May 29, 2011

Curry for Carrie

Chicken Curry with Challah bread

Carrie lives right across our house. We became friends since our kids are classmates. She moved to our neighborhood just last year. She is one of the most gregarious people, I have ever met. Once she gushed that she just loves Indian food. When my American friends claim that they love Indian foods, I give them a questionnaire to gauge where exactly their palette and heat level stand. This helps me decide my menu when I invite them for Indian themed party.

One of my questions is about their comfort level with cilantro and cardamom seeds. You see, these herb and spice are omnipresent in the Indian cuisine - especially in spicy and sweet delicacies respectively. But Carrie seems to be okay with cilantro and cardamom seeds.

After much deliberation, I made this chicken curry for her. I really went with the flow. I thought of grinding the ingredients instead of using chopped onions. I didn't use any whole spices/khada masala. I chose to use "All Spice powder" instead of Garam Masala. When the curry was ready, I didn't like the color, so I added more paprika. The result was very mild flavored chicken curry. I served it with ready made challah bread. Carrie and her kids loved it. Gudiya too loved it. My husband asked me - so what's the name of this curry? Well, I just came up with the name at that moment! - This is "curry for Carrie".

Curry for Carrie
Chicken Curry
2.2 lb or 1 kg organic chicken, boneless and skinless, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp all-spice powder

Grind to a smooth paste
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped
2" ginger, peeled
7 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup cashews, unsalted & raw

You will also need
1 tsp paprika
A generous pinch of garam masala

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar

1 meyer lemon

Suggested accompaniment
Tandoori Naan or Roti
Brown Rice
1. Marinate chicken with salt, turmeric powder, all spice and ground paste.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add sugar. As the sugar caramelizes, add marinated  chicken. Saute for 5 minutes.
3. Add 1 cup water. Pressure cook till 3 whistles
4. When the pressure drops of it own, check for salt. Adjust if needed more.
5. Add more water to get the desired consistency. Add paprika and garam masala.
6. When the curry boils, lower the gas and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Switch off the gas. Cover and set aside.
8. Just before serving, squeeze lemon juice or cut lemon into wedges and let everyone squeeze in their own serving bowl.

1. All spice powder has mild sweetish flavor. The all spice powder from my pantry includes - cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, licorice root, white pepper.
2. I have not used any green or red chilies in this recipe, since I was cooking for an American family. You can add chilies if you want.

3. I served this curry with challah bread but Naan or tandoori roti will go beautifully as well.

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