After a while, all this heat, unrelenting and dull, really gets to me, and I get tired of not having something cooked for dinner--much as I love fresh tomatoes and bright salads. Rather than beating the heat, I feel I must join it. So I make a curry.
My parents make the curry recipe in The Joy of Cooking. It is a simple recipe, and could be rather dull on its own (it doesn't compare to anything you'd find in a decent restaurant). I spice it up by using the best possible curry powder I can find (I recommend finding a good spice shop. If that fails, get some from Penzey's.)
The real fun of this dish are the "fixings" -- toppings to add flavor and depth and crunch to your chicken curry: bowls of scallions, slivered almonds, coconut, tomatoes, golden raisins. (Or, as above, pistachios because we're out of almonds, and boring regular raisins.) And, of course, a bright, delicious chutney. Serve with a chilled Asian beer like Singha, or some Pinot Grigio.
Easy-Peasy Chicken Curryalso known as: an excuse to eat a whole jar of chutney in one sitting. 4 skinless chicken breasts (prefer air-chilled meat, can have bone if you like)
2 tbl vegetable oil
1 large onion thinly sliced
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1.5-3 tsp curry powder,
or 1 tsp Tumeric and 1-2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 cup greek yogurt or
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbl fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
Butterfly the chicken breasts. In a heavy, wide skillet, heat the oil over med-high. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, till golden bown (7-10 minutes). Add the garlic and ginger and curry powder or tumeric and Garam Masala, and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the chicken and cook till the chicken looses its "raw color" (2-3 minutes). Stir in yogurt or coconut milk. (Add more or either if necessary.) Cook, stirring occasionally, while the sauce thickens. It is done when the oil seperates and pools. (The Joy of Cooking says 3-5 minutes, but I find it takes longer.)
Stir in 1 cup water and the cilantro, and salt. Reduce the heat and cook till the chicken is done (20-30 minutes). Remove the chicken and taste the sauce. Add more curry if necessary (or cayenne to give it a kick). Let thicken over high heat and pour into a pitcher.
Serve over rice, with the fixings as indicated above. And especially the chutney.
Previously on Jam Sessions.