My friend Priya taught me how to make Indian curry a few weeks ago… possibly a month ago. I’m not sure, I have absolutely no concept of time (what is it, like season 50 of American Idol or something now?). Anyway, I went to her house and after no shortage of some fantastic wine I watched her work her magic. What seemed like 20 minutes, I was eating a simple delicious chicken thigh curry.
I didn’t write anything down. I pretty much did this from what I remembered her doing. It seemed rather simple in the sense as there really is no right or wrong way to make curry if you follow a basic recipe. You can use whatever spices you like. Here’s what I managed to come up with from memory and improvisation and the results were pretty fantastic.
Time: A little over an hour (again, no concept of time, this could have taken longer, I don’t know…)
Dude, I don’t know. I’m making curry.
Vegan Option: Replace chicken thighs with any vegetable you like (I like roasted brussels sprouts!) and the chicken broth with vegetable stock.
- Chicken Thighs (In this recipe I used 9 small ones because they were on sale)
- 2 Cans of Coconut Milk (Or for a MUCH sweeter option, coconut cream)
- 2 tbsp. Curry Spice (I used madras curry)
- 1 C. Chicken broth
- 2 tbsp. Garam Masala
- 1 Can of Tomato Paste (or 3 sun dried tomatoes)
- 1 tsp. Turmeric (not necessary but it’s so healthy that I add it to anything that will take it)
- 5 Whole Cloves
- 2 Star Anise
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 5 Cloves of Garlic
- 2 tbsp of Vegetable Oil (separated)
- 1 Large White Onion
- 1 tsp. Hungarian Paprika
- 1 tbsp. Cinnamon
- Mega Hot Pepper* ** *** **** (as much as you dare)
- Cooked Brown Rice (1 cup per serving).
*Mega hot pepper is one step below ghost pepper, the hottest pepper known to man. For 9 pieces of chicken I used barely 1/2 a teaspoon and it got everyone sweating (but they couldn’t stop eating it). If you used coconut cream like I did, I totally recommend using something like this because the way the flavors dance in you mouth is borderline erotic. Available at Rocky Peanut Co. in Eastern Market.
** Seriously you guys… start with a pinch of it, a tiny amount at a time.
*** Dude… don’t be a hero. It’s not worth it.
**** I warned you…
- Coarsely Chop Onions
- Finely Chop Garlic
- Combine all the dry powdered spices together
- Add a tbsp. of oil to the saucepan and brown the onions on medium low heat for about 20 minutes. When the onions are 3/4 done add the garlic and complete browning.
- Turn the heat to low and add the dry powders spices to the mix and stir until everything is nice and mixed together. Continue to do so until you can really start to smell the aromas of the spice. They should smell fragrant, not burnt (1-2 minutes). Once the spices are incorporated, add the broth to stop them from burning… this was essential for me because I forgot to open the can of coconut milk and the time it would take to do that would have probably burned everything.
- Add the coconut mild and turn the heat to medium. Stir until everything is mixed together in a uniform color
- Add the tomato paste and stir until incorporated.
- Place the mixture into a blender (Be safe! Fill the blender 1/4 full at most because too much hot liquid will explode (no joke) in the blender… and remember, there mega hot chili pepper in that curry).
- Blend the sauce until the sauce is smooth
- Put the curry back in the saucepan and heat it to a simmer.
- Add the whole spices and Bay Leaves and simmer for 5 minutes
- Place the chicken in the curry (make sure they’re covered in sauce and turn the heat to medium high. Cover the pan and cook until done (30-45minutes).
Optional Step: Scrape off the sauce from the tops of the chicken (while in the pan) and quickly brown the skin with a blowtorch.
Spices, Garlic, Onions, Broth
Cooking Chicken in the Curry
I took this shot with my iPhone because there’s no way I’m going to handle my heavy ass camera this close to fire.
I took this picture with my phone and used Instagram because I forgot where I had put down my camera… also I’m a terrible terrible person.
There it is… garnished with fresh pea sprouts from Rising Pheasant Farms