Saturday, February 20, 2010

curry, spice, and everything's nice

I don't remember ever disliking Indian food. Instead I remember asking to go to the Clay Pit, Austin's finest Indian restaurant, for more than one birthday as a child, always loving the heavy smells and dim lighting, feeling so mature with my mango lassi. I thought lamb korma was the height of culinary perfection, creamy cashew deliciousness and tender meat. Don't even get me started on naan and raita

Moving to Chicago changed my relationship with Indian food a bit. There seems to be great Indian food restaurants everywhere, a few I've been lucky to eat at, but the prices are beyond my minuscule budget. Was Indian food this expensive when my parents were paying for it? (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

I've always been a little timid at the thought of cooking Indian food, it seems so daunting, so complicated, so much better when someone else brings it to you with a warm basket of garlic naan. Alas, with the recent purchase of a plane ticket and my lack of financial planning, this is not an option. At the suggestion of my mother for a quick dinner, I made chicken curry. Awesome chicken curry. Heavily fragrant, intensely flavored, just rich enough to leave me sleepily full, awesome. 

And so easy! Not at all the laborious process I imagined. It's less work and more of a dumping everything delicious into a skillet and watching as it bubbles seductively, diffusing your house with curry smells. Pretty pleasant. And pretty cheap. Enough for you, another, and yourself again for lunch. You probably already have most of these ingredients languishing in your pantry and fridge. They're begging for you to use them, to take them off the shelf and transform them into something crave-worthy. 

Chicken Curry
adapted from Gourmet 2007

makes enough for 3 or 4

-1 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks
-1 tsp salt
-2 Tbs olive oil
-3 garlic cloves chopped
-2 Tbs curry powder
-1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
-1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
-1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes
-3/4 cup fresh cilantro

(if you're feeling healthy, the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup currants and  1 10 oz. package of frozen okra.)

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt. 

Heat oil in large skillet until hot but not smoking.  Brown chicken on both sides, about 5 minutes. Move chicken with tongs to plate. Stir garlic, curry powder, and cayenne into remaining oil before adding coconut milk and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to simmer, add chicken back into skillet. Briskly simmer about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has slightly reduced to a thick, heavenly consistency. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with basmati rice or naan. And a healthy dollop of raita. Feast. 


-1 1/2 cup yogurt ( i used Greek)
-1/2 a large cucumber, peeled
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp cumin
-2 Tbs freshly chopped cilantro

Chop cucumber into 1/2 inch sized chunks. Mix with yogurt, salt, cumin, and cilantro.  

1 comment:

  1. still have to go to that mod indian restaurant on randolph!