Saturday, July 14, 2012

Winner, Winner, Indian Chicken Dinner!!

   Every summer two of our best friends go to their house in Finland to spend time with friends and family. They're always back before the Finnish winter starts and who can blame them. Sometimes while they're gone, some of their family come and stay in their house in Sonoma. This summer Hannu and Eva came to visit .

   Eva does hair and makeup for films and TV, Hannu has a rock band and is a  songwriter/musician. They're a lot of fun and we always love spending time with them. Last time they were here, I cooked an all-American Saturday night dinner for them, catfish, locally grown collard greens and buttermilk biscuits with local blackberry honey. Since they both mentioned they love Indian food, this time I decided to do a Saturday night chicken dinner, Indian style. I served a Papaya, walnut, and watercress saladYogurt riceMango chutney , and as an entree, a Mangelorean Chicken dish known as Chicken Ajadin aka Chicken with Fresh Coconut.

   Most of the time when I give a big Indian dinner, I don't cook chicken. I know everybody likes chicken but maybe that's one of the reasons I don't cook it. When I go out, I always like to have something I don't normally get at home, and let's face it, most meat eaters eat a lot of chicken. Of course any Indian chicken recipe, if you don't have a whole lot of time to cook, chicken is your man..or rather bird.

   This entree comes together pretty fast. The sauce is made quickly and then the chicken simmered right before serving. So you don't need to cook this meat for hours to tenderize it. Chicken unlike  lamb or pork curry, is best when cooked fast and gently. The recipe involves dry roasting and grinding up a combo of spices for a masala, which then goes into the sauce the chicken is cooked in. This dish can be made in about an hour. You can't get much easier then that.

Coconut Chicken Curry

Here's What You Need:

2 lbs of chicken meat off the bone cut into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces. Either dark meat or a combo of light and dark.
2 Tbs of fresh lemon juice
1 bay leaf
10 fresh curry leaves (if you have them)
2 medium sized red onions, chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 and 1/2 tsp of salt
3 tbs of vegetable oil ( I use coconut oil)
A 1 inch long cinnamon stick
5  cloves
1 inch piece of peeled chopped fresh ginger
5 chopped shallots
3 chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1 cup grated fresh coconut or frozen unsweetened coconut (available at most Asian or Hispanic markets)
2 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro

For Masala

A  1 inch in cinnamon stick
3 cloves
3 green cardamom pods
6 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbs coriander seeds
1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds
1 tsp of white poppy seeds
6 dried red chilies

Here's What To Do:

Place the spices for the masala in a hot skillet and dry roast them for about 4 minutes or until they're fragrant.
Let them cool.
Put them in a spice grinder or processor and grind them up to a powder. Set it aside.
Cut the chicken into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces.
Put the pieces into a large bowl.
Add the lemon juice, salt and 1/2 tsp of the turmeric.
Mix everything together and set it aside for about 20 minutes.

Take a large skillet, kadhai or wok and heat it on medium.
When the pan is hot, add in the vegetable oil. I used  the Organic Virgin Coconut Oil that the folks from Sonoma Harvest  gave me to try.

When the oil is hot, toss in  the cinnamon stick, cloves, and bay leaf.
Saute it all for about 1 minute then add the onions and curry leaves if you're using them.
Cook everything for about 3 minutes or so then add in the ginger and shallots.
Cook it all down for about 5 minutes or so, then add in the tomatoes and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Mix it all together.
Add another 1/2 tsp of turmeric the ground masala powder you made and stir everything together for about  2 to 3 minutes.
Cook it until the oil starts to rise to the top.
Add in the fresh coconut, stir and cook it for about 3 minutes.

Toss in the chopped cilantro and stir it up.

Add the chicken pieces and saute them until they're coated with the mixture.

Add in 1 and 1/2 cups of water and bring it all to a boil.
Once it's boiling, pop a lid on things turn the heat to low and let it all simmer for about 15 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through.
That's it. Serve it up...

... tasty coconutty chicken curry that's fast, tasty and even better the next day. If there's any left. Add in some mint parathas and Anaheim chiles with peanuts, and green beans with coconut, it's a meal.

   We had a great time with Hannu and Eva. After dinner the instruments came out, guitar, banjo, and uke. It was the sort of evening people used to have 100 years ago, only with Indian food, and sheet music on the iPad. Everybody stayed til after midnight.

Hannu's horse and rider which he photographs everywhere in the world he goes, had a great time too.

   So there you have a different twist on the conventional Saturday night chicken dinner but what's for dessert?? Just think floating cheesecake. Enough said, it's coming up next. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori



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