Friday, February 18, 2011

Peppery Chettinad Chicken Curry, A Restaurant Entree In An Hour

    It's a cold, cold and wet, wet week here in Sonoma. After a crazy hot week just a few days before, nature put us on notice that Winter wasn't quite done with us yet. We're also re-arranging the office, making room for a couple of gi-normus monitors... all the better to Skype you with my dears. While trying to get our regular work done, and trying to move mail and various other things from one 'puter to another, we still have to eat, and of course around here, eat well.
   I've found that when cooking Indian food that involves any sort of meat or fish, less is more. A little goes a long way, a stitch in time saves.... whatever, and all that other good stuff. One nicely sized, boneless chicken breast in a recipe scaled down, feeds two with a couple of sides, and no one leaves hungry. There is also none of that embarrassing surreptitious unbuttoning of the pants under the table. Not exactly the way one wants to end a romantic dinner on like say...Valentines Day. At least not until one's in the privacy of ones own boudoir. In other words, it's not quantity but quality, and this traditional chicken dish makes a perfect lunch or dinner along with a leafy green, and some rice. I also tossed in the left-over sambar from yesterday. Gotta love that.

Chettinad Chicken Curry

So here's what to do:
 Heat 3 Tbs of vegetable oil (I always use coconut oil) in a deep skillet or kadhai.
When the oil is nice and hot toss in:
 A 1 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
 8 shallots finely chopped
 Stir it around sauteing it for about 30 seconds or so and then add in:
 3 onions cut in half and then cut into quarters and thinly sliced.
Stir fry the onions for about 15 minutes until they're lightly browned, then turn up the heat and add in:
 2 boneless chicken breasts (each breast should weight about 1/2 pound) cut into 1 inch pieces.
Stir the chicken pieces around and brown them lightly.
Turn down the heat and it's time to spice things up.
 Toss in:
 1 and 1/2 tsp of turmeric
 3 tsps of  ground coriander
 2 and 1/2 Tbs of ground black peppercorns
 1 and 1/2 tsps of salt
 Give it all a good stir and blend the spices with everything else, this should take about 4 minutes.
 Now add in :
 3 chopped tomatoes. Now around here this time of year, that is not possible, so I substitute with canned organic, no salt added tomatoes.
 1 and 1/2 cups of plain yogurt
Mix it all in well, bring it to a boil and then turn it all the way down to simmer. No curdling allowed.
 Pop a lid on the pan and simmer everything slowly for about 15 to 20 minutes. When the chicken is nice and tender add in:
 8 curry leaves
 2 tsps of Garam Masala
 3 Tbs of lemon juice
 Cook for another 5 minutes and serve.
 Together with some spinach with Indian spices, coconut cashew rice and the leftover sambar, the meal was on the table in a bit less than an hour. Wow.
 Coming up next, cooking rice in coconut milk for an extra kick. Meanwhile I'm waiting on my dongle..ooooh....and everytime I look at my new computer I feel like an air traffic controller. 


  1. This looks and sounds fabulous! I definitely want to give this a try!

  2. This look mouthwatering!good collection of indian dishes, Thanks for sharing this.

  3. another great dish Kathy! I can smell the spices and feel the warmth from here...Theresa

  4. So going to use this recipe! I'm not complaining about the weather today!

  5. It's cold and wet here in Montecito too! Curry sounds just perfect. Great idea.

  6. @s stockwell,
    the whole state is getting dunked. I love Montecito! We used to spend many weekends there, when we were still based in LA. We have friends there and our up the road neighbors are from there too.

  7. mmm....looks so tasty and its only morning. I must try this out.



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