I’m a big fan of Indian food–though I’ll admit I don’t have much experience cooking it for myself. On my list of things to learn to cook are some good traditional Indian dishes–paneer, aloo jeera, aloo gobi, and a litany of others. We’ll get to it some day.
In the meantime, my mother-in-law has a great and very simple recipe for curried chicken. Both of us were tired from a long week at work last night, but this only took about half an hour to whip up–and most of that waiting for the rice to cook.
We used one chicken breast and ended up with three servings–lunch the next day!–but you could use two with the same proportion for the rest of the ingredients, and have a larger yield. You’ll need:
- Chicken breasts, cut into large-ish chunks
- Cooking oil/butter
- Vegetables (optional; cut into chunks)
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp dried dill (or a healthy handful fresh)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Cup chicken broth
Dredge the chunks of chicken in flour, and brown it lightly on all sides in a skillet. You don’t want to cook it too much right now! Throw in the chopped onions and saute until they’re transparent.
At this point, I realized we didn’t have any onions–so I cut up some sweet peppers and tossed them in instead. You could add pretty well any vegetables you want; carrots, cauliflower, etc. Peas would go great with this recipe, though I’d put them in not long before it’s served so they’re nice and crisp.
Once everything is browned and sauteed, sprinkle the mixture with the curry and dill. Add more or less to taste. If you’re using dried dill, remember to crush it in your hand before putting it in the pan; this should be done with all dried herbs, as it allows the oils to get through and improves the flavour. Also, when using dried herbs the general rule is to use three times as much as fresh–but play with it according to your tastes.
After adding the spices and herbs, add your broth and mix well. Simmer, covered, until the chicken is done. This is where most of the cooking takes place; if you cooked it too much while browning, the chicken will absorb less of the flavour from the spices, and won’t be as tender and juicy.
Once the chicken is done, add your mayonnaise. You could use plain yoghurt as well; the idea is to thicken the broth to make a nice sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. At this point, I turned up the heat to full for a minute or two, letting the water boil off to make an even thicker sauce.
Serve hot over rice. We added some sliced almonds–why not?
This is one of those dishes where you can play around with the recipe any way you like. Add more vegetables; toss some toasted almonds in there, and so on. We tried cooking the rice with tumeric, but didn’t add enough, so we’ll try more next time. We also both decided that next time we try this, we’ll be adding some raisins for a nice touch of sweetness.
James and Olivia