Easy Curry Chicken

Serve over rice

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
  • Onions
  • Flour
  • 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

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Chicken Rolled with Aparagus

Chicken rolled with asparagus

Chicken Rolled with Asparagus

A friend of mine posted an experiment she’d tried last week, and it looked delicious.  She said it was really simple–didn’t even use a recipe, per se–so naturally, we had to give it a go!

We started with two large chicken breasts, and sliced them in half along the length–butterflied. This gives you a nice wide surface to roll the asparagus up with. Because of the way I cut them (I’ve never butterflied a chicken breast before) they were a bit uneven, but it worked out well; we ended up with two big servings, and two smaller ones, but they all cooked at the same rate.

Next, we salted and peppered both sides–a touch more pepper on the inside gave it a nice kick in the end–and added a dab of butter. Each breast held four spears of asparagus; any more, and we wouldn’t have been able to fully wrap them. Roll the breast to cover the asparagus, then add a toothpick to hold it all together.A dab of vegetable oil on the asparagus tips helped them get nice and  crisp.

Then we added some dijon mustard, rubbing it on the surface of the chicken. This was the recipe we got from Juliet, and the flavours worked great. I’d like to try this again with different rubs; a Jamaican Jerk, maybe, or honey mustard. I bet this would even work really well done on the BBQ (in a foil pan of course) with a smoky hickory sauce.

These went in the oven at 400° F for 35 minutes. Just for a nice bit of flair, we shredded up some havarti and sprinkled it on top for the last five minutes of cooking. Test it before you take them out–the flesh should be white and the juices run clear. Depending on how thick you cut the chicken, it could take longer or shorter in the oven; just keep an eye on it.

To go with the chicken we just sauteed up some fresh vegetables–including a delicious yellow “Crooknecked Squash” that was pretty much a zucchini–and made a Caesar salad. A simple and delicious simple meal that took less than an hour!

Thanks and credit to Juliet for the recipe and idea. Go find her at Lemon of Choice!

James

Garam Masala Chicken

Olivia has a recipe for a really nice Indian Spiced potato salad, and we’ve been looking for the perfect pairing. We thought to bar-b-Que tonight, but changed our mind when we found this recipe for Garam Masala Chicken at Allrecipes.com.

It’s a simple recipe, and we had all the ingredients at hand–what could be better? So we defrosted the chicken, thinking to do a half recipe (we normally freeze chicken breasts in portions for two).

Unfortunately, we only had one chicken breast. So rather than do a quarter recipe, we decide to get creative.

I won’t reproduce the original recipe here; suffice it to say that we followed it most of the way. The main change was that we cut the chicken into strips, rather than cooking it whole. This reduced the cooking time from twenty minutes closer to ten–which also meant the vegetables were more crispy, the way we prefer them.

We still did a half recipe, but added more veggies instead of the second chicken breast. I imagine that we could have substituted the chicken for more chick peas as well, but we had enough in the salad.

We browned the chicken on both sides, then added the spices and water and let it simmer covered for a couple of minutes. Then we added the sweet peppers; after letting them soften a touch we threw in the rest of the vegetables, and another half teaspoon of masala. We kept adding water to make a sort of sauce with all the spices, and ended up using enough water for a full recipe. We boiled the water to let our “sauce” thicken, just enough that it coated everything nicely. A bit of tossing around, and we were done!

The altered recipe worked well for us, though I’m sure the original is great too. Next time we’d add a bit more salt, a bit more masala, and probably put the tomatoes in just before the dish is finished-nobody likes a mushy tomato.

James