Sunday, September 16, 2012

Chicken Curry with Tomatoes, Onion & Yogurt and Basmati Fried Rice with Turmeric & Mustard Seed

I saw a recipe for Tomato Yogurt Chicken Curry by Aarti Sequeira in the latest edition of Food Network Magazine. It looked yummy & simple to make, so I thought I'd give a shot. After consulting a couple Indian cookbooks I had on my shelves, I decided to add ground cumin, garam masala & ground coriander to the mix (adapted from the Chicken Curry recipe in Smita & Sanjeev Chandra's Cuisines of India) and served it with a Basmati fried rice with turmeric & mustard seed on the side (adapted from the Marathi Yellow Fried Rice recipe in Ruta Kahate's 5 Spices, 50 Dishes). Flavors are even better the next day.

4 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 medium red onion, finely diced
3 bay leaves
1 28-oz. can whole plum tomatoes
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
6 dried chiles de arbol
1 tsp. paprika
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1" piece of ginger, peeled & coarsely chopped
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
6 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat & cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups water
6 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cut into 1" cubes
4 tbsp. plain Greek-style yogurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Add oil to a medium pot or large saute pan over medium heat until hot. Add the cumin seeds to the pan and cook for 10-20 seconds, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant & lightly browned. Add the red onions & bay leaves to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes or until the onions are browned.

2. Strain the tomato juice from the canned tomatoes into a separate bowl. Set aside. Pour the tomatoes into a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, ginger, ground cumin, garam masala, ground coriander, turmeric, chiles de arbor, and paprika. Process until just smooth. 

3. Add the tomato mixture to the sauteed onions & bring heat up to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken. Stir in diced chicken & potatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Add 2 cups of water, season with salt & sugar, then bring mixture up to a boil. Reduce heat to low or medium-low, and simmer, uncovered for about 30 minutes until sauce is reduced and potatoes are tender. Adjust seasonings as needed, then stir in the yogurt. Serve warm with plain or fried basmati rice, garnished with fresh cilantro.

Chiles de arbol, garlic, red onion & ginger.

Blend the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, chiles & spices together.

Diced potatoes.

Heat the cumin seeds in hot oil until fragrant.

Add onions & bay leaves and cook until lightly browned.

Add pureed tomato-spice mixture and cook 10 minutes until mixture starts to thicken.

Add chicken & potatoes and cook until chicken is just cooked through.

Add the reserved tomato juice, 2 cups of water, salt & sugar. Simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Stir in yogurt.

Stir in cilantro & remove from heat.

Basmati Fried Rice with Turmeric & Mustard Seed:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups cooked basmati rice*
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or 2 medium serrano chiles, thinly sliced)
1 cup chopped red onion
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

*I like cooking basmati in the rice cooker: Place 3 cups of rice into the bowl of the rice cooker and rinse 2-3 times. Drain, then add 6 cups of water. Soak 5-10 minutes (not more), then add 1 tsp. of salt & 2 tbsp. of oil. Cook in the rice cooker until done. Let rice sit for about 15 minutes, then open the rice cooker and let the rice cool down a bit before using.

1. Heat 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a wok or saute pan over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add the mustard seeds, cover and cook for several seconds until they stop sputtering. If using serrano chiles, add them now & cook for 10-15 seconds. Stir in the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly browned. 

2. Add the turmeric and cayenne (if using), stir briefly. 

3. Gently stir in the cooked rice, lemon juice, salt & sugar. Cook over medium-low heat about 5 minutes, then stir in the cilantro. Remove & serve.

For the rice, heat 1/4 cup of vegetable over high heat, add the mustard seeds, cover & cook for several seconds until they stop popping (do not burn). 

If using fresh serrano chiles, add them first & cook for several seconds, then add in chopped onion & cook until lightly browned.

Add turmeric and cayenne (if using). 

Stir in rice, lemon juice, salt & sugar. Cook 5 minutes then stir in cilantro.

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