Monday, September 21, 2009

Chicken with Roasted Coriander in a Coconut Curry Sauce


This is one of my favorite Indian dishes ever. I first found the recipe in an Indian cookbook I got for my birthday over five years ago, and since then, I have made it dozens and dozens of times, hardly even needing the recipe anymore. It’s a curry that everyone seems to love, as it is not to spicy yet bursts with flavor. The coconut milk in the sauce gives a slightly creamy texture without overpowering the dish. The list of spices may appear daunting, but I promise – this dish is very easy to throw together if you have everything on hand. If you don’t have coriander seeds or peppercorns, just use the ground version of the spices and it will still taste great.
Chicken with Roasted Coriander in a Coconut Curry Sauce
3 tbsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
6 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
5 cm or 2 inches cinnamon stick
1 kg, or 2.2 lbs chicken
2 onions, peeled and cut in fine rings so that there are slivers and not chunks of onion
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
1 large tomato, finely chopped
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 400-gram can of coconut milk
2 fresh, hot green chilies, cut into halves
Roast the coriander, fenugreek, and peppercorns until lightly browned, then cool and grind finely. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan until it is moderately hot, then add the black mustard seeds, stir once, then add the cinnamon stick. Add the chicken in small, bite-sized pieces to the pan and stir until all pieces are coated with oil, and then continue to cook until the chicken is browned. Add the slivered onions and garlic and continue to cook over medium heat until the onions are almost translucent. Add the tomatoes and ginger and cook until the tomatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, combine the turmeric, cayenne pepper, and salt with the mixture of roasted spices and add it all to the pot, stirring to coat evenly. Remove the thick cream at the top of the can of coconut milk to a small bowl and set aside. Add the remaining coconut milk plus one can of water, and stir to mix. Add the lemon juice and chilies and stir. Simmer with the lid mostly covering the pot (with a little space for steam to escape) for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the halves of the green chilies. Turn off the heat, and then add the thick coconut cream removed from the can, stirring to mix evenly.

Serve with rice or Indian bread.

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