Curry dishes have always frightened me for some reason. The strange spices and herbs, a fear of making them too spicy or not spicy enough, and the fact that they tend to involve a large number of ingredients.
This recipe from Food and Wine, however, seemed simple enough. As it turned out, I had to make some changes as I went along to it to get it to work, but it all worked out deliciously.
1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper—cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 pound tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 ear)
1/4 cup Greek-style plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup water
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
The recipe called for what seemed to be a lot of oil, so I used about 2 tablespoons, and that was fine. I used 6 bone-in chicken thighs, with the skin, and the skin may have added extra fat that was lost when I cut out the oil, so if you go with skinless, you might need more oil.
I skipped the corn and instead, added a very finely minced green bell pepper. My farm share brought peppers and not corn this week, and this seemed like a good place to use it. What this meant was, that the final dish was quite spicy. So, I had to add about a tablespoon or so of brown sugar into the dish towards the end as it was simmering.
Finally, 1/4 cup of yogurt is not a lot at all. I wanted a lot of sauce to pour over rice. So I used about 3/4 cup, and doubled the amount of curry.
The resulting dish was still very spicy, but very good. I recommend just adding the spices and sugar slowly, tasting as you go. Well, don’t taste too soon or you’ll find yourself with a nice bout of salmonella, but you know what I mean.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dust with flour, tapping off the excess. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over high heat, turning once, until lightly browned, 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add the ginger, garlic, chile and bell pepper to the skillet and cook over high heat until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, corn, yogurt and water; stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over very low heat until the chicken is tender and the juices are slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with cilantro and serve.
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