Chicken and vegetable curry

This is usually what I end up making when I feel like making chicken curry. I add plenty of vegetables too – whatever is in season. If I can find them, I add cashew nuts too. Again, a nice big pot is awesome. And oh – it gets better the next day. I like eating this with either some freshly made naan, or rotis, or tandoori rotis, but it goes well with rice too.

You will also need a large pot that can withstand a lot of heat and can be covered.

Here are ingredients for oh, about 6-7 people:

What goes in the marinade:

  • A little over a 1 lb of chicken, say 1 1/4 lb (washed, chopped into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 box of plain yogurt – the 32 oz one (I usually get the fat free one, you can experiment with yogurt with fat content too)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon or equivalent of ginger paste
  • 1 heaped teaspoon or equivalent of garlic paste
  • Vegetable cooking oil

The other main bits:

  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes
  • 2 medium bell peppers
  • 2 medium yellow squashes/zucchini
  • A handful of cashew nuts (a pretty optional ingredient, but when I do add it, I prefer unsalted)
  • 2 medium (yellow) onions. The red ones tend to be smaller, so if prefer those, get 3-4.

The spices:

  • 2 heaped teaspoons dessicated coconut powder (usually found at Indian stores, but this is optional)
  • Salt to taste, about 1-1 1/4 teaspoons should be good
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder or cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander powder
  • 3/4 -1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chilly powder (to taste)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Keep sugar handy 🙂

Now remember, the bell peppers and squashes were the veggies I found when I was making this recipe last, but you can add other vegetables too, or in place of them. Peas and potatoes are popular choices. I don’t usually add them – I am getting enough carbs from the rotis/naan and enough protein from the chicken and yogurt. So the veggies – what and how much, is your choice. As mentioned above, cashew nuts and the dessicated coconut powder are optional but I like them. Cashew nuts add a nice crunchy supplement. The dessicated coconut powder is flaky and soaks up the curry/sauce and adds nice texture to the dish, and also is slightly sweet, helping enhance the other flavors in the dish.

Ok, so let’s get to work:

The chicken in the yoghurt marinade

  1. Chop up the chicken, sprinkle about 1-2 teaspoons of cooking oil over the chopped pieces. Add the garlic, ginger and dump the yogurt over all of this and mix it all up thoroughly.
  2. Put the whole thing in a box, close it and put it in the refrigerator for at least one and a half hours. Two hours is preferable.
  3. Prepare the other stuff: chop the  onions and saute them in some olive oil until translucent. If you are using cumin seeds, add those with the onions and saute them until they pop. For this recipe, I prefer using cumin powder though – mostly because I don’t want the slightly bitter crackly seeds in the sauce.
  4. The vegetables getting sauteed. Chop squashes, bell peppers and saute these as well.
  5. Chop the tomatoes, add to the sauteed mix. You can add the juice of the tomatoes in as well. Mix it all well and lower heat.
  6. Add some boiling water to a small bowl and let the cashews sit in that. This will soften them, getting them ready to absorb the spices.
  7. Cooking it all together!When the chicken has marinated, add the whole thing, yogurt and all to the sauteed mix of onions, tomatoes, vegetables. Mix it all up thoroughly and bring back to high heat.
  8. Drain the cashews add them to the mix.
  9. Add all the spices and mix thoroughly. Do not yet mix the sugar or coconut powder.
  10. Cook on heat heat till there are big bubbles, then cover and keep cooking on high heat for another 5- 10 minutes, returning occasionally to stir.
  11. Add the coconut powder and mix thoroughly.
  12. Uncover, cook on low to medium heat for a few more minutes. Taste to see if the chicken’s cooked through and also – of the spices have ‘gone/through’ the chicken well.  When this is done, that’s when you can stop the heat.
  13. Taste the dish a bit – if you feel the spices aren’t vibrant enough, add a bit of sugar. That should help. The obvious things I am sure I don’t need to mention – say the lack of salt et al!
  14. All done! Shown served with Tandoori rotisServe with some sort of Indian leavened bread – my favorite is Tandoori roti these days and/or rice.

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