Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry 1
Here’s the recipe I promised I’d post to go with the curry powder recipe I posted last time. Once again, here it is holiday time, and unlike most other food blogs this time of year, I’m posting a recipe that doesn’t really have anything to do with the holidays. Or does it? It’s colorful, with lots of red and green– festive holiday colors! And this can be a healthier change of pace between the heavier, high fat holiday meals. Or for afterward, when New Year’s Resolutions kick in. Plus, a good, tasty curry every now and then will help get you through the long winter months to come.

This is a very healthy meal with its variety of vegetables, and even the curry powder may have health benefits. As for what oil to use, ghee is typically used in Indian cooking– it’s butter that’s been clarified by heating it and removing the milk solids. It’s supposed to be a little lower in saturated fat, therefore healthier than butter. But I just used regular butter, which I don’t think is really all that unhealthy used in reasonable amounts. Or you can use olive oil.

This can also be a pretty quick and easy meal to make. It’s not necessary to make your own curry powder, you can use store-bought curry powder and this curry will still be very good. And you don’t need to go through the process of browning the onions– it adds some depth and complexity to the flavor, but you can just cook the onions with the red and green pepper to save time. If you choose not to brown the onions use about half the onion this recipe calls for, because browning the onions really reduces their volume.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 3-4 medium to large onions
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 tablespoons low-fat unflavored yogurt
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2-3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (optional)
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Added red pepper to taste
  • Chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter, ghee or olive oil
  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice

Serves about 4

1.
Get the rice cooking according to its package directions so it’s ready by the time the curry is. Now get the primary ingredients cut up: dice up the onions, mince up the garlic and ginger, chop the red and green pepper into chunks and cut the chicken into around 1″ cubes:

Chicken Curry Ingredients
2.
Now we’ll brown up the onions. If you want to make a quicker version of this, you can skip this and go on to step 3, and cook the onions with the other vegetables. Heat up two of the tablespoons of butter, ghee or oil in a large pan and cook the diced onions on medium-high heat, constantly stirring, until the moisture starts to cook out of them and they turn brown. This will take about 20 minutes to a half hour. Careful to just brown the onions, not burn them. Here’s what they look like when they’re almost ready:

Browning Onions for Curry
3.
Brown the chicken on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of butter/ghee/oil. I used a separate pan so I could brown the onions at the same time in the other pan, but if you don’t brown the onions you can do all the cooking in one pan. No need to make sure the chicken is cooked completely through– it’ll finish cooking in the curry sauce.

Browning Chicken for Curry
4.
Once the chicken is browned, remove it and cook the peppers (and onions if you’re not browning them) until softened up, adding another tablespoon of butter/ghee/oil if needed. Add the minced garlic and ginger once the peppers have gotten a good head start.

Cooking Curry Vegetables
5.
Deglaze the pan– add a little chicken stock to the pan that the vegetables and chicken cooked in, and use a spoon to scrape up the browned stuff in the pan from the chicken. Do the same to the pan with the onions if you browned them. Combine the cooked vegetables in one pot with the rest of the chicken stock, chicken, can of diced tomatoes, spices and bay leaves. Simmer in an open pot for at least a half hour. Note: I added some garam masala as well because I had it on hand, but if you don’t have it you can just use a little more curry powder instead.

Simmering Chicken Curry
6.
When it’s done simmering, add the lime juice and mix in the yogurt. Add some red pepper if it’s not spicy enough for you. Serve over the rice. Add some fresh chopped cilantro as a garnish if you like. Enjoy!

Chicken Curry 2

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