Saturday, January 24, 2015

Coconut Curry Chicken


I freely admit that I kinda feel like a phony making Indian food. I am about the furthest you can get from Indian. In fact, here is a picture of my family of origin:


More or less. My dad's family is primarily from Switzerland and my mom's side is primarily from Germany, and the family trees actually converge if you go far enough back. As in, my parents are fourth cousins. Seriously. (No, I don't have any genetic abnormalities....that I'm willing to divulge publicly.) Once stateside, my forebears settled in central Illinois and I ended up being raised here in the eastern suburbs of Phoenix. So about the closest I've ever come to India is half-heartedly watching Ghandi on Netflix while working on a cross-stitch sampler. Even so, I very much enjoy Indian food. A good chicken tikka masala can bring me to a When Harry Met Sally diner scene level of enjoyment. So I should really find a solid recipe for that. But in the meantime, let me share with you this fantastic coconut curry chicken. 

As someone with very little experience with Indian cooking, this recipe makes me feel like a pro...or at least like someone who could tell you that the capitol of India is Mumbai not Mumbai, but rather New Delhi. Or maybe like someone who can pronounce the word "ghee" without sounding like a redneck about to make a romantic advance. With relatively few, non-ethnic grocery store ingredients, the chicken in this dish turns out tender and the stewed sauce of tomatoes and coconut milk amalgamates into a velvety spiced tomato gravy. While it takes some time to reach this apex of deliciousness, the recipe really isn't labor-intensive and the result is worth the wait. I must warn you, though, that it will make your house smell like curry for 24 hours after cooking it, so if you're, say, throwing a Cinco de Mayo party or something the next day, just be advised. Otherwise, you're in the clear to enjoy both the taste and the fragrance of this simple-but-terrific Indian meal. 

Coconut Curry Chicken
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" chunks
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. light coconut milk
14 oz. petite diced tomatoes
8 oz. tomato sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp. white sugar

Directions:

1. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil and curry powder over medium-low heat. Stir and cook 3 minutes, then increase heat to medium-high and add onion and garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add chicken, tossing to coat with oil and curry, and cook 7-10 minutes or until the pieces are no longer pink in the center. 

3. Add coconut milk, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar, stirring to combine. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens to your liking.

Serve over rice.

Serves 4.

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