March 21, 2006

Chicken Curry with Cashews

One of the great things about Bloomington, Indiana (I never thought I'd start a post like that...) is its great ethnic restaurants. It's also one of the most surprising things about Bloomington! I have no idea how or why this happened, but you can find excellent Thai, Indian, Moroccan, even Ethiopian restaurants there. I really miss Indian food here in Paris, and I have fond memories of eating at Shanti and Bombay House in the land of the Hoosiers. Chicken Tikka Masala, tender basmati rice with chewy garlic naan to soak up all that sauce! My mouth is watering.

Sure, there are tons of Indian restaurants here, but I haven't found a great one. I guess my real excuse is that I'd rather eat authentic French or other European cuisine while I'm here than eat Indian food that's been watered down for French palates. Most Mexican or Tex-Mex food here is also pathetically bland. (Except for my beloved Anahuacalli!) The salsa you find here is like sweet tomato pulp mixed with a few onions and peppers. Yuck!

But back to the recipe at hand. To say that the following curry is in any way authentic would be completely irresponsible of me since I have no idea, but given my horrible luck at recreating restaurant style curries, this one is amazing. So, it shouldn't come to you as a surprise that my husband made it, not me! Unfortunately, there isn't a picture, except that we used the leftovers to make the most delicious Curried Chicken Sandwiches the next day!

Seriously, this curry is worth making and skipping the take-out from Shanti. I'm definitely making this again soon. You can also check out this post for more on Indian food in Paris and a great Butter Chicken recipe, which I have yet to try, but it sounds great!

Chicken Curry with Cashews
(an Epicurious recipe)

3 Tbsp. butter
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
3 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. salt
1/2 - 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup (or more) fresh cilantro (coriander), chopped
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
4 large chicken breasts, cut into 2 in. pieces (about 1-1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

Heat butter in a large pan. Saute onions, garlic and ginger until softened. Add curry powder, cumin, salt and cayenne. (We used 1/2 tsp cayenne and thought it could've been hotter.) Cook 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add chicken and stir to coat with the spices. Add tomatoes with their juice and half the cilantro. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. When chicken is cooked through, this dish can be refrigerated several days. Reheat on the stove before the next step.

Just before serving: using a food processor, finely grind the cashews and add them to the chicken. (We don't have one of those here in our small Parisian kitchen, so we put the nuts in a ziploc bag and smashed the hell out of them with a heavy skillet. It won't get them very finely ground, but it works.) Stir in the yogurt and remaining cilantro. Stir over low heat until slightly thickened. Serve over basmati rice. Serves 4.

I know that many of you out there are thinking that this looks way too simple to be any good. A good curry has to be complex and call for all sorts of ingredients we'd never have in our pantry. Well, like I said, I'm sure there are more authentic recipes out there, but this one delivers as far as flavor is concerned. I was skeptical, too, but try it and you too shall be enlightened...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog! I love it! The pics are especially wonderful!