Sweet and Lazy Chicken Curry

It’s rainy, we had a little snow, and my leather gloves are no longer warm enough on their own for my hands. I’ve also been battling a massive cough for weeks, pulling muscles in my ribs twice, ugh!! It’s time to knock out a curry, fast, and have something warm and yummy (food-wise) to snuggle up with for the next couple of days! Comfort is definitely needed here.

I love chucking this stuff into a container with some rice or naan before running out the door for work. This recipe turned out pretty sweet and mild, and is similar in theory to butter chicken, except that I haven’t pulverized the sauce and poured it back in with the chicken because I’m not up to cleaning a blender today. If you like being a firebreather, you can always add more hot curry powder, or also use chili pepper flakes. I didn’t put some in because my brother and I were cooking at his place last week and I likely forgot them there, because I can’t find them now. Pish!

By the way, if any curry purists see this and shake their heads, it’s okay. This is just how I like it. Sometimes it’s nice to have a lot of different flavours that don’t all come from the spices. There’s actually a high veggie content in this one, and most of it comes out of a can, which makes it easy peasy. I use a lot of canned tomatoes, actually, in pasta sauces, curries, salads, etc, and prefer to use the kinds that are just tomatoes and their juice, or tomatoes, their juice, and a little (very little) salt. Often, manufacturers will add preservatives because the tomatoes they use have low acid levels and need something extra to keep it safe for consumption after long periods of storage, like calcium chloride and citric acid. I guess it’s safe to eat, but I like to keep things simple as much as possible.

Sweet and Lazy Chicken Curry
serves 4 to 8 at one sitting, or one hungry and busy person for days

4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes)

1 large onion (finely chopped)

2 heads of garlic (finely chopped)

1 to 2 cups plain yogurt (2% or 3% works great. Get the natural type, without gelatin)

1  796 mL/28 fl oz can of diced tomatoes (juice squeezed out)

Spices: Cumin, turmeric, garam masala, cinnamon, hot curry powder (pick some favorites and make sure you have at least 2 tbsp of each on hand, for adjusting the taste)

2 tbsp solid coconut cream (if you can’t find it, use liquid coconut milk or cream)

Oil for browning (canola, corn, vegetable, sunflower…I don’t use more expensive, pretty-smelling oils like extra-virgin olive or sesame, they would affect the curry’s flavour)

Everybody in the pool? Uh-oh.

Heat the oil in a pan (preferably non-stick) and toss in the chicken, cooking until it's just a minute or two away from cooking fully. It's a good idea to do this in batches, because the meat will release a lot of liquid, as you can see in this photo (where I cooked it all at once). If that's the case, it won't sear and crunch up, it'll just boil. So this is an example of what you should NOT do.

Tanning for pasty birds.

Your goal is to get rid of the juice and cook the chicken almost fully, achieving some nice browning on the outside. Once you have that (and these pieces do not!), transfer the chicken to a clean plate.

Welcome to flavour country.

Add a little more oil to the pan, along with the garlic and onion. Stir every now and then, scraping up the brown bits left from the chicken.

When everything has turned a nice golden-brown, transfer it to that plate from earlier and let it sit on top of the meat. By the way, don't stop in the middle of making this and wander off to your friend's house and come back. Finish this curry, and heat it thoroughly before you kill someone. If you're going to your friend's house to kill them, that's your business, but don't blame me!

Drop a little more oil into the pan. Make sure it's over low to medium temperature, and add your spices. I used half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and about a tablespoon each of cumin, turmeric, and hot curry powder, but it's all up to you to choose which ones you want and how strong you want it. Stir them around for a little bit to wake them up with the heat...

This really made me want to take a mud bath.

They should form a smooth, glossy (and very smelly) paste that is the base of your curry. Be very careful not to burn this! Stir it around for a good 30 seconds to a minute. This is a great way to make sure that the spices are evenly mixed in and clump-free.

Primary colour wars.

Immediately add the chicken, onions and garlic, stirring and tossing them to coat everything in the curry paste. Turn the heat up to medium if it isn't already. Pour the drained can of tomatoes on top. Even though the juice was drained out, they will still let out a lot of juice, so don't worry about things drying up. Stir thoroughly.

It's like watching an ice cube in the sun.

Add the yogurt and coconut cream (or milk), stirring well. If you have the solid block form, it'll melt down, and how much yogurt you add depends on how thick or runny you prefer your curry. I probably added in about a cup and a half. Taste one last time to adjust seasoning. Is there anything you want more of, or forgot? I ended up adding more hot curry powder to mine. Make sure to stir really well after adding powders/ground spices to this to make sure there are no clumps. Let the pan (or pot) simmer until everything is heated through and fully cooked for about another 10 minutes. By the way, some curdling will occur. That's what happens when you add an acid (tomato juice) to a dairy product (yogurt) or heat a dairy product, but it's pretty minimal, and when you consider that you get to have tomato flavour, who cares? Curry looks pretty gloppy all the time anyway.

Curry in a hurry.

Serve however you like curry. I had some rice kicking around, was too hungry to figure out some elaborate plating, and devoured everything after taking this photo.

Other ideas/Notes: You can also use finely chopped/grated ginger in this, added in at the same time as the onions and garlic. I don’t cook with it often enough, and when I have it in the house, it doesn’t get used. Sheesh. This can also be done with beef and lamb, but they would bet really great in it if thinly sliced, or if this were done in a slow-cooker so that chunks would be fall-apart soft. For a veggie option, you can use cauliflower, parboiled potato quarters, paneer cheese or tofu with this same recipe.

I’m happy with how this turned out (and so is The Stomach). Curry is supposed to taste better the next day, after the flavours have had a chance to meld together, so hooray, any improvement upon this is definitely welcome, especially if you don’t have to lift another finger.

Ooof, I need to lie down.

Eat well!


This entry was posted in Asian, Gluten-free, Healthy, Meat, Poultry & Seafood, Soups & Stews, Vegetarian and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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