Wednesday, 5 October 2011

South Indian chicken curry

So here's a fact about me...I just cannot make a decent chicken curry. I mean one that you can whip up whenever you are stuck with some chicken and has no time to make anything fancy, one which you don't really need a recipe to follow and one which tastes great after that wee bit of effort. I have tried following umpteen recipes and procedures, but it just doesn't feel right. Of course, Ro thinks otherwise. He thinks I should just put the masalas and the chicken together in the pressure cooker and just make a curry. Although it is one of my easier methods (recipe here), it really doesn't taste awesome.

So the other day I made this 'authentic' chicken curry after a lot of trouble..and by trouble i mean dry roasting the spices, grinding, then marinating and cooking and the final outcome was just like any other boring chicken curry. I asked Ro how it was and he said 'tastes like usual' which was enough to trigger the emotions. I whined about how the chicken curries always taste so horrid and how I hate it when things don't work out fine, and of course my favourite, how I hate cooking altogether.
Ro's answer was to turn off 'Desperate Housewives' on the laptop and instead concentrate on the cooking procedure and everything would fall into place. Easy for him to say, this way at least while stirring the damn curry, I'd not be bored. So anyhoo, I also whined about it on FB and also to my mom who asked me to just follow the recipe given behind the chicken masala packets. Even Ria had mentioned the same and coincidentally, both of them mentioned the Eastern chicken masala brand. So on one of our recent visits to the Indian grocery store, I picked up one packet, and just 2 days back decided to try it out.

I must say its my favourite chicken curry so far. I mean taste wise its not out of this world or anything. But its damn easy to make and goes well with appams, rice, roti and even pulao. I have the habit of emptying the contents of the masala packets to glass containers (cos I personally hate those paper packs) and I was itching to do the same with this packet, but had to hold on till I wrote down the recipe. So pardon the horrid pictures (blaming the weather here) and the hurried post.

On a completely different note, I have started writing a food column for an expat magazine and I'm thrilled to say that the first edition is out. You can check it out here (Gorgeous Goa, pg. 18).
Chicken- 1 kg (skinned, cleaned and cut into medium size pieces- thigh, breast, legs, anything works)
Eastern chicken masala powder- 4 1/2 to 5 tbsp
Onion- 1 large, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
Ginger- 1 tbsp, peeled and roughly chopped
Garlic- 5 pods, roughly chopped
Green chillies- 2
Water- 2 cups
Slightly thick coconut milk- 1 cup
Potatoes- 2 medium, peeled and cut into cubes (optional)
Salt- to taste
Oil- 2 tbsp
Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Marinate the chicken with the masala powder and salt and keep aside for about 10 to 15 minutes or longer if you have the time.
Meanwhile grind together ginger, garlic and green chillies to a paste (it need not be really smooth). Keep aside.
When you are ready to cook, heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan and splutter mustard seeds.
Add half of the curry leaves and onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.
Once the onions start sweating and becomes translucent, add the ground paste.
Continue sautéing on medium heat till the raw smell disappears, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Tip in the marinated chicken and fry for a couple of minutes, just to char the exterior (this step is optional)
Add the cubed potatoes and 2 cups of water, give a proper stir and cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through. Keep stirring in between.
Then open the lid and add the coconut milk and remaining curry leaves.
Check for salt and continue cooking without the lid for about 10 more minutes.
Once the gravy has thickened a bit, take it off the flame and serve hot with some steamed rice or appams.
Notes: Next time I would use ginger and garlic paste instead of grinding them, as I feel its an extra step. So perhaps 1 tbsp each of ginger and garlic paste and the chilli I will slit and add along with it.
The curry is spicy, but not in an overpowering way, it was just right for us. I used mild green chillies and  perhaps that was the reason. If using hot chillies, adjust according to taste or omit altogether.
The original recipe called for just 3 cups of water, I substituted 1 cup with coconut milk
Once the curry cooled down, I froze it in an air tight container. You just need to thaw it and then heat it on the hob top when ready to use.
You can use more or less any meat/chicken masala the same way or replace with about a tbsp of coriander powder, a 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp pepper powder, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (these measurements are approximate, so don't count on it entirely).


Asha said...

That looks good... and all the best on your new venture..

Biny Anoop said...

wow dear love the curry,props and d...alls so well with this postserving bowl....umm somethg is missing..i know its appam...i love it

Rumana Rawat said...

That looks so delicious:)

julie said...

perfect combo with appams..lovely!! my favorite curry as well..

Tina said...

perfect chicken curry...gr8 combo with palappam...yummoooo

Priti said...

Absolute yum ...looks so nice

Suja said...

Delicious and flavorful chicken curry,absolutely yummy

Alpana said...

Looks so delicious........

the Junkie book said...

aye Eastern chicken curry masala veddy good!

i looked up the wasn loading. will read later and reach you. happy writing!

Nitha said...

I am a great fan of eastern chicken masala. We do not get that in our local Indian stores :(
I just sprinkle the masala at the end after I make the curry so that the aroma stays and gives you the feel :)

Priya said...

Slurp,fingerlicking chicken curry, love potatoes in chicken curry..

vineetha said...

That looks like a descent chicken curry :)

Poornima Nair said...

Looks delicious...would be great with appams!!

Anonymous said...

Chicken is one thing I can cook delicious even when I am dead tired. But when it comes to a simple veggie dish .. i suck at it. U have no clue how much effort I have put to make a simple veggie dish taste good and yet it sucks!
This looks delicious babe and congrats on the column.. wish it was online and I could read.

Prathima Rao said...

This chi curry looks fantastic Nisha!!! Reminds me of the popular homestyle curries served in my hometown..Glad you have finally mastered the curry dish!!
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

Sharmilee! :) said...

Wow yummy looking chciken curry, beautiful pictures

Bharathy said...

Looks perfect!
lovely browns to compliment! love the earthern jar and the chilly powder in the bg!creates a lovely overall effect..

now, I am ready to exchange 2 bowls of my dessert with that cup of droolworthy chicken curry..what say? ;)

The Cooking Doctor said...

I dont buy it that you dont make good curries, all your pics look absolutely gorgeous, and i think its a syndrom of perfectionism:P Love your article, well done, u got a flair for writing!

R said...

wow looks super delicious! good to know u r writing a food column. gud luc with the new assignment.

sanjeeta kk said...

Loved your Garlic focassia and the passion fruit drink! Beautiful clicks.
Lite Bite

Rachel said...

Saw the food column on culturama..beautifully written.

Plateful said...

How have you been sweets? Long time! Congrats on the publication. Hmm, never tried making the Eastern chicken curry recipe--will sure give it a go. I usually don't buy the ready made masalas. Btw, you on twitter?

Sushma Mallya said...

Lovely chicken curry ...looks so good perfect with rice:)

JishasKitchen said...

wow..thats one perfect and tempting chicken curry...I am sure, I can finish that whole bowl along with some hot chapatis....

Reflections said...

I have the same problem with chicken curry;-( I experiment with all chicken masalas. Have u tried Double Horse chicken masala...I find tht better really good.

@food column - great going:-))!!!!

Haley McAdams said...

Truly delicious! It reminds me of home. My mom always makes me chicken curry whenever I go home. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I'll definitely try this one out.

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