Sunday, April 27, 2008

Curry that Cures

I have always loved eating Indian food, and it is only the past couple of years that I have tried my hand at making it. Indian food, at the base, is not that separated from Arab food - there is a strong reliance on lots of onions and garlic; vegetables are often the centerpiece; and the food often cooks for long periods of time to get that perfect flavor - the only difference is in spicing and style.

This curry has been in the making for a while now - I have made it several times, with only a few minor variations the other times. The only reason why I did not post this recipe earlier was because I kept forgetting to measure how much of each spice I used. Now you can thank me when you are lying around in a state of delirious happiness that can only appropriately be called, "food coma."

3 tbs butter
3 tbs light olive oil
2 medium sized onions (any kind)
4 garlic cloves
4 tbs "curry" mixture (recipe follows)
2-3 bay leaves
7 chicken drumsticks
1 lb frozen peas
1 jalapeño (or any pepper)
3 cups water
1 cup milk (any kind, I used 1%)
Sea Salt
Fresh ground Black pepper
2 tsp PATAK Hot Curry Paste, Tomato and Cumin flavor (optional)

Utensils: large/extra-large saucepan; wooden spoon; cutting board; chef's knife; measuring cups and spoons

Prep work:
1) Chop the onions and set aside. 2) Crush the garlic with the side of your knife, pull off its skin, then mince. 3) Slice jalapeños in half, lengthwise, and slice into half-moons. If you do not want the curry to be too spicy, remove the seeds and the ribs with your knife. Remember to not touch your eyes with your hands after handling peppers! 4) Remove the skin from the chicken drumsticks and set aside.

Cooking instructions:
Heat the pan over medium high heat for a couple of minutes. When it gets hot, add the oil and butter; once the butter fully melts and starts to crackle, toss in the onions. Stir occasionally for a few minutes, adding one or two pinches of salt. Stir in the garlic, and after one minutes, add your spice mixture, bay leaves, optional Patak paste, and black pepper to the pan.* If the spice mixture seems to be sticking to the pan too much, add enough water (from the 3 cups) to coat the bottom. Allow this to come to a simmer, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Then, add the rest of the water to the pan, and let it come to a simmer. Gently drop in the chicken, one by one so you don't splash yourself with hot water. Turn the chicken every 5 minutes or so, and during this time add in the milk. Leave this over medium heat for about 30 minutes to reduce and thicken. Add in your frozen peas, stir, and let cook until the curry reduces further, about 20 minutes. The curry is done once it has reduced by about half and has a thick sauce.

Serve with freshly made basmati rice and/or naan bread.

*If you add the jalapeños now, the spiciness will only increase during the cooking time. If you add them later, the curry will be less spicy.

Recipe for Curry Spice Mixture:
3 tbs Cumin
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs coriander
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs oregano
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Add all spices, mix thoroughly to combine. Makes about 6 tbs.

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