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Chicken with Indian Spices and Yogurt

chicken-with-indian-spices

There is nothing quite like Indian food to make the house smell like heaven. My kind of heaven, anyway. Tonight I made “Chicken with Indian Spices” from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, along with some Basmati rice and Indian-spiced acorn squash.  I will confess that I was put off by the fact the yogurt essentially curdled during cooking, and the sauce looked pretty awful when it was done; I put it in the blender to smooth it out, and it was much pleasanter to look at. I also found that the bone-in chicken pieces (particularly the white meant) were still a bit on the chewy side, possibly because of their size. They were also difficult to eat – I didn’t want to eat the skin, and needed to get the meat off the bone, and in the process of meeting those goals I lost a lot of precious sauce. (The sauce was GREAT, and i would eat it by the spoonful). Next time,  I think I’ll use cubes of boneless thigh or breast meat in place of the whole, bone-in chicken parts, and shorten the cooking time accordingly.

I invented the squash preparation. I have no idea whether squash is part of the cuisine of any part of India (and I am too tired to Google it at the moment) but it went beautifully with the rice and chicken.

Chicken with Indian Spices and Yogurt

(From Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything)

4 Tablespoons peanut, canola or other oil

About 1 cup flour for dredging

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 whole (3-4 pound chicken, cut up (legs cut in two) trimmed of excess fat, then rinsed and patted dry (or 3-4 pounds cubed boneless skinless breasts or thighs)

2 medium onions, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups plain yogurt

Minced cilantro leaves for garnish (I had these, but forgot about them)

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet, Dutch oven, or casserole. Put flour on a plate or in a shallow bowl and season it with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot (a pinch of flour will sizzle) dredge the chicken pieces in the flour and shake off any excess, (If using cubed chicken, you can easily do this in a zip-top plastic bag). Add chicken to oil, and brown on all sides. Regulate the heat so that the oil bubbles but is not so hot that it will burn the chicken. (you can skip this browning step if you like, and go directly to cooking the onions).
  2. When the chicken is nicely browned, remove it from the skillet and pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of oil. Turn heat to medium, and add thge onion along with some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until they soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and spices along with an additional 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook with the onions, stirring, until vert aromatic, about 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in thge yogurt, then add the chicken pieces. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, turning the pieces every 5 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. (If you use cubed chicken, stir every five minutes and start checking for done-ness at around 15 minutes).
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Garnish and serve. (If you find that your sauce has curdled, puree it to smootheness using a stand or immersion blender)

Squash with Indian Flair

1 acorn squash

2-3 Tablespoons butter

1-2 Tablespoons Garam Masala

  1. Cut squash in half and microwave about 10 minutes, or until flesh is tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Cool squash and scoop out of shell, into medium saucepan.
  3. Add butter and Garam Masala to squash and mix with a fork until no large lumps remain. Heat over medium heat until butter melts and all ingredients are well combined. If you like, you may puree this before serving,

About imagineannie

I am a 40-something Midwestern wife, mother and lawyer with a passion for cooking, reading about food, eating food...you get the picture.

7 responses »

  1. Ann,

    Cubed thigh meat sounds like the ticket. You didnt say anything about breathing fire, so we’re assuming its an Indian-American kinda dish.

    And the sumptuous post-theater feast ?

    Reply
  2. be still my heart! and now that you’ve got me good and hungry, i’m off to the kitchen for a bagel or something to hold me over!

    Reply
  3. Robert, thighs would definitely be moister and more flavorful. Cheaper, too! I actually added HUGE quantities of cayenne, because we like it like that, but made as the recipe reads it’s pretty American. Watch for the post-theater feast writeup; it’s coming.

    jayedee, the dish was nice, but the sauce was the amazing part. I really would eat just that sauce and rice for a meal and be satisfied. A bagel sounds good, too, though…why don’t I have any bagels?

    Reply
  4. This looks really good. I just got the new edition of How to Cook Everything. I am going to have to make this soon. I also have a package of chicken thighs in the freezer from Otto’s…hmmm…dinner this week for sure…probably when Blaine is out of town as this is definitely an Amy meal and NOT a Blaine meal.

    Reply
  5. Amy, I envy you the new Bittman book, I am making my Christmas list (we’re a little late this year) and I am torn between Mark and the newest Ina Garten. I just made this again with thighs in smaller pieces, which I definitely preferred. I am still stumped by the sauce, though; it is just, as a matter of food science, going to separate, and it’s too hard to separate the chicken from the sauce and puree the sauce if you use little pieces of chicken. Maybe it’s because I use Greek yogurt?

    Reply
  6. What is there poop on a plate?

    (P.S. This picture comes up when you look up “yogurt curdle” on Google images.)

    Reply

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