Last Friday night, I invented a curry-like dish. The plan had been for some sort of Italianate meal involving risotto, chicken, mushrooms and white wine, but since I had used up the mushrooms and white wine the night before, and had several packets of new and intriguing spices that had been waiting patiently since Christmas, I decided to see what I could come up with. Disclaimer: This is not how to make authentic Indian Curry and if that is what you are looking for, there are literally hundreds of other blogs that can give you great recipes. I would hate to think of some trusting type making a batch of this to serve yo prospective in-laws from Delhi. This is to curry as Egg Foo Young is to real Chinese food (I think) but it still tastes complex and rich and wonderful and can be adjusted to suit your family’s tastes and the contents of your kitchen. It also includes protein, starch and a vegetable, and if you add another fruit or vegetable you have a balanced meal. We had ours with sliced citrus on the side, which was a refreshing counterpoint to the heat (literal and figurative) of the curry.
“As You Like It” Curry
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I think you could also easily use firm tofu, shrimp, pork, or even portobello mushrooms)
- 4 shallots or 1 yellow onion, dices
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed or diced
- Garam Masala (or curry powder, although it will taste different)
- Red Pepper Flakes or Cayenne (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- About 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Milk or cream (optional)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- Start rice by placing 2 cups Basmati and 3 cups water in a pot that has a lid.
- Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat and add onions or shallots. Cook for about 4 minutes
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. If there’s any sign of browning garlic, reduce heat immediately.
- When rice comes to a boil, reduce heat and cover; set timer for 17 minutes.
- Add to pan about 2 tablespoons Garam Masala, 1 teaspoon salt, a pinch of hot pepper and a pinch of sugar, heat and stir for about 1 minute until you smell the spices
- Raise heat to medium-high and add chicken breasts.Cook, uncovered for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
- (If rice timer goes off during the making of the curry, simply turn it off and leave it covered. It won’t be long).
- Check largest breast at thickest point to be sure juices run clear and chicken is done. If it is, remove to cutting board. If not, turn and cook another 5 minutes and check again.
- When chicken is cooked through and removed to cutting board, add flour to pan and stir into pan juices, scraping up anything from the bottom of the pan. Cook at least 1-2 minutes to “toast” flour.
- Add chicken broth and continue to stir until mixture thickens. Taste and adjust flavorings; if you want more heat, add more red pepper, if you want deeper flavor add more Garam Masala and if its too sharp or bitter add a little more sugar. This is a very personal thing.
- When the flavor is “as you like it” add more water or cream or milk (I used milk to get a creamier sauce) until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon, but is not gelatinous or like a dip. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in peas.
- As the peas cook, slice chicken into strips about 1/4 inch wide. This will be messy since they will be coated with juice and spices, but try to retain as much of that as you can; its where the flavor is.
- Add chicken to curry and stir in. Check a pea for doneness, correct seasonings again if needed, and serve over Basmati.