We had another Aarti Party last night with this fabulous chicken curry from the new Food Network star. Thankfully they've had the good sense to renew her show for another year because she's yet to disappoint with her recipes. Unfortunately I haven't been able to watch her yet - my timing's all bad but hopefully we can catch her in reruns.
Quite honestly not like any other curry I can think of, this sauce or masala as Aarti calls it is loaded with fresh flavors and no wonder. The cornerstone of the dish is fresh cilantro and mint - lots of mint. Good thing too because my herb garden is finally going south because of the excess heat we've had and all the coddling in the world isn't going to bring it back this time. The recipe made good use of a ton of mint that's going to seed.
By the way, for those of you who think cilantro tastes like soap, give this a try anyway OK? If you like the taste of cumin, you're honestly not going to be able to pick the cilantro flavor out of the mix but on the other hand it's really essential to the dish. It is a very mild curry with a lot of flavor and no heat so don't be afraid it's going to scorch your tastebuds.
Along with the fresh herbs you'll find red onion, lots of garlic, fresh ginger and of course cumin, coriander, garam masala and turmeric. You can serve it on rice but we had some garlic Naan with ours, courtesy of Trader Joe's.
I love this dish and as I said to you know who last night, I could eat it 7 days a week and twice on Sundays. He said he'd miss the "beef", but he liked it too just not enough to give up his carnivore ways. I will make a couple of adjustments the next time I make it, though. Hey you know me - nothing's ever perfect!
- I have this thing about browning meat and/or poultry that's going to be braised and because I followed Aarti's recipe almost to the letter last night, I didn't dredge the chicken in flour and brown it first. It's likely not traditional, but I'll make sure not to miss that step next time because I'd be happier with the texture and added flavor;
- Make sure you cook and stir the masala into the chicken for the full five minutes before adding the water. I didn't and I should have because I was on the phone and trying to cook at the same time. I know I should be able to do two things at once...but;
- I added cayenne and more ginger because we like it, but next time I'll boost up the heat quotient with some serrano peppers. As I mentioned before, this is a very mild green curry with lots of spice but no heat. I kinda' missed the kick a little.
Give it a try people. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
Green Chicken Curry (Adapted from Aarti Sequeria)
1-1/2 cups cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1-1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup water
Combine ingredients except for water in bowl of food processor and chop well using the steel blade. When mixture is very finely chopped, add a quarter cup of water with the motor running and continue to blend until mixture is a thick paste. Set aside
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1-3/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, rinsed, dried and cut in half
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon malt vinegar
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots and cook until they are golden brown. Add spices and cook stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add masala paste and cook, stirring often for 4 to 5 minutes, or until color has deepened. Add chicken pieces to the pot and stir to well to coat chicken with sauce. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes until sauce has cooked onto the chicken. Add water and vinegar, bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened (about 25 to 30 minutes). Remove pan from heat and stir in yogurt or alternatively serve in bowls and garnish with yogurt. Serve over rice or with warm naan. Makes 4 servings