Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Coconut Milk Chicken Curry

I. Love. Curry. 
Indian, Thai, Japanese or Chinese Curry, doesn't matter...I love them all!  I really like the subtle sweetness that is imparted from the coconut milk into curry.  This curry is fresh, aromatic and the ginger will awaken your senses.  I get compliments every time I make this for our dinner gatherings. This pairs beautifully with Basmati rice or Jasmine rice.  If you are fortunate enough to find lemongrass in your local market, put it in!  I have a note below regarding lemongrass. Sadly, I couldn't find any at our local market this time around.  A wonderful side note: it's dairy free and gluten free for all our gluten free/dairy free readers :)

Let's get started...

Clean your chicken, trim fat and cut into thirds or fourths. I'm making for a big crowd and my chicken weighed in at a little under 5 lbs.

Use about 2 tbsp or so of onion powder. It gives it a lovely smell and a nice depth of flavor.

Add salt, curry powder, turmeric, 1 lime

Oh...and the garlic ginger paste (or use equal parts minced garlic and grated ginger -see recipe below)
Combine well and let marinate overnight for best results or at least for 1 hour in the fridge.

Heat up your olive oil on MED HIGH heat and begin the saute

Brown both sides. The center will NOT be cooked. The chicken will finish cooking in the sauce later.

Your gorgeous browned chicken. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

Dice onion and jalapeno

And add the onion and jalapeno into the same pot. There will some brown residue but don't worry, that's flavor!  Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt or so and reduce heat to MED LOW and you will see the bottom of the pot begin to deglaze (ie, the crusty crud will "melt")

Add the coconut milk

Add the chicken broth, salt, garlic ginger paste and curry powder

Grate your ginger. The left side has been grated with a grater and the right side has been through a food processor.  I like the left side, the manual grated method (even though it's more laborious), because the fibers are more broken down and more of the juices come out.

Add the grated ginger and whisk away.

Add the lime. A little acid is needed to counter balance everything. I like lime because it complements curry so well.

Dice your potatoes

Add potatoes

Add the chicken along with its juices to the pot

I had baby carrots on hand so I decided to use those. Use what you like. I typically use red peppers.

Makes a FULL 8 Qt pot!

Mix in 1 bunch of Cilantro leaves (no stems) and serve with Basmati rice if desired.

Coconut Milk Chicken Curry

6-7 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, fat trimmed cut in thirds or fourths (approx 5 lbs)
Chicken Marinade:
2 tsp mild Curry powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp garlic-ginger paste (or 1 tbsp chopped garlic + 1 tbsp grated ginger)
2 limes

For the Curry sauce:
3 13oz Cans Coconut Milk
1 1/2 - 2 Cups Chicken broth
2 tsp Salt
2 Jalapenos or Serrano Peppers (seeded and diced)
2 Onions (yellow or white) diced
1/2 Cup Grated Ginger
1-2 limes
4-5 tbsp mild Curry Powder
2-3 tsp garlic-ginger paste
2 Red Bell Peppers or 1 1/2 C baby carrots or any veggie of your choice
7-8 Red potatoes - or whatever your pot fits!
1 bunch Cilantro (leaves removed from stems)
3 stalks lemongrass if you can find it...see note below*

To prepare the chicken for the marinade:
Wash your chicken under cold running water. I usually rub it with salt and lemon to freshen the chicken and it assists in getting the "slime" off.  Cut the chicken into thirds or fourths depending on how big your pieces are.  Combine all the ingredients of the marinade and let it marinate overnight if possible for best flavor.  Otherwise, one hour in the fridge will do.

When you are ready to cook your chicken, heat up your 8 Qt pot with some olive oil on MED HIGH heat. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.  The chicken will NO WHERE be done when both sides are browned but it will finish cooking in the sauce later.  You will have to brown the chicken in batches.  Set the chicken on the side in a bowl once it all has been browned.

While your chicken is set aside, we can work on the the sauce.  Reduce the heat to MED LOW and using the same pot and the same "residue" left behind from the chicken, put the onions and jalapenos and sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of salt so the onions and jalapenos can release their moisture. As their moisture is being released, you will notice the bottom of the pot beginning to deglaze. Once the pot has been deglazed, ie, all the crusty crud has dissipated, add the coconut milk, chicken broth, ginger, salt, garlic-ginger paste and curry powder (and lemongrass if you have it -see note below).  Let it simmer for a min or two and add the lime according to your taste.  I used 1 1/2 limes.  Then add chicken and potatoes back into the pot.  Let it simmer on a low heat until the potatoes are cooked through. Half way through the process (about 15 min), test the potatoes.  If the potatoes are still not quite cooked, this would be a good time to add the baby carrots. They don't take long to cook. The chicken will cook faster the potatoes -trust me.  The curry is done once the potatoes are cooked.  If you are using red peppers then add them once everything is cooked and leave it on a low heat for about 10 min.  You don't want them mushy but you still want them with a little bite.  Add the cilantro leaves once you are ready to serve.  Serve with basmati rice and pita or naan bread.  This tastes much better the next day!

*Note on lemongrass:
I love lemongrass! I couldn't find it at our local market so I couldn't put it in.  To use lemongrass, chop off the ends and with the back of the knife or even with a rolling pin, bang it! This is called bruising and it will bring out the essence and the juices of the lemongrass which will then get imparted into the sauce.

Ginger-Garlic Paste:
1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into a size that is similar to the garlic cloves
1/4 cup canola oil

Cut the ginger in pieces  that are similar in size to the garlic cloves.  Measure 1/2 Cup each of the garlic and the ginger. Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste. Save what you don't use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.