Monday, May 25, 2015

Curry Chicken

I was a child when my Nani (maternal grandmother) was diagnosed with Cancer. After that she was sick and tired and would mostly sleep. Even though she lived with us I always had limited 'Nani Time' because I'd meet her for a little while and then she'd want to lie down and sleep. My dear Nani was the master of all master chefs when she used to cook. I wasn't lucky enough to taste all of her cooking (or remember all of it because I was probably too young) but what I remember was mind blowing awesome. She used to make out of the world shakar and namak paaray (sweet and savory snacks) and her halwas (a desi dessert) were so delicious I'm surprised I didn't eat off my fingers. While she stayed with us Abbie debuted the kitchen with her cooking. She was fortunate enough (perks of being the eldest kid) to have Nani taste her cooking, approve of it, and compliment her for it. It was like receiving the expert's blessings. I was young and still didn't know how to cook so I missed the chance. When I began cooking Nani breathed her last and went back to God's place up there, without tasting or giving her verdict about my cooking.

Recently, when I cooked Curry Chicken and served it to my family for a delicious dinner I heard the blessed words, "This tastes just like Nani's curry used to!" Both Abbie and Mama had the same compliment for me ... no MOTHER OF ALL COMPLIMENTS, this one was! This recipe, therefore, is very special to me. Having cooked something that tasted even the slightest bit like Nani's food used to was as close to receiving her approval as it could possibly get. I was going to cook this one again and again!

This entry belongs to the Chicken and Meats label

  • Marination
    • Chicken - 1/2 kg You can either use boneless or bone pieces, I prefer with bones
    • Lemon Juice - 1/4 cup
    • Salt - Just a pinch (will be adjusted later)
    • Cracked Pepper - 1/2 tsp.
    • Curry Powder - 1/4 tsp.
  • For the Curry
    • Paste:
      • Onion - 1/2 large chopped
      • Garlic - 3 cloves
      • Ginger - 1 inch piece
      • Green Chilies - According to taste
    • Dry Spices:
      • Bay leaf - 2 dry leaves
      • Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
      • Whole Green Cardamom - 2 or 3 wholes
      • Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp.
    • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp.
    • Coriander Powder - 2 tsp. (or 1 tsp. if you prefer)
    • Tomatoes - 1 1/2 large chopped
    • Garam Masala - 1/2 to 1 tsp.
    • Salt - According to taste
    • Butter - 1 tbsp. (optional)
    • Cilantro - Chopped for garnish (optional)
Start off with the marination by adding the chicken pieces to a bowl and coating with the marinade (lemon juice, salt, pepper, and curry powder). Mix everything well and set aside.

Add the onions, ginger, garlic, and green chili to a blender, make a thick paste, and set aside. (I'd run out of whole ginger and garlic so the picture shows garlic and ginger powder)

Heat oil in a pan, add the dry spices to it. Stir around until they start sputtering and give off their aroma.

Add turmeric powder to the pan and give it a good stir. Then add the onion paste and let cook until reduced on medium heat. The water should evaporate and you should be left with a thick golden paste. Keep stirring occasionally while reducing the onion paste to avoid burning.

Next add the chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and add the coriander powder. Mix everything together and allow the tomatoes to cook through until they become soft and pulpy and resemble an almost smooth paste.

When you've reached a paste consistency, add the Garam Masala and the marinated chicken. Mix together and allow to cook. I prefer adding a little bit of water to ensure the chicken pieces cook well and through. Cook, stirring occasionally, until oil leaves the sides.

The chicken is now cooked and ready to make into a curry. Add water (little by little) according to how much curry you want (if you prefer a thicker and dense curry add little water, if you prefer a thinner and smooth curry add a little more). Let it cook a little until the curry becomes one and smooth. Once the desired curry consistency is reached check for salt and adjust as necessary. Add butter and cilantro (optional), cover with a lid, and remove from heat. Once the butter has melted uncover the curry, give it a stir to mix the butter evenly before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro if you prefer. 

Delicious and flavorful (and Nani-standard) Curry Chicken is ready to be served and enjoyed! Paired with boiled or lightly seasoned rice, naan, chapaati, roti, parathay ... the curry will be delicious no matter how its eaten!

Happy Cooking!


  1. Suzanne Lucero (@S_Lucero)May 26, 2015 at 5:02 AM

    Your step-by-step instructions and photographs are wonderful. And you say the result is Nani-standard? You can't get better than that. Can this recipe be doubled?

    1. Hey Suzanne!
      Thank you! I'm glad you like the instructions and photographs!
      You may double the recipe and it should be just as delicious. I'd suggest not doubling the salt, instead adjust in the end according to taste. Also, when you double the recipe adjust the spices according to your taste.

  2. Replies
    1. Kaitlin,
      It tasted spectacular too!! Thank you!


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