I had avoided making Indian dishes in the past because they just never taste like the real thing. Adding a little curry powder to chicken and vegetables isn’t the same as mixing your own spices, toasting them and then simmering them with meat and herbs.
Then I found this great book in the discount section of Barnes & Noble: The Best Ever Indian Cookbook (375 recipes, all with color photographs depicting each cooking step). It’s like the Cook’s Illustrated for Indian cooking!
I recently made this delicious dish that is complex with spices, but not too peppery, and makes plenty for four adults. If you want more heat, I would add red pepper flakes. It is strongly flavored, but what else would you expect?
Chicken in Cashew Nut Sauce (adapted by Write Gal)
2 medium onions
2 T tomato paste
1/2 c. cashew nuts (unsalted, if you can find it)
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala (in the spice aisle)
1 tsp crushed fresh garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1 T plain yogurt
2 T canola oil
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. golden raisins
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1 1/4 c. water
Long-grain or Basmati rice
Cut the onions into quarters and pulverize in the food processor for 1 min. Add the next nine ingredients, through yogurt, and process until smooth, like a pesto.
In a dutch oven or other heavy pan, heat the oil over medium and add the spice mixture, frying for 2 min. When it’s lightly cooked, add half of the cilantro, raisins and chicken. Stir-fry another minute. Add the water, bring to a simmer and cover. Cook over low heat for 10 min., or until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is thickened. The chicken will be tender and perfect.
Meanwhile, as your house fills with those amazing aromas, make the rice according to package instructions. I also heated some naan bread in the oven at 400 with olive oil, salt, cumin and paprika.
To serve, spoon rice, then add the curry and top with more cilantro and sliced naan.
According to the book, each portion has less than 300 calories and very little fat. Not bad for a filling, savory meal!
I will definitely be making this again, as Jesse helped himself to two huge portions (brain food). I get that craving for curry now and again – and when you live in certain regions, it’s best to make your own ethnic foods. 🙂
Enjoy, friends! xoxo