We've been experiencing some very cold weather here in Maine. Finding something warm and comforting for dinner is my mission. Some kind of curry dish will always satisfy me. I've chosen an Indian curry for tonight's dinner, an aromatic coconut curry with lots of spice. I had chicken legs and thighs in the freezer, but boneless chicken breast can also be used. I served this curried chicken dish with rice, onion parathas and mango lassie.
Ginger Garlic Paste
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
12 dried hot red chilies
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened dry coconut, reconstituted in a small bowl, barely covered with hot water. Let sit for an hour.
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground termeric
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2- 2 1/2 pounds chicken,bone in, cut in serving size pieces, or 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken cut into 2 inch pieces.
3 medium sized tomatoes, diced
6-7 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1. To make the ginger and garlic paste, add chopped ginger and garlic to a small food processor or a blender along with 3 tablespoons of water. Blend until a smooth paste is achieved. Remove from blender and set aside.
2. To make the spice powder, mix together in a clean coffee grinder, the dried red chilies, cumin, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and salt. Grind to a fine powder. Put the spice powder into a blender and add the coconut along with the water. Blend to a smooth paste. Set aside.
3. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. When hot, add sliced red onion. Stir and fry for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic and ginger paste. Stir once then add the turmeric and salt. Stir around a couple more times and add the chicken pieces. Stir and cook for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat until the chicken is lightly browned. Add the tomatoes to the chicken, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spice paste and cook for 3 more minutes. Lastly, add 2 1/2 cups of water, stir together and allow to come to a simmer. Turn the heat down and continue to simmer gently for about 30-40 minutes or until the sauce becomes thick and the chicken starts to pull away from the bone.
4. While the chicken is simmering, in a small skillet, using the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, saute the sliced shallots slowly over medium heat, stirring frequently until nicely browned. Spread on paper towels and set aside. When the chicken is done and your ready to serve, sprinkle the fried shallots over the chicken and Enjoy!