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Recipe #17: Keep On Cookin' -- Southern-Spiced Lahori Chicken Curry

Posted Aug 26 2007 12:00am

Well, I actually thought I was going to get out of the kitchen tonight in a half hour, after making the mangalore shrimp (which was referenced in my previous post of earlier this evening). (Yeah, right. This is me we're talking about here!) Turns out, I was on a roll. I was having so much fun that I just kept slicing & dicing, & making more dishes.

After making the mangalore shrimp marinade, I decided that, what the heck, I might as well prepare another dish (note I used the singular & not the plural form here!) for the following night's dinner. So that little cooking excursion actually turned into three dishes -- one main dish ("Southern-Spiced Lahori Chicken Curry" also from Indian Home Cooking), a green chutney (again from the same cookbook), & my lemon cilantro ginger dressing (for tomorrow night's salad). Well, atleast the next two nights will be really easy prep & cleanup. All I'll have to do is fry up dinner in a pan & wash the pan & a few dishes, & that's it. Yea!

Here are the recipes for the additional dishes (excepting the lemon cilantro ginger salad dressing, which was from a previous post & can be found here )

Southern-Spiced Lahori Chicken Curry

(Recipe source: Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes , by Suvir Saran & Stephanie Lyness.)

Yield: Serves 4. (Note: I used chicken filets & quartered this recipe, as 1 pound of chicken is enough for two people. The recommended serving of protein per person for dinner is about 4 oz., or roughly half a pound. Visually, this is the size of a single "deck of cards," as the typical clichéd dietary expression goes. I also serve greens with the meal, and fruit for dessert, which helps round out the meal, nutritionally-speaking. Vegetables & fruit contain carbohydrates & fiber as well as sugar, so I try to avoid over-starching the meal & not adding too many additional carbs.)

4-pound chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces & skinned
1 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp canola oil (NOTE: I substitute olive oil, which is much healthier.)
20 fresh or 30 frozen curry leaves, torn into pieces
15 black peppercorns
9 whole cloves
6 green cardamom pods
3 whole dried red chilies
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 1/2 medium onions, roughly diced
5 garlic cloves
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & cut in half crosswise
1 fresh hot green chile, finely minced
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (NOTE: This can be found in frozen shredded form in an Indian/Asian/Latin American market.)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup plain yoghurt, whisked under smooth
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1 lemon


Combine the chicken, black pepper, 1/2 tsp of the turmeric, 1/2 tsp of the cayenne, & 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl & stir to coat the chicken with the spices. Let stand while you make the sauce.

Combine 2 Tbsp of the oil, the curry leaves, black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, red chiles, bay leaves, mustard seeds, & fenugreek seeds in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the mustard seeds begin to crackle (mustard seeds may pop or splatter, so use a mesh pan covering if possible), 1-2 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, green chile, & 1 tsp sale & cook, stirring, until the onions brown around the edges, 10-15 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves & stir in the remaining 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp cayenne, & the coconut. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes & tomato paste & cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or blender & purée until smooth; set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken & cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the yoghurt 1 Tbsp at a time & stir well after each addition. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes, to evaporate some of the moisture.

Add the puréed tomato mixture & bring to a boil. Stir in the water. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat & simmer, partialy covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Stir every 5-8 minutes & scrape the bottom of hte pan to keep the sauce from sticking. Then uncover & cook 5 more minutes to reduce & thicken. Stir in the cilantro & lemon juice. Taste for salt & serve hot.



Green Chutney

(Recipe source: Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes , by Suvir Saran & Stephanie Lyness.)

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

NOTE: You can also add chopped green mango if you can find it, which gives the chutney a sour taste. You can also adjust the number of chilis you use, or amounts of mint or cilantro, depending on your own particular taste. I'd recommend trying the original version of the recipe first, and then if you can experiment with the amounts of the aforementioned ingredients, using the original recipe as a template/reference point.

1 1/2 cups firmly packed chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
2 or 3 hot green chilis, stemmed
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & cut into chunks
1/2 red onion, quartered
Juice of 2 lemons
1 T. sugar (NOTE: I omit the sugar, as the recipe really doesn't need it & it's healthier without it)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender & process to a purée. (This won't blend easily, so you'll need to stop & start the blender -- just use the "pulse" option -- & stir the ingredients often to get the mixture to catch. You can add a bit more water to facilitate the process, but the flavor of the chutney will be milder. Also the consistency will not be the same. Refrigerate & eat within 4-5 days.

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