During the holidays, I opened my mailbox to the most incredible smell. My very first friend in the blogosphere, Sonal of Simply Vegetarian 777, had sent me several packets of homemade spice blends. What a friend! Amazing. ❤
I used some of her wonderful Curry Masala in this delicious comfort food dish. (Much more to come though- I also have Chai Mix and Kadhai Melange!) 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Made in India: Recipes From an Indian Family Kitchen by Meera Sodha, via Sam Sifton of the New York Times. I modified the preparation and increased the amount of garlic and chicken thighs. We ate it with warm naan, brown Basmati rice, and steamed spinach. I loved the slivered almonds added at the end of cooking. Great!
Yield: Serves 6
- 2 T unsalted butter or ghee
- 1 T neutral oil, like canola
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cinnamon sticks, approximately 2 inches long
- 2 large white or yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 2 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or minced
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 green cayenne or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into half-moons
- coarse salt, to taste
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons puréed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 tablespoons whole-milk yogurt, plus 1 cup to serve with the meal (I used 2 percent Greek yogurt)
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks (10 thighs)
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 1 teaspoon garam or curry masala
- Pinch ground cayenne pepper, or to taste.
- Melt the butter or ghee in the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, and when it is hot and shimmering, add the cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks. Cook for a minute or two, stirring often, to intensify their flavors, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the ginger, garlic and peppers into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt, and smash them together into a coarse paste. (You can also do this on a cutting board, with a knife.)
- Add the paste to the onions, and cook for 2 minutes or so, then pour in the tomatoes, and stir.
- Allow to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then add the tomato paste, ground cumin, ground turmeric and another pinch of salt, and stir to combine.
- Add the yogurt slowly to the mixture, using a wooden spoon to whisk it into the sauce. It may be quite thick.
- When it begins to bubble, add the chicken. Lower the heat, put the lid on the Dutch oven and allow the curry to cook gently for 30 minutes or so, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Add the almonds and the masala, along with a pinch of cayenne, and cook for 5 minutes more or so.
- Serve with basmati rice and/or naan, and the additional yogurt.
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