Chettinad Chicken Curry
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 Tbsp vegetable oil, preferably canola or olive (not extra-virgin)
2 bay leaves
4 cardamom pods
2 medium onions
2 Tbsp ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp green chilli peppers
1 Tbsp crushed dried red chilli pepper
1 Tbsp whole green peppercorns
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
3/4 cup coconut cream
2 Tbsp coriander (cilantro) leaves for garnish
Peel and chop onions in small dice. Peel and finely chop ginger. Peel and mince garlic. Chop tomatoes coarsely. Chop green chillies (~6) fine. Crush coriander seeds and green peppercorns separately. If substituting fresh fenugreek leaves for dried, use 2 Tbsp. and mince. Fenugreek leaves can be purchased at most Indian or Asian grocery stores. Finely chop about 1.5 Tbsp coriander leaves, reserving the remainder for garnish.
Remove any fat and silver skin or tendons from chicken thighs, and cut in quarters.
Heat oil high till shimmering in a large saucepan or skillet. Add bay leaves and cardamom pods, stir ~ 1 min., add onions, lower heat to med., stir till soft and golden. Add half the ginger and all the garlic, stir till fragrant, ~3 mins. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer ~10 min to make a thick sauce.
Add chicken, stir, cook at med heat ~15 min till no longer pink, stirring. Add remaining ginger, green chilli, red chilli, coriander seeds, stir to mix thoroughly. Add coconut milk, stir ~1 min, add fenugreek leaves and green peppercorns, stir, simmer ~5 min till done. Add salt, stir to mix, test for taste and doneness.
Serve garnished with coriander.
Cook's notes: Don't use Roma, Italian, or paste tomatoes, they're too thick to make a good sauce. If necessary, use canned chopped or diced tomatoes. If using tomato sauce, use approximately 1 cup (8 fluid oz).
Use Indian chillies or Fresnos. If using jalapenos, you might want to substitute more.
Cook till sauce clings to chicken. This should not be a liquid dish.
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