When it comes to simple everyday meals, I find it hard to succumb myself to the traditional Indian daily routine of Dal–Sabzi, translated, simply meaning a lentil and vegetable preparation. My idea of a simple Indian lunch would mainly consist of a quick Chicken Curry and a side of rice and a salad.
Often, when I talk to people on the topic of curries, the most common concern I get confronted with is the amount of time, and not to mention the effort that comes with it. I for one, beg to differ. For me, curry is nothing but a smooth blend of flavours brought together to highlight a star ingredient. True, you can spend hours toasting, pounding, and grinding spices to form the smoothest of pastes; you can spend days marinating and chopping to achieve the most delicate blend possible, and you can also lose yourself in a cloud of spices and herbs that would fill your kitchen and your home with an aroma almost so ambrosial, you would think you woke up in a foreign land. But then again, you could do what I do on days when all I have at my disposal are a few measly minutes at the brink of lunch-time with a rumbling tummy to cater to.
As I see it, curries are not something one should be afraid of. Neither are they something to look at with such cynicism or vengeance. A simple chicken curry can be easily tamed to suit one’s tastes and preferences. I like mine to be quick and robust with flavour, and I don’t stop till I find my way with it.
DAHIWALI CHICKEN CURRY (CHICKEN SIMMERED IN A CREAMY YOGURT GRAVY)
- 2 tbsp light cooking oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3-4 green cardamom pods bruised
- 3-4 whole cloves
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1-2 green chillies finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/4 turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt beaten till smooth
- 2 large boneless chicken breasts diced into 1-inch cubes
- a handful fresh coriander leaves chopped for garnish
- Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan and add in cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves. Once they begin to sizzle, add in onions and green chillies, and fry for 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat till onions turn pink and tender. Add in ginger and garlic pastes and saute for another minute or two till fragrant.
- Add in red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala, and fry for a minute. Mix in chopped tomatoes and salt, and cook for a few minutes till tomatoes pulp and releases oil around the sides of the pan. Slowly stir in beaten yogurt forming a smooth gravy base.
- Add chicken pieces, water if necessary, and allow to cook covered for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat till done. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves and serve piping hot with a side of rotis or rice, and a salad.
If you liked this recipe, you will surely like my Homestyle Chicken Curry.
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