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  • North Indian Chicken Curry

    TOOLS: You’ll need a food processor; a large and a small mixing bowl; a whisk; a fork; a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan with a lid; tongs; and a large plate.
    VEGANIZE IT! You’ll find the vegan version of this recipe here.

    This is like no other chicken curry you’ve ever had. It’s at once thick, rich, and utterly comforting. The yogurt adds just the right amount of tartness balanced with the spices. Make extra for leftovers. Your family will thank you. It’s my husband’s top pick in this section, and a huge crowd pleaser when I conduct my cooking classes at our Lincoln Park Whole Foods in Chicago.

    • 1 medium yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 (4-inch / 10-cm) piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 2 cups /470 mL plain, unsweetened yogurt (whole, lowfat, or nonfat)
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch salt, divided
    • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
    • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
    • 1 tablespoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 2 teaspoons roasted cumin, ground
    • ⅓ cup /10 g kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor
    • 4 pounds /1.81 g skinless whole bone-in chicken, cut into 8–10 pieces (including cutting each breast in ½), or 2 pounds / 910 g boneless chicken
    • 6 tablespoons /90 mL ghee or vegetable oil, divided
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 2 (3-inch / 8-cm) sticks cinnamon
    • 5 whole cloves
    • 5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
    • 2 black cardamom pods
    • 1 large yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
    • 3 large tomatoes, diced
    • 2–4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
    • 2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
    • Brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan, for serving
    1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the chopped onion, the ginger, and the garlic into a smooth paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the yogurt, the 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the salt, the turmeric, the Garam Masala, the red chile powder, the coriander, the cumin, and the kasoori methi. Whisk until well blended. Kasoori methi can be found in Indian grocery stores. Omit if you cannot find it. Do not use fresh leaves or fenugreek seeds, as they will alter the taste.
    2. Prepare the chicken by poking holes in it with a fork to help it absorb the yogurt marinade. Carefully add the pieces of chicken to the large mixing bowl and gently stir until all the pieces are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
    3. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm 3 tablespoons / 45 mL of the ghee. Using tongs, carefully transfer the pieces of chicken to the sauté pan, reserving the marinade for later use. Cook, turning once to ensure even cooking, for a total of 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, and transfer the remaining liquid in the pan to a small mixing bowl for later use.
    4. Return the sauté pan to medium–high heat and warm the remaining 3 tablespoons / 45 mL of ghee. Add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and green and black cardamom and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sliced onion and the remaining pinch of salt and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the pan to prevent burning, for 3 minutes, until the onion is slightly browned.
    5. Add the tomatoes to the sauté pan and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally (breaking down the tomatoes with the back of the spoon), for 11 minutes, until they are fairly smooth. Add the reserved marinade and cooking liquid from Step 3 and the fresh chiles to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes.
    6. Reduce the heat to medium–low and slowly, carefully return the chicken to the sauté pan. Partially cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking, for 35 to 40 minutes (20 minutes if using boneless chicken), until the chicken is cooked through. Be sure not to overcook the chicken. Remove from the heat.
    7. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with the brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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