Monday, 2 July 2012

Recipe - Chicken Madras with Chickpeas and Fresh Cilantro

It's been another hot July day here in Toronto and I thought what better way to cool off the exterior than with a warm curry. I threw together my version of Chicken Madras. Madras is a tomato-based curry that can be prepared vegetarian or with meat. It includes some of your basic curry spices but the tomatoes add such a savoury richness that really brings out the warmth of the spices. Though Madras is a city in India, Madras curry is an Indian-inspired invention of British restaurants. This recipe is not very spicy for my taste (though I do have a taste for spice). If you're not much of a spicy person, then you can try to cut down on the chili flakes and powder, but it won't be as good. I wouldn't lie to you. Not only is this recipe easy, the whole thing is prepared in just one saucepan.



Ingredients

4 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 large white onion, chopped
1 800 ml can of chopped tomatoes
1 540 ml can of chickpeas
1 150 ml can of tomato paste (garlic variety if available)
150 ml of water
1 2-inch thumb of ginger, peeled and finely grated
The juice of 1 lime
Salt (to taste)
2 tsp of garam masala
Fresh Cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
4 Kafir lime leaves (dried)
3 tbsp of ghee or cooking oil

Spice Mix:
1 tsp of chili flakes
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp of chili powder
2 cardamom pods (crushed slightly with the back of a spoon)
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf (dried)

Method

Melt the ghee in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the chicken and stir for about five minutes or until the chicken is evenly and lightly golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the onion to the remaining fat and sautée for about five minutes. Once they have sweat through and start to show some colour, add all of the spice mix ingredients and stir. Allow this to cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ginger, tomato paste, canned tomatoes and stir to combine. Allow the sauce to simmer so it can reduce and thicken up for about ten minutes over medium heat. Add 150 ml of water, the chicken, and the chickpeas. Give that a good stir and cover with a lid. Leave the curry to simmer for ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove the lid. Add the garam masala, lime leaves, lime juice, and a little salt. Mix well and leave uncovered to simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Once complete, taste for seasoning and remove the leaves and cardamom. Give the curry one last stir and serve with fresh cilantro on top as a garnish.

This meal goes great with Basmati rice, roti, chapati, or naan.

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