At last, chicken curry I can trust.

[20 Apr 2007 | By | 10 Comments]


Get in line, huh? Who isn’t making curry? Who doesn’t have a curry dish that they love and make time and again? [Uncomfortable silence]… me? I have been determined to find a curry that will keep my palate happy. Not amused, befuddled or bored, but genuinely satisfied. Like every bite was worthwhile and “I am so glad there is some left for lunch tomorrow satisfied.” The weeknight version of curry that in its ease to make—yet depth of flavor— can still cut it as a proud dish in front of guests.

This curry fixation has been the bane of my existence. Yes, I am being picky. There are many curry dishes out there that are absolutely adequate. They do the job, offer a bit of variety and leave you wondering: what was it I had for dinner again? Yes, they made that sort of [non] impression. I even turned to my usual kitchen friends: Barefoot Contessa, Nigella and Jamie Oliver. All decent curries, and great for wrapping my mind around classic Indian spices and what ‘usual ingredients’ go into curry. (What’s For Lunch offers a helpful overview of curries).

I even have pretty pictures of those curries that I made, not that you would see them (hey, if I am not going to make them again/see them again, why should you?). And you wonder why I don’t post every day? I am busy making and remaking curry (I mean, you can only have curry so many times before you need to ‘just step away from the pan’): to finally deliver a sentilating concoction to my palate, this blog and your table.

My latest was to ask a friend, who loves cooking, whose father loves cooking. He emailed the family curry recipe (one that has evolved and changed over the years, and in a family with piles upon piles of good cooks, I figured their unified tweaking probably lands this curry in the finish zone). Besides, we aren’t sure if I am a good curry tweaker anyway.

What I loved about this curry? EASY to make, and you start with just chicken and can add/or not whatever veggies slide your way (which is great for picky kiddos):

Chicken Curry
Chicken tenders
Olive oil
2 T Pataks Curry Paste
3/4 cup vermouth
1 T curry powder
1 small jar major gray chutney (this makes it a little spicy)
2 T sour cream

Sautee chicken, mix in paste. Remove chicken; deglaze with vermouth or chicken broth, simmer 10 minutes. Add chicken, 1 T curry powder, chutney and simmer. Off heat and stir in 2 T sour cream.

Optional add-ons: garlic, potatoes, coconut milk, green beans, salt and pepper, cilantro.

My tweak: Trader Joe’s has this frozen bag of organic green vegetables called Greens with Envy (edamame, spinach, asparagus tips, peas, green beans, broccoli) that I defrost with lukewarm water in a strainer, then add to the curry in the last few minutes just enough to warm them. I love all the green in there, it adds such a nice color and freshness. Or green beans on the side is great, especially if your kids need them ‘separated.’ No worries if you don’t have Trader Joe’s (whimper, sniff): last I checked, most grocers carry greens!

Important note: can you say default dinner? Oh yeah!


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  • Amelita said (21 April 2007 at 10:04 am):

    Great to see Europeans enjoy not only eating curries but also cooking them. There are countless methods of preparing them and such a variety of spices we use. We normally do not add sour cream, but yoghurt if required……..the Northies do , but we Southies prefer to use fresh coconut milk. Will post one of my favourite chicken curries when I have more time at the net. Happy cooking all of you

  • Kristen said (22 April 2007 at 8:26 pm):

    I am always looking for a great curry too. Don’t you think it is usually better the next day? I love having leftovers after a meal like this. Looks great!

  • Erika said (23 April 2007 at 12:16 pm):

    Mmmm. Curry. I have been craving Indian flavors for weeks now. I really have to do something about it.

  • Kate said (24 April 2007 at 8:06 am):

    I love curry too, and I make something curry like at least once a week. I have a no fail curry recipe on my site if you want to expand and try out something else. It’s a bit involved but it makes an awesome rocknroll curry dish!

  • janelle said (26 April 2007 at 10:14 am):

    Amelita: I love coconut milk, please post a curry recipe I would LOVE to try it!

    Kristen: not all foods can boast greatness the next day, but thank god for pasta and curries that can!

    Erika: I am trying to make more curries too, let me know what recipe you land on!?

    Kate: YES, I am going to go check out your curry recipe right now…

  • Amelita said (28 April 2007 at 7:41 am):

    You can use any combination of vegetables and meat, chicken or even fish for this recipe. My family and friends love this particular curry. Hope you like it too. I can’t really give you exact measurements and anyway you may not be able to stomach the amount of spices we use. So, here goes……

    * Heat a heavy bottomed steel vessel..(a saucepan with a tight fitting lid will do nicely)

    * Add about 3 or 4 table spoons of oil.

    * when the oil is hot, lower heat and add about a tsp of fennel seed powder

    * Add 2 onions, a one inch piece of ginger and about 4 or 5 cloves og garlic ……all ground to a paste.

    * When the mixture changes colour and begins to brown lightly, add 1/4 tsp tumeric, 1/2- 1 tsp chilli powder, the same amount of cummin powder and 3 times the amount of corriander powder, and 1 tsp of garam masala.

    * Allow the ‘masala’ to fry well adding more oil if required. (the extra oil can be drained off later)

    * The masala will stick to the bottom and you will need to sprinkle water now and then to loosen it.

    * Add 2 ground tomatoes or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and a little salt and continue frying.

    * when the masala has fried enough, it will begin to leave the sides of the vessel as you stir.

    * Pour in 1 1/2 to 2 cups of thin coconut milk (we call it the 2nd milk)

    * stir well till you get a smooth consistency and add meat or chicken and allow to cook for about 8 to 10 mins (we usually cook the meat…beef or mutton…. earlier with onions and spices)

    * then add chopped vegetables….potatos, carrots, beans, cauliflower, swedes actually anything you like!!!!! Taste and add a little more salt.

    * Now add the thick coconut milk……..or the first milk ……. and switch off the flame before the curry comes to a boil.


    To make the coconut milk.

    Grind 1 grated fresh coconut with a little water..warm if needed……. and strain through a sieve or a muslin cloth. Squeeze out as much as you can. This milk is the first milk.

    Put the squeezed out coconut back into the grinder and add enough water to grind again. The milk you get now is the second milk.

    Happy cooking Janelle!!

  • Brenna said (30 October 2007 at 9:36 pm):

    Good stuff! Jean-David and I tried the curry chicken and it turned out great. I think with a little more practice it’ll get even better. One question from a novice in the kitchen: what was I supposed to do with the butter?


  • janelle said (30 October 2007 at 9:46 pm):

    Brenna: oops! Sorry, didn’t write that did I? I sautee the chicken in the olive oil and butter combined… so nice to meet you!

  • Terry McNichols said (13 February 2009 at 10:28 am):

    Janelle: On my computer, this shows as A3/4 vermouth. Love your recipes. Please advise. Terry

  • janelle said (15 February 2009 at 11:38 pm):

    Terry! So great to hear from you! yep, when I changed over the blog (the blog remodel), a few quirky things happened… this is a good example! 3/4 cup is what it means! Let me know what you think of the recipe!