Thursday, February 27, 2014

Many Paths to Curry

Cold and dreary, February weary
Every day needs a zest in its own way.
Saint Patrick's Day in March, Mardi Gras a week away
Spicy food, save my day

I don't usually enjoy curry, Thai or Indian. Coconut milk I seldom befriend.
My stomach and Ghee don't agree and as a rule Indian is heavy.
The British, they do curry! The Irish do too!
A Curry of Chicken and Lentils, Veggies and possibilities.

Tailor each walk to your own taste, I say.

This Chicken Curry is not at all necessarily meat-containing. The Lentils can be boosted, supplemented, or omitted. Add Beef, Tofu, Chick Peas, or nothing! More veggies? If you can find a way; Roots for peppers, rite away! The beauty of a spicy one-pot dish is its flexibility, important when hiking the path from Southern Asia to Ireland, in time for a green holiday, and on to small-town-large-university America. For a student strapped for time, Studying, sleeping some, working, and walking - always - Hearty meals are a chance to escape.

Homemade yogurt, snack to stew...
Irish-ish Stewed Chicken Curry

  • 1 pound Chicken Thighs, trimmed and rough-cut
  • 1/2 cup lentils, cooked al dente
  • 1 large carrot, quartered and sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, quartered and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks sliced or the greens and tops of 1 celery bunch, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered and sliced in large pieces
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp fresh or jarred garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Stock (or in the spirit, Guinness!)
  • 1/2 can minced tomatoes
  • 1 small fresh tomato, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (maybe homemade?)
  • 1 tbsp Garam masala
  • 1 tbsp your favorite Curry powder
    • I would prefer to use whole toasted seeds and spices, but alas I find myself overwhelmed with curry powders.
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste
Begin by heating oil, garlic, pepper, salt, and a dash of curry in a stock pot or Dutch Oven until hot. quickly sear the chicken on both sides (or the many sides of many small pieces) to brown. Deglaze with stock (or other liquid) and reduce heat to medium. Add Tomatoes and vegetables, mix and let simmer for a moment. 
In the meantime... get those lentils boiling (perhaps chickpeas drained and washed if you prefer?) and boil until firm but done. When cooked to satisfaction, drain and quickly rinse in cold water to remove any starch and halt cooking.
Add the yogurt to the vegetables and chicken, stirring to combine until a somewhat thicker consistency is visible. This is not the thickest of classic curries, so don't fret if it appears somewhat sub-Thai in consistency. Add Lentils and Spices to this completed mixture and combine. You may add more Curry if necessary - spice is nice, nice like this curry on rice?
Combining all ingredients now, simmer over low heat covered for five minutes, heating the oven to 350F. Remove the pot to the oven to bake for 30 minutes covered and an additional 30-40 uncovered.
Served atop steamed greens, Udon, Rice, Naan - the discoveries of your journeys. I happened across a recipe to bake my rice!
I might try a thicker curry, add a dash of Coconut milk. Next up: Thai curry perhaps? But not before March 17th I dare say.

Lesson learned? A pot of curry can be remade to many-a-meal. Spice is nice on a cup of rice, with an egg, in a pasty? Fresh, leftover, with tired legs, on my feet and remade more tasty.

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