I’m not lying when I say this, but my house smells like curry right now. Not garbage or rotting food or bacon or cookies, which are common off−campus house odors, but we’re currently experiencing a touch of South Asia over at The Quiet Haus.
Guilty as charged: I made a chicken curry at the end of last week, and though it’s kind of crazy that it still smells like this, no one really seems to be complaining.
I’ve been on a curry kick lately, almost constantly craving the spicy, saucy, yellow−orange goodness. I guess this “kick” actually started back in the fall of 2010 when, while studying abroad, I spent a weekend visiting my buddy Sasha in London — which happens to be the European home of Indian and South Asian fare. We ended up at this place called Masala Zone on my first night there, and I tried curry for the first time. One word: AMAZING. Admittedly, it most likely wasn’t what I’d find in Bombay or Calcutta, but it left me yearning for more.
Until recently, though, for some reason I was afraid to go out on a limb and try to make a curry myself. I was becoming obsessed with chicken curry, but — and excuse the lame pun — I was too chicken to experiment.
I finally took a stab at it during Lent, and instead of meat, I found a recipe for a potato−based curry to make for my boyfriend one weekend when I was home. It was his first time having curry, and he said it was good, but honestly, I think he was just being nice — or unintentionally ignorant and unaware of what a great curry’s like. I thought it was nasty, and I sent him home with the unwanted leftovers. Where did I go wrong? Do potatoes and curry not mix? (Seriously, do they? I’m still learning, a novice in the curry world.) Did I add too much spice — which my stomach disapproves of? Needless to say, I was afraid to try again.
But then I stumbled upon coconut milk in the supermarket, and now that I can eat meat again, I was determined to give curry another try but using a different recipe that asked for chicken instead of vegetables.
Behold this recipe I found for “curried coconut chicken,” which fortunately turned out so good that I was tempted to go back for thirds, and having it for lunch afterward was an awesome treat. It might not exactly be what you’d find in India or even England for that matter, but it’s a good stateside substitute, preparing you for the heat of summer. Ingredients: 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts — cut into bite−sized pieces 3 tbsp. olive oil 1 tbsp. curry powder 1/4 of a medium−sized onion, diced 1 tsp. minced garlic 1/2 a can of coconut milk 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes 1/2 a can of tomato sauce — to get in some vegetables, Hunt’s “Chunky Vegetable” sauce works well 4 1/2 tsp. sugar Salt and pepper to season the chicken
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
In a medium−sized frying pan on a medium heat setting, heat the oil. Once hot, add the curry powder, onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
Then, add the chicken, tossing to coat with the curry−powder−and−onion mixture. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.
Finally, pour in the coconut milk, tomato sauce, tomatoes and sugar, stirring well. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes. Serve over rice.
This curry is definitely a keeper: not only the perfect starting point for more advanced curries, but one I’ll make time and time again.