I love Indian food, but I don’t cook it very often. It’s easy to make mistakes with ethnic foods, because of the many “variations” that, in the name of “simplifying” or “adapting” the dish to an  American palate, wind up doing more harm than good. Indian food is prone to this kind of abuse.  Search for “chicken curry” and you’ll find all sorts of recipes:  some might have you add a little curry powder to pieces of sauteed chicken breasts, and call it a day!

When I want to “go ethnic” I search the advice of experts.  In the case of Indian food, I like Madhur Jaffrey, as well as excellent food blogs like Monsoon Spice , Sailu’s Food, or Lisa’s Kitchen.

I’ve made this recipe from Jaffrey’s cookbook many times.  It’ s light, not too spicy, and joins two of my favorite ingredients: ginger and lemon.


(adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe)
(para receita em portugues, siga ate’ o final do texto, na proxima pagina)

1 piece of ginger root, 2 inches long, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water

2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, skinless
2/3 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
7 ounces fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 serrano pepper, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs lemon juice

Place the ginger root and 1/4 cup water in the bowl of a food processor, and blend until it forms a paste.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat, and brown the chicken pieces on both sides. Remove the pieces to a bowl as they get ready.
Add the garlic to the oil, as soon as the pieces start to get some color turn down the heat to medium and add the ginger paste (now, take a deep breath and enjoy the amazing smell coming from the pan!). Cook for a minute or so, and add the fresh cilantro, serrano pepper, cayenne, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and salt. Stir everything well and cook for a minute.

Put back the chicken pieces and any liquid that accumulated in the bowl. Add 2/3 cup water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, cover the pan, turn the heat down to low, and cook for 25 minutes.

Turn the chicken pieces over, cover again and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, until tender. If the sauce is too thin, then uncover the pan and cook it down.

Serve over rice, with a veggie side dish of your preference.


More comments and photos after the jump….

General comments: the original recipe calls for skinless chicken breasts. If you want to use them, reduce the cooking time. I much prefer bone-in chicken thighs.  Unfortunately, I could only find boneless  this time, so that’s what I used. The cooking time was reduced just slightly.

Also, the original recipe called for jalapeno pepper, but I had a very special pepper available, that came from our garden… a nice, ripe, red serrano… How could I resist it? In the composite photo, you can see the prep work, serrano pepper, mixture of spices, and the ginger paste that is the basis of the curry, imparting huge flavor.

compositecurry1This curry tastes even better next day, so for weeknights I like to make it the evening before, and keep it in the fridge. When it’s time for dinner, all I need to do is cook some Basmati rice, and a vegetable side dish.





1 pedaco de gengibre, 2,5 cm, cortado em pedacos
1/4 xicara de agua

1 kg sobrecoxas de frango, sem pele
2/3 xicara de agua
2 dentes de alho picados
3/4 xicara de cilantro picado
1/2 pimenta vermelha de sua preferencia, picada
1/4 colher de cha de pimenta caiena moida
2 colheres de cha de cominho moido
1 colher de cha de semente de coentro moida
1/2 colher de cha de curcuma
1 colher de cha’ de sal
2 colheres de sopa de suco de limao amarelo

Coloque o gengibre e 1/4 de xicara de agua em um processador e processe ate’ que forme uma pasta.

Aqueca o oleo em uma frigideira e doure os pedacos de frango em ambos os lados, transferindo para uma tigela a medida que fiquem prontos. Adicione o alho, e assim que comecar a adquirir uma coloracao dorada, reduza o fogo e adicione a pasta de gengibre. Cozinhe por um minuto e adicione o coentro fresco  e todos os outros temperos.  Misture bem e cozinhe por um minuto.

Coloque os pedacos de frango de volta a panela, juntando o liquido que se formou na tigela. Adicione os 2/3 de xicara de agua restantes e o suco de limao. Aqueca ate’ o ponto de fervura, tampe a panela, reduza o fogo e cozinhe por 25 minutos.

Vire os pedacos de frango, tampe a panela novamente, e cozinhe por 15 a 20 minutos mais, ate’ que o frango fique bem macio. Se o molho estiver liquido demais, abra a panela e cozinhe ate’ que reduza suficientemente.

Sirva com arroz branco e um acompanhamento de sua preferencia.

Bom Apetite!


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