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….

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