I thought I had my simple curry recipe down just as pat as anything (although strangely enough it appears I haven’t made it yet this year) – turns out I don’t. This one is even better, and doesn’t even call for coconut milk, which is crazy high in saturated fat.
B has been trying to get me to make the chicken curry from Vij’s (one of Vancouver’s best restaurants – Indian fusion on south Granville) for weeks – he even found it online at North American Patriot (who in turn got it from the Globe and Mail) and printed off a copy for me, which has since then been sitting on my desk and now has random telephone numbers and notes scribbled around and in between the text. Every time I see him he gets so excited at the prospect of my trying it, that I don’t want to disappoint him yet again when I see him on Tuesday.
Also, we got in late last night and haven’t brought ourselves to go pick up any groceries, but I did have skinless chicken thighs in the freezer and that container of sour cream I bought before we left with the intention of making this. All that was missing was the fresh tomatoes, but some drained canned diced tomatoes stood in perfectly.
Here is the recipe – I have not messed with it. I will say though that I used about half as much oil and light sour cream instead of the regular stuff – a bit of a gamble, since lower-fat dairy products tend to separate with cooking, but it held together perfectly.
And when I went out to the garden to pluck some cilantro I found it had gone to seed in our absence, and when I reached in to yank out a weed growing up through the middle I extracted the whole lot of cilantro, so I salvaged maybe a tablespoon, far less than the requested half cup, and dispensed a bit of it over each bowl. It was still fantastic.
The 2 cups of water seemed like a lot, but wasn’t; I simmered it down a bit while the thighs cooled, since we were too hungry to let it sit for a half hour. I suspect it will improve in flavour overnight – next time I’ll treat it like chili and make it one day for the next, since it needs to cool down enough to shred the meat off the bones anyway. Not only will a little time in the fridge improve the flavours – I’m sure it would thicken the sauce as well, so that when you reheat it it’s a perfect consistency. Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow.
Vij Family’s Chicken Curry
What you need:
½ cup canola oil
2 cups finely chopped onions (2 large)
3-inch stick of cinnamon
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 cups chopped tomatoes (2 large)
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 pounds chicken thighs, bone in
1 cup sour cream, stirred
2 cups water
½ cup chopped cilantro (including stems)
What you do:
In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat for one minute. Add onions and cinnamon, and sauté for five to eight minutes, until onions are golden. Add garlic and sauté for four more minutes. Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne. Cook this masala for five minutes, until the oil separates.
Remove and discard skin from the chicken thighs. Wash thighs and add to the masala. Stir well. Cook chicken thighs for 10 minutes, until the chicken looks cooked on the outside. Add sour cream and water and stir well. Increase the heat to medium-high. When curry starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring two or three times, until chicken is completely cooked. Poke the thighs with a knife. If the meat is still pink, cook for five more minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Cool curry for at least half an hour.
Transfer cooked chicken to a mixing bowl. Wearing latex gloves, peel chicken meat off the bones. Discard bones and stir chicken back into the curry. Just before serving, heat curry on medium heat until it starts to boil lightly. Stir in cilantro.
Divide curry evenly among six bowls. Serves 6.