Ok, we didn’t actually go to India, but our sweet Indian friend Shweta, helped us feel like we were there for an afternoon! Do you LOVE Indian food, but are too scared to make it? For years I have really enjoyed Indian food, but have been way too intimadeted by all of the spices! Do y’all remember when Aarti Sequiera won The Next Food Network Star? I was so excited because I thought surely her Indian recipes would be more user friendly. Sadly, she is so sweet, but her recipes seem very complicated!
Fast forward to today. Christa and I have lots of nice friends (Pamela, Tiffany, Shweta) who know how to cook Indian food or who have relatives who know how to cook Indian food. All of them have offered to help us learn (we have made it known that we would love to learn how to make an authentic Indian dish). A few weeks ago our friend Shweta said, “Come over for lunch and I will teach you how to make an authentic Indian dish”. This was such a generous offer because she has two small children and works full time.
We showed up (she insisted we didn’t have to bring anything) excited to learn. She had everything set out and went through all of the steps. I took notes and we both asked a ton of questions. Shweta was the BEST teacher!!!! She made everything seem easy and non-intimidating. She made us several versions of a chicken curry dish.
The good news is that YOU CAN MAKE THIS DISH!!! I immediately left and headed to an Indian grocery store (and regular store) to buy the ingredients. My mission was to make a chicken curry dish that tasted as good as hers (or pretty close).
Here is the deal. The recipe below seems intimidating. Trust me, I have broken it down into easy steps, you can make it! If I were to try this recipe for the first time, I would buy the ingredients and make a date night out of it. Buy a bottle of wine, put out the ingredients, and have a fun night making an authentic Indian dish. When I tried the recipe out I made it a family night and my kids helped out. They had a blast and ate all of it!!!
99% of the items can be purchased at a grocery store. The only items I think you would need to pick up at an Indian store would be the tandoori barbecue masala, garam masala, and the curry masala for meat.
Shweta’s Awesome Indian Chicken Curry Dish
*** Shweta made a few versions of this dish. The one I made incorporated several of these ingredients into one tasty dish.
2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast (chopped into one inch cubes)
2 cups plain yogurt (you can used light or Greek)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 green bell pepper
4 garlic cloves
1 large red onion
small piece of fresh ginger
oil (canola, vegetable, etc)
8 oz can of tomato sauce
6 cashew nuts
cilantro (to garnish)
3/4 cup milk (preferably whole, but you can use others)
2 bay leaves
1 stick of cinnamon
1 teaspoon tandoori barbecue masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp curry masala for meat
cumin seeds (optional for rice)
*** Do not let the number of ingredients intimidate you!!!! Most people have several of the spices and other ingredients.
Step 1: Gather all of your ingredients
Step 2: Cube the chicken and then make the sauce to marinate
*** to make sauce: combine 1 cup yogurt, lemon juice, and tandoori barbecue masala in a bowl. Pour over chicken. Put to the side for a couple of minutes.
Step 3: Make the paste for the curry sauce
cut the red onion into a few large chunks, peel the ginger, and peel the garlic. Place in a food processor (like a magic bullet or a nija). Add a tiny bit of water and then puree. It will be thick. Put this to the side for a couple of minutes.
Step 4: Cut up green pepper into small chunks and put to the side.
Step 5: Place the 6 almonds, 6 cashew nuts and a little bit of water in a bowl. Microwave for 40 seconds. Take the mixture and put it in a food processor (magic bullet, ninja) and puree. Put this to the side.
Step 6: Make the basmati rice in a rice cooker. Pour 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1 cup rice, 1.5 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (optional). Press cook.
Step 7: Set up 2 large pans and a small pan on the stove. If you have a grill pan use that for the chicken (or you can use a regular pan).
Step 8: Start “The SAUCE”. Place a little oil on the pan. Turn it to medium heat. Place 2 bay leaves and a cinnamon stick in the middle. Let it heat up. You will add the purple (onion, ginger, garlic) in a bit. You will know to add the purple paste when you can smell the cinnamon.
Step 9: Meanwhile, while the cinnamon stick, oil, and bay leaves are on medium, you will want to cook the chicken. If you have a grill pan, cook the chicken on medium to high heat. If you have a regular pan, that will also work. You want to sear each side of the chicken. You don’t have to cook the chicken 100% because it will continue to cook in the sauce. You want to get a decent sear on each side of the chicken.
Step 10: Place a little olive oil and the green bell peppers on a small pan and cook. (Notice you have three things going on at once).
Step 11: Check on the sauce. If you can smell the cinnamon, it is time to add the purple paste. You will continue to cook this on medium heat for a decent amount of time. You should be flipping the chicken and stirring the bell peppers all at once.
Step 12: Once the purple sauce gets to be an ugly color (dark grayish) and you can’t smell the onion so much, it is time to add the tomato sauce, red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala, curry masala for meat, and salt. Also add about 1.5 cups of water. You will cook this sauce on medium heat.
Step 13: Your bell peppers should be cooked and placed to the side.
Step 14: Continue to cook your sauce and then add 3/4 cups of milk.
Step 15: Add your chicken, bell peppers, and peanut paste (from above) to the sauce. Add a couple teaspoons of salt to taste. Cook on low-medium for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Step 16: Make the yogurt side sauce: Mix 1 cup yogurt, 1 chopped (and peeled) cucumber, 1 tomato, and salt.
Step 17: Put the chicken curry sauce over the rice. Serve with the yogurt sauce and Naam bread.Enjoy!
My challenge for you, make this a date or family night and report back to us!!!!
Here are a few pictures of my kids helping me cook!