Curry. The perfect combination of sweet and slow heat. It hurts so good.
On a work trip to Singapore last fall, I took a walking trip through the Little India neighborhood. The spice markets, fabric stores and curry shops were incredible. I stopped in one small shop and ordered some of the best chicken curry of my life.
This may look tame, but these spices did not mess around. Thank goodness for all that rice.
The National Orchid Garden was another highlight of the trip. It was so lush, so beautiful, so colorful.
I do hope to get back there in 2014. I have big plans to visit Little Arabia and explore even more of the outdoor eating markets. I never did get to try any of the famed seafood.
Chicken Curry with Cashews
We have made a few curries at home, and Mr. McCormick is becoming a big fan. I hadn't done a chicken one yet, and loved the idea of adding cashews for a creamy, nutty flavor.
I found this recipe on Epicurious but it was originally adapted from Charmaine Solomon's Complete Asian Cookbook.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger*
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces*
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes*
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
*We used the last of my ginger paste. For an authentic Singapore feel I also used four bone-in chicken thighs, about 2.2 pounds worth. I used tomatoes with green chiles for a little extra heat.
Heat butter in a 5- to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides.
Then add onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, including juice, and cilantro and bring to a simmer.
Then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.
Just before serving, pulse cashews in a food processor until very finely ground.
Then add to curry along with yogurt and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
(Don't balk at the strange color, it smells amazing at this point.)
Serve with jasmine or basmati rice and garnish with cilantro.
Oh curry, how we love you. This dish has such a rich, nutty and creamy stew. I could eat just that over rice any day of the week.
We opted for some hearty bread instead of rice, which was great for sopping up all the curry goodness. While bone-in makes for a bit more dedication eating the chicken, it does add such fantastic flavor.
This is a great 'first curry' for someone. The heat was nice, but you could kick this up a notch or two with some peppers of your choice.
But really, it's all about the sauce. Use it as a base with any type of meat - beef, shrimp, pork would all work.