Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chicken Curry with Cashews

It's nice (if you're wimpy like me) to make a traditionally spicy dish at home, where you can control the heat. I'm always nervous to order a curry at an Indian restaurant because I know there's a good chance my iron-tongued husband will be eating it the next day for lunch. This was perfect for me. Not enough spice to make my tongue burn, but enough to keep it interesting (I may be wimpy, but I don't want to strip it of all its personality).

Makes 6 servings

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste)
3 to 3 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup whole unsalted cashews
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (can substitute coconut milk)

for serving:
cooked basmati (or jasmine) rice or naan
chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

1.       Heat butter in a 5- to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides, then cook onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

2.       Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

3.       Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, 3 minutes.

4.       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.

Can be made a day ahead up to this point. Cool completely, uncovered, then cover and chill. Reheat over low heat before stirring in cashews and yogurt.

Just before serving:
5.       Pulse cashews in a food processor or coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground (being careful not to turn them into nut butter). Add ground cashews to curry along with yogurt and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.

6.       Serve with rice or naan and garnish with chopped cilantro.

adapted from Gourmet Magazine, January 2005

heating the butter (foam subsiding)
adding the spices to the onions, garlic and ginger
spices mixed in
adding the chicken (I used half breasts and half thighs)
chicken mixed
adding the tomatoes and cilantro
tomatoes and cilantro mixed in
grinding the cashews
adding ground cashews and yogurt
serving with naan
leftovers with brown basmati rice


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