"Without the curry, boiled rice can be very dull."-C. Northcote Parkinson
Recipe Two: Andhra Methi Chicken Curry
What is it? Entree
Source: This delightful recipe comes courtesy of Shefaly Ravula of Shef's Kitchen. Pink Rickshaw first talked to the Indian cuisine enthusiast and instructor in 2009. She continues to teach interesting Indian cuisine courses at the Austin's Whole Foods Market's Lamar Culinary Center and will begin teaching at programs Cooking Up English and The Happy Kitchen. For more of her delicious recipes, check out her blog or if you're in the Austin area, take a peek at her upcoming class schedule.
Tidbits: Why did the chicken cross the road? Probably to hurry into into this delicious curry. The dish originates from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and Shefaly adopted the family recipe from her mother-in-law, adding a few of her own variations. Straight from the Shef, "Yes, the recipe says it take an hour and a half. You can do it and it's worth it," she says. "Most of the cooking time is just patiently watching the onion miraculously transform into a thick fragrant gravy on the back burner. When combined with fenugreek, a herb not commonly used in the United States, this curry becomes a spectacular dish that is hardly ever found on U.S. Indian restaurant menus and that will become part of your Indian cooking repertoire. The curry can keep for a few days in the refrigerator and freezes beautifully." Shefaly recommends serving it with plain basmati rice, flavored rice or naan and yogurt for a simple meal.
Andhra Methi Chicken Curry (Fenugreek Chicken Curry)
Prep Time: 20 min, Cook Time: 1 hr, 30 min; Serves 5-6
2 tbs. canola oil
1 tsp. black cumin seeds (shah zeera) (optional)
2 medium onions (preferably white), finely diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup dried fenugreek leaves or 1/2 cup frozen or fresh fenugreek leaves
2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp. chili powder (can be substituted, see notes below)
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. salt
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 2 inch pieces
1 tsp. garam masala (see definition in notes)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large nonstick pot over medium heat.
2. Add the cumin seeds (if using) and fry for a few minutes.
3. Add the fenugreek and saute five minutes until fragrant.
4. Add onions to the pot, stirring well. Turn heat to low if onions are sticking to the bottom.
5. Cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Make a paste out of ginger and the garlic; grate the ginger so you have a mound of about 2 tbs. and then grate the garlic cloves into the ginger; mix the two into a paste.
7. Add the ginger/garlic paste to the onions that are cooking and mash well. Cook five minutes while you gather the spices.
8. Add chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric, and salt. Mix well. Cook covered on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. The onion/spice mixture will begin looking like a mushy paste.
9. Add chicken pieces. Stir until all is combined well.
10. Partially cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The juices from the meat will form a gravy with the onions over time. Uncover and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
11. Stir in garam masala and cook 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.
Some notes from the Shef: Garam masala is a an aromatic blend of spices that you can purchase at most Indian grocery stores. Shefaly makes her garam masala at home and her blend is a combination of cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cloves, and black pepper. Store bought brands include aromatic spices with sweet notes such as nutmeg, mace, and allspice. These will make a more perfumed but equally delicious curry. Also, for the chili powder, Shefaly recommends Indian chili powder like Reshampatti (extra-hot). If extra hot is not your style, you can decrease the amount or substitute for Kashmiri chili powder for a vibrant color, but less heat.
Another great tip for this recipe is if you simply just do not have the time to do this recipe in one session, you can make the onion/spice mix up thorough step 8 and freeze the mixture. Then reheat it in a pot when you are ready to cook the chicken and begin with step 9. And finally but also important, Shefaly warns that whenever you cook with fenugreek (methi), your house will smell. She recommends lighting some candles and possibly a shower afterwards.
image source: shefaly ravula