I have a bit of a habit … some foods (like roast chicken) I usually make at home and rarely order in a restaurant. Unless I am at a place that is famous for it or I can split a few dishes with friends and try other things, I keep those home-y foods in my own kitchen.
It’s not that I can’t cook them (or at least attempt – I’m willing to try just about anything), but I really don’t have the pantry for it. Of course I have some of the basics and can hobble together dinner with a slight “Asian” or “Indian” flair, but I am lacking the authenticity that generally comes from a larger spice collection (and a clue as to what you are doing – however some things cannot be helped).
So when I want the real deal Indian, I generally find a good restaurant, or at least a good phone number.
But after reading about my friend’s dinner of divine Indian food, I have had a serious craving for chicken curry with cashews at home. And stocked pantry or not, I couldn’t wait any longer.
Thankfully epicurious came to the rescue with a recipe that even my spice drawer could handle (curry powder, cumin and cayenne) and 514 positive reviews claiming that the recipe had depth and actually tasted pretty legitimate.
Even with my changes (I didn’t have cashews!!! and I scaled the chicken way back and added a head of cauliflower) it was definitely the most authentic tasting Indian-anything that has come out of this kitchen, curry powder and all.
Who knows – I may have one more thing that has moved from the restaurant to the home side of things.
Chicken Curry with Cauliflower adapted from Chicken Curry with Cashews from Gourmet | January 2005
NOTES: I made some changes from the original based on what I had on hand & what I wanted:
- I used olive oil instead of butter (apparently when gone for a week, a certain someone consumes everything in sight, including all the butter) – but it was not missed.
- I used 4 boneless, skinless thighs cut into large pieces (instead of a whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces) – as I may have mentioned, I am trying to include more meals without meat and/or with meat being the main component. This also cut down on the cooking time.
- I added a head of cauliflower roughly chopped, to make up for the missing chicken, and to add vegetables.
- I used a 28 oz can of tomatoes (instead of 14.5) and it was purely accident, but I am glad I did – otherwise there wouldn’t have been enough sauce.
- I didn’t have cashews – in this recipe they are finely ground to thicken the sauce, but I didn’t find that we need that. I did however want some crunch, so I roasted some garbanzo beans while it was cooking and had those on the side, to sprinkle on top for some added texture.
- I like toppings for just about anything, so I made a little dish with additional yogurt (cooling), limes (acid), mango (sweet) and the roasted chickpeas (crunchy) to add as you wish
3 T. olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups) [I would generally use yellow onions, but I only had a red that day, and it was fine]
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 T. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 T. curry powder
2 t. salt
1 t. ground cumin
½ t. cayenne
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large pieces
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, whole and smushed or diced
¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
¾ c. plain whole-milk yogurt
Heat olive oil in a wide heavy pot over moderately low heat, then cook 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, about 5 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and continue cooking, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the cauliflower has cooked (al dente), about 15 more minutes.
(Note – the recipe calls for the curry to cook covered the whole time, but as I did not add the cashews as a thickener and have more tomatoes, I keep it uncovered to reduce a bit.)
Just before serving, add the yogurt to the curry and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is slightly thickened and combined, about 3-5 minutes.
Gourmet’s note: Curry, without yogurt and [cashews], can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over low heat before stirring in yogurt [and ground cashews].
Serve over rice and with accompaniments of your choice.