Chicken curry to heat up your winter

Chicken curries have always been my favourite, especially during a cold winter evening. It is also popular for pot lucks and buffet dinners.

To make a good curry, you need to understand their origins. For example, a chicken vindaloo curry comes from the coastal regions of southern India. It was very popular with the old Portuguese enclave of Goa. Vindaloos use vinegar and mustard oil in their preparation, which is no so common in other curries.

A vindaloo curry marinade includes:18

1 tsp cumin
2 tsp tumeric
1 red chili pepper, ground
1 tbsp coriander
1-inch of ginger root, ground
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 cloves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup wine vinegar
3-4 tbsp mustard oil (or ghee)

This mixture can be made beforehand, so that you can cut-up your chicken pieces, and marinade them overnight. I prefer using chicken thighs for my curries. The meat is tastier than white meat.

A chicken korma marinade includes:

1 tsp grated fresh ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 larges clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Again, mix the above ingredients together with your chicken pieces. Try to cut your chicken into similar sized pieces so that their cooking time is the same. Otherwise, you might have overcooked pieces of chicken. The longer you leave your chicken resting in the marinade, the more flavourful your meat. I like to keep it in the marinade overnight, turning every few hours.

Before cooking, heat your ghee and cook your marinaded chicken pieces in a large cast iron frying pan. Add one peeled tomato, 1 cups yogurt, cover, and cook for 30 minutes on a low heat. Serve with plain basmati rice.

Another favourite chicken dish, which can also be cooked with lamb, is a murghi biryani. A girlfriend from South Africa taught me about biryanis. It is a very popular rice dish mixed with many different flavours.

Ingredients for murghi biryani:

12 threads of saffrom
2 cups plain yogurt
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 teaspoons tumeric
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground mace
1/3 cup ghee
Salt to taste
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves, ground
1/4 tsp ground cardamon seeds
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water

First, soak your saffron in 2 tbsp yogurt for 2 hours. Grind your spices together. Add this mixture to your yogurt. Pour over cut-up chicken pieces. Let sit overnight.

To cook, heat your ghee in a large cast iron frying pan. Brown the chicken for 20 minutes, until completely cooked, turning frequently. In a second skillet, use your remaining ghee and saute your onion until brown. Remove the onion, then in the same skillet, add your saffron, salt , closes, cardamom seeds, and rice. Stir continuously to coat each rice kernel for a minute or so, then pour in 2 cups of boiling water. Cook over medium to high heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the rice is half cooked.

Finally, in a casserole dish, spoon in half the rice, then add a layer of onions, almonds, and chicken pieces. Add the remaining rice, the pour over the remaining yogurt. Place the pot on a very low fire, cover and cook until the yogurt has been absorbed (about 10 minutes).

What is so nice about making this dish, is that you can serve this meal directly to your guests. This recipe will serve 4 to 6 people. It is the perfect pot luck item to prepare, as you have both your protein and starch in one container!

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