Thursday, January 25, 2007

WCC #13: Coconut Chicken Curry

When I decided to participate in this month's Weekend Cookbook Challenge, I felt a bit daunted. The theme this time around is to cook a recipe from a recently acquired cookbook, and the one I acquired most recently is The Joy of Cooking - the 75th Anniversary Edition. Which has 4500 recipes in it. This thing is huge, and to work my way through it will take quite a while. Not that I'm complaining.I got it for Christmas from my parents, and I had been meaning to leaf through it anyway, but to choose just one recipe out of so many would take forever, so I took a shortcut. The old 'recipe lottery' approach. I closed my eyes, flipped open the book at random, and dropped a finger to the open page. Why not? My finger dropped on the recipe for "Coconut Chicken Curry" on page 431. Yum. I am a big fan of curry, but have not actually cooked many curry dishes, so this seemed an ideal choice.

This is really a pretty straightforward recipe, but of course it required a trip to the Grocery Palace for supplies, and to the Bulk Barn for a can of coconut milk, which I don't normally stock in my pantry.

One change I made to the recipe was to make my own curry powder. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of 'curry powder' but I thought instead that I would try out another new kitchen gadget acquired at Christmas (also from my parents); a really cool stone mortar and pestle. I took a tablespoon of cumin seeds and a tablespoon of coriander seeds, placed them on a baking sheet and cooked them for a few minutes at 400F until they darkened a couple of shades. Then, I removed the tray from the oven, placed the seeds into the mortar along with a teaspoon of asafoetida, and bashed it good. So aromatic, especially with the asafoetida, which smells like a combination of garlic and onion, although a bit more pungent.

Everything else was a breeze. Some of you may be thinking that this was perhaps not much of a 'challenge' for the Weekend Cookbook Challenge, but it was nice to cook something that didn't have me tearing my hair out for a change. And the payoff was that I ended up with enough tasty chicken for two more meals.

Coconut Chicken Curry
from The Joy of Cooking – 75th Anniversary Edition

2 lbs chicken thighs or breasts
salt & pepper
2 tbsp oil
1 C chopped onions
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
½ C peas, thawed (if frozen)
2 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced (I used 4)
1½ C (or 1 can) unsweetened coconut milk
½ C golden raisins
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt

Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken and brown on both sides. Remove from pan.
Add onions, carrot, peas, green onions, jalapeno, ginger and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the coconut milk, raisins, curry powder and salt, and bring to a boil.
Add the chicken, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes for breasts, or 25 minutes for thighs, or until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked.
Serve with rice.


Sara said...

Ian, what a great dish! You have lived up to the "challenge" of WCC perfectly!

rob said...

Nice work, Ian. It's a testament to how far North American tastes have evolved that the Joy of Cooking now has recipes for coconut curry chicken. By the way, how is that asofaetida? The wiki entry says it has nicknames like Devil's Dung because it has a sulfurous stench. You agree? Cuz I have to admit, that doesn't sound too appetizing.

Ian said...

Sara, thanks for running this event. It's always fun to do these things.

Rob, asafoetida really needs to be cooked into a dish, rather than sprinkled on as a seasoning. Literally translated, it means "stinking resin", and in its raw form it's pretty intense, but when cooked into something, it has a nice funky flavour similar to garlic. :-{>

Emmy said...

Just found your blog through the WCC :) I use the recipe lottery approach sometimes too when I can't figure out what I want to make. I'm a big fan of curries and this sounds great. I'm definitely going to try making a veganized version of this.