Friday, March 28, 2014
Coconut Curry Chicken
Sometimes, when developing a recipe, I’ll begin with the idea of what I would like the dish to become. In this case I knew I wanted the essences of curry and coconut. Now comes the fun part; I get to smell all kinds of wonderful things! I started by sniffing some shredded coconut that I keep on hand for making granola.
With that scent in my head, I went searching for the curry. First I came across a yellow curry, the aroma of which leads with cumin. That was good, but when I sniffed the coconut and that curry together something was missing. So I grabbed some Madras curry powder (to add a little heat) and found the coriander that is prominent in that curry fit perfectly into the mix.
Now I needed to sweeten the dish without adding sugar. I had a juicy rhizome of ginger root and so I shaved off a bit of its skin and inhaled. A little strong, but when combined with the curries and the coconut it was nearly spot on. I needed something more and took my cue from other curry dishes and went for some cilantro and bingo! Now to add a little earthiness and what’s earthier than an onion unless it’s garlic, so why not use both? I had found the taste that began in my imagination, now just to combine all these with the chicken I had in mind and some potatoes to add another texture.
Cooking like this is not strange at all since nearly 75% of what we “taste” actually comes from what we smell! Now that you’ve read this recipe try an experiment. Gather all of the ingredients and smell them first individually and then in combination. Now imagine what this dish will taste like and when you have completed the dish ask yourself how the finished product compares to your imagination. Next time start the process by dreaming up a finished taste and build the flavors to perfect that dream.
Coconut Curry Chicken
Yield: 4 Servings Preparation Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
• 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
• 1½ Teaspoons Yellow Curry Powder
• 1 Teaspoon Madras Curry Powder
• 1 Can Coconut Milk, 13.5 ounces
• ½ Cup Chicken Stock, homemade or low sodium store bought
• ½ Tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
• 1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro, minced or 1 teaspoon dried
• 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
• 1 Medium Onion, frenched
• 4 Cloves Garlic, mashed with 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
• 4 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast Halves, cut into ½” cubes
• 2 Large Russet Potatoes, peeled, cut into ½” dice
• ⅓ Cup Sour Cream
Step 1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven set over low heat. Stir the curry powders into the melted butter and then add the coconut milk and chicken stock. Increase the heat to medium and stir in the ginger and cilantro. Once the pot begins to simmer, reduce the heat to simmer and cover.
Step 2. Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned all over.
Step 3. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes and then stir in the mashed garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
Step 4. Transfer the sautéed chicken, onion and garlic to the Dutch oven, add the potatoes and increase the heat to medium-high. Just when the liquid begins to bubble, lower the heat to simmer, cover the Dutch oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Step 5. Put the sour cream in a small bowl and whisk in ¼ cup of the simmering liquid until smooth. Add the sour cream mixture to the pot and stir until combined.
Serve over Basmati or Jasmine rice and garnish with a sprig of cilantro.
Tips and Trending
~ There are people out there who do not like the mild citrusy-liquorishy taste of cilantro. Actually some people do taste cilantro differently – calling it almost soapy. If this is an issue in your home, leave the cilantro out of the dish and just provide the garnish for those who do enjoy this herb.
~ Try adding a handful of snow peas along with the onion to add a green vegetable that won’t change the flavors of the dish.
~ If you would prefer a thicker sauce at the end – more like a stew – mix ½ teaspoon of all-purpose flour into the sour cream before adding the liquid from the pot. After stirring the mixture back into the pot let it simmer for 5 minutes to thicken up.
~ Some warm Naan flatbread is a wonderful way to soak up the extra sauce that the rice cannot contain.