One of the Eastern dishes I always enjoyed was a creamy mild yellow chicken curry served over basmati rice. Today Peggy and I were discussing what to make for dinner, I suggested that dish, only to discover I had never put a recipe for it into Food Nirvana. That oversight is being corrected now, due to a nice Food Network® recipe that I've modified to suit our tastes. Basically I have reduced the amount of cayenne pepper by half and doubled the amount of heavy cream, and at Peggy's request I have made the chicken a mixture of thighs and breast halves with the skin on all pieces, which increased a few ingredient amounts slightly. I also provide directions for making the basmati rice.
You might note that the addition of all the vegetables makes this truly a one dish meal that is nutritionally complete. You might want to serve a light chilled white wine like Pinot Grigio. If you want to add texture, color and taste variety to the meal you can make the recipe for Oriental Salad found in Food Nirvana ... and it is also delicious.
This recipe produces a delicious and well spiced curry but it is not as yellow in color as what I was served years ago and, thankfully, it is not hot in terms of seasoning. I suspect the reason for the color is the darkening effect of browning the chicken pieces (instead of using pre-cooked chicken pieces), plus the use of ground cinnamon instead of temporarily using a cinnamon stick. I suggest that you experiment some time after making this recipe, as given, to create what pleases you best. Have fun. Be creative.
Ingredients: (makes three to four servings)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of butter
4 chicken thighs with the skin on
2 halves of chicken breast with the skin on, deboned
1 tsp. of Sea Salt
1 tsp. of white pepper
1 cup of chopped sweet onion
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 tbsp. of mild yellow curry powder
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/8th inch thick on the diagonal
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup of heavy cream
3/4 cup of frozen peas (let the peas thaw while you are making this recipe)
2 cups of uncooked basmati rice
1 quart of chicken broth (for cooking the rice)
Heat the oven to a temperature of 180 degrees F to keep different food components and dishes warm until the meal is served. This practice enhances the quality of the eating experience by keeping warm food warm for the duration of the meal.
Note that you do the opposite for foods like salads by keeping the salads and dishes to be used with the salad in the refrigerator until serving time.
Prepare the rice first and when it is completed keep it covered in the 180 degrees F warming oven.
To make the rice, bring the quart of chicken broth to a boil in a two quart saucepan with a lid on high heat.
Stir in the uncooked basmati rice, cover the saucepan and move it to the lowest output burner on your stove.
Cook the rice on very low heat for fifteen to twenty minutes, checking it for doneness at fifteen minutes, which means all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice without causing the rice to stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
If all the liquid has been absorbed the rice is done. If not, continue cooking the rice, covered, for no more than five additional minutes.
Note that actual cooking time needed depends on whether the rice you use was parboiled before you purchased it. Parboiling creates a rice that will cook in a shorter period of time than rice that has not been parboiled, by at least a difference of five minutes. Typical types of rice that have not been parboiled can require a cooking time from 22 minutes for some types of white rice to up to 45 minutes for raw brown rice.
Remove the covered saucepan from the heat. Put the rice into a 1 1/2 quart bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it into the warming oven.
Place china dinner plates or wide shallow bowls into the warming oven based on the number of people who will be eating the meal.
Now proceed to make the mild chicken curry.
First, if you are using chicken breast halves that have bone included then debone them now by simply cutting the bone away from the flesh. Discard the bones.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium heat and stir in the butter to make it melt and combine with the oil.
Season the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper.
Cook the chicken pieces in the oil/butter mixture on low to medium heat, skin side down, with the skillet covered with a lid, until they are golden brown.
Turn the the chicken pieces over and continue to cook them, covered, until they are golden brown on the second side.
Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking the chicken with the skillet covered for 20 minutes, turning the pieces over every four minutes. Then, turn off the heat.
Put the chicken pieces on a large wooden cutting board and cut them into bite sized pieces, removing all bone, gristle and any excess fat but not the browned skin. Do not be concerned if you notice some undercooked areas of flesh as the coming cooking steps will eliminate that problem.
Next, put the bite size chicken pieces into a three or four quart bowl and place it into the warming oven.
Stir the onion pieces into the skillet and cook them on low heat until they are translucent. Add the diced garlic, stir, and cook for one minute. Stir in the curry, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cumin and cook on very low heat until the aromas of the spices are released.
Stir in the carrot pieces and toss them in the oil/butter/onion/seasonings mixture to coat them.
Add the 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and bring the skillet contents to a simmer on high heat.
Put the bite size chicken pieces back into the skillet and stir in the broccoli florets. Cover the skillet and simmer the contents for 15 minutes on low to medium heat.
Stir in the cream and the thawed peas. Cover the skillet and heat the curry to a simmer and let the ingredients cook at a simmer for about three minutes. It is not necessary or desirable to bring the curry to a boil.
Put the completed chicken curry back into the large bowl used for the chicken pieces.
Serve the curry with the warm basmati rice on the pre-warmed dinner plates or bowls.
Let each person season their portion of curry to taste with sea salt and white pepper.
Remember the chilled wine! And be extra pleased if you made the Oriental Salad.