If you live in the North-Eastern part of North America right now, then you may have noticed that it’s a bit nippy outside, with all that snow and all. My humble little apartment doesn’t heat properly, and I keep telling J that we should talk to our landlord about turning up the heat. Actually, I think the phrase I used to describe the situation was IZ COLD UP IN DIS MUTHA!!!
Ahhm. To keep our extremeties, as well as our stomachs, warm during this frigid Canadian winter, I usually whip up a batch of my mother’s curry. Her curries have kept my belly warm ever since we moved to this cold country. So when the snow storm rages on outside, our insides are wonderfully warm and nourished.
Every time I make this curry at home, I am transported back to my seven year old self, watching my mother move like a bird from sink to fridge to stove, doing her little ritualistic dance as she floats around the kitchen preparing dinner. The end result of her efforts is this delicious golden chicken curry.
Unlike my other recipes, I’ve chosen to incorporate some of my mother’s cooking style and not include strict measurements, where it’s not necessary. My mother, like many cooks of her generation, doesn’t bother with teaspoons and measuring cups. “Just add a pinch of this” and “a handful of that” my mother always told me whenever I asked how she made anything. Not really helpful for a burgeoning cook like myself, but now that I’m in my late 20s I think I get what she was trying to say. Cooking, unlike baking, isn’t an exact science. It’s kind of schmaltzy to say, but a lot of cooking has to do with instinct. And if that doesn’t work, then practice until it feels like instinct.
Prep Time | 20-25 minutes Cook Time | 35-40 minutes Yield | Can feed 5-6 people
Canola oil for cooking
2 medium yellow flesh potatoes, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, made into paste
2 tsp of ginger paste
2 very ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
Handful of baby carrots, chopped (slightly less than a cup)
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
3 – 4 tsp curry powder
Pinch of cayenne powder, add more if you like it hot!
1 tsp of ground cumin
½ tsp dried chili flakes
Sprinkle of flour (like a teaspoon)
2 ½ cup of vegetable stock
About a cup of coconut milk, add more if you like
Salt to taste
½ cup red lentils, washed thoroughly
½ cup frozen peas
Sliced green onion and chopped cilantro for garnish
Heat your oil on a large pan (like a wok or skillet) on medium-high heat. Fry the potatoes so that most of it is golden brown on the outside, but not cooked all the way through (should be like 5-6 minutes). Take the potatoes out and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Put the pan back on the heat.
Heat up a knob of butter and some oil (not too much), add onions, garlic and ginger paste; sauté until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and sauté until it starts to soften and almost melt (5 minutes).
Make a well again (add a touch more butter and/or oil if it’s looking a little dry), then add all the spices, cooking them slightly to open up the flavours (that’s the last pretentious thing I say in this post, I swear!!). Sprinkle a little flour over everything and stir to combine. Add the potatoes and carrots; stir everything together, sautéing for a few minutes.
Cook for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are all cooked through and the liquid has reduced a bit. Add the frozen peas, cook for 2 more minutes then take the pan off the stove. Top it off with some green onion and cilantro over. Serve over basmati rice, quinoa, or brown rice.