As you all know, we are NOT picky eaters in my house. We eat everything and love all kinds of ethnic foods as well. Even though we do not eat it as much as we would like, Indian foods are some of our favorites. The other day, I made an Indian red curry and chicken dish that just hit the spot. It was a perfect warm dish for a cold and chilly night.
Curries are dishes made with a variety of spices, often times as many as 20 different spices per dish, that originated in India and then spread to the other parts of Asia. The word “curry” however, is actually a British term that was first used in the mid 18th century to denote dishes, usually meat dishes although curries can be made with anything, that were made in a Western type sauce using Indian spices. The Indians themselves rarely use the word “curry” unless they are speaking in English and are referring to a dish made with either a gravy or a sauce rather than just a mixture of spices. The two main branches of curry dishes are Indian and Thai. The Indian curried dishes are usually thicker and are are more stew-like, where Thai curries are usually thinner and can often be more soup-like. There is an infinite number of curried dishes around the world, but traditionally, they were based around the spices that were local to a specific area or region. They were often enjoyed at various religious or cultural ceremonies or family celebrations.
Originally, the “curried” dishes from either India or Thailand were dishes that were made by mixing a wide variety of different spices into the cooking process of the dish. Though there are many different varieties of curried dishes, the main ingredients of any curry are almost always a combination of tumeric, ginger, coriander, cumin and either fresh or dried chilies. Curry powder is a combination already mixed and was invented in Britain in the mid 18th century. A dish can either be a wet curry or a dry curry. A wet curry dish is one that is made with a sauce or a gravy, whereas a dry curry is more of a rub, with very little liquid added to the dish. My favorites are the wet curries. But then you already know I am a “saucy” kind of girl.
Indian Red Curried Chicken
1 1/2 lb chicken cut into strips
1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
2 cups fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped rough
1/2 small pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 large tomato, cut into a medium dice
1 potato, peeled and diced in a medium dice
3 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP butter
1 1/2 TBSP garlic
1 1/2 TBSP ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp garam masala
1-2 tsp red chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups yogurt
1 cup chicken broth
cilantro for topping
Cook the potatoes in a combination of butter and olive oil until they are browned and slightly crispy.
Add the onions, pumpkin, garlic, tomato, ginger and spices and thoroughly mix everything together, then continue to cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the chicken broth and yogurt and combine everything together well. In a separate pan, cook the chicken in olive oil and cook until it is thoroughly cooked. Add the spinach when the sauce is done and mix in thoroughly with the sauce, then add the chicken and combine everything together well.
Serve the curry over rice or noodles, along with some naan bread. For something a little different, I served my curry over couscous. It was good, but I prefer it over rice. I also served it with a light Pinot Grigio, which is a good choice with anything spicy. I topped it with chopped cilantro. With all the aromatic spices I used, the house smelled as good as the dish tasted. Delicious!