Traditional Chicken Curry
When most people think of Indian food, the first dish that comes to mind is a good chicken curry. Because I never ate this dish growing up, I relied on my husband’s childhood version for this recipe. He says the best chicken curry is made with a rich sauce and no vegetables. Though many recipes call for chopped cauliflower or carrots, I’ve tried to remain true to his tastes for this recipe.
Slow cooker size: 5-quart/ Cooking time: 8 hours on low/Yield: 6 to 8 servings
3 pounds skinless whole chicken, cut in about 8 pieces including the breast, legs, and wings (boneless can also be used)
1 large or 2 medium yellow or red onions, peeled and chopped into 8 pieces
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 (4-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces 10 cloves garlic, peeled 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon turmeric 1 tablespoon garam masala ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil 1 cup plain yogurt 1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 cup dried methi leaves (fenugreek leaves – available at specialty Indian grocers, optional)
1 (2- to 4-inch) cinnamon stick 4 green cardamom pods 4 cloves 4 to 6 green Thai, serrano or cayenne chilies, stems removed, halved lengthwise
½ cup boiling water (optional)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Put the chicken in the slow cooker. (If the meat was frozen, make sure it is thoroughly defrosted. Never use frozen foods in a slow cooker, because it takes too long to raise the heat to an appropriate level for safe, bacteria-free cooking.)
In a food processor, grind the onion, tomato, ginger and garlic until smooth. This may take a few minutes, so be patient. You want the paste to be as smooth as possible.
Transfer the paste to a bowl. Whisk in the salt, turmeric, garam masala, oil, yogurt, red chili powder and methi. Pour this mixture over the chicken. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and green chilies. Mix gently.
Cook on low for 8 hours. If you want more broth with your chicken add the water toward the end of the cooking time. Remove the whole spices. Garnish with cilantro and serve over bed of basmati or brown rice or with roti or naan.
Try this! For you vegetarians out there, substitute seitan for the chicken and follow the same steps. Although seitan does not need to cook as long as the chicken would, stick to the cooking time given. The masala still needs to cook thoroughly. If you are concerned that the seitan may get tough, add it in after 4 hours of cooking.
To make this dish in a 3½-quart slow cooker, halve all the ingredients and proceed with the recipe. A half recipe makes 3 to 5 servings.