Did you ever eat out at an Indian restaurant and didn’t find the food particularly tasty? That means lack of flavor, too greasy or other issues with it?
I know there are many great Indian food places in the UK or for sure in Berlin but I really do think that Cologne comes short. Although my friends always like it when we have Indian, Middle Eastern or Asian food outside. It could be that im very picky, ok, admit, I am picky. Still, the problem exists if curry (in Iran it would be khoresht) style foods don’t become cooked with lots of love and care they will easily taste bad. As I said before very often there are not much ingredients involved but the ones that are need to be of good quality and prepared non-hastily.
Well, here is a recipe for a curry that will blow your taste buds though I even cut a big amount of the fatty ingredients.
I found this recipe for Butter Chicken accompanied with a truly appetizing image via Pinterest and decided to recreate it as it had been a while since I had curry.
Of course I tweaked the recipe. For example I skipped the curry paste as I still have not figured which of the vast paste choice in the Asian super market is the one I will finally like. Very often there is so much additives involved and the organic ones…well they taste weirdly Western?!
Then I didn’t put in any butter which has the consequence that I can’t name this recipe butter chicken like the recipe does! I just didn’t feel the need adding butter as I used coconut cream and not milk. Together with the yoghurt the texture turned out just perfect, I’m telling you.
As a matter of fact I had problems naming this dish properly. I tweaked the original recipe so much and also added peppers and pineapple, ingredients which are not typically included at butter chicken or tikka masala. I was about to just call it Indian style curry so not to offend anyone but that sounded too general. Well, whatever its name actually may be, the flavors are definitely Indian and the dish is beyond and also very quick. The original recipe calls for cooking hours long in a crock pot. There is no need for that.
From start to finish there will be only 15 minutes.
Before we get into recipe details a few disclaimer. First the chicken: see that is of good quality! Finding good chicken meat can become very challenging especially in the US, I know. Even organic labelled chicken sometimes tastes like crap. I buy mine from our local Turkish supermarket Karadagh which offer great chicken.
Generally speaking for this dish it is important to use high quality ingredients (seems like a no brainer but other times it can be indeed ok to use cheap produce), it will make a ton of difference. Beginning with the curry powder. The second time I made the curry I ran out of mine and just used a curry powder by a regular German super market spice brand. The whole dish lacked of depth in the end.
Fresh pineapple is preferred although it is naturally possible to use canned pineapple. Then use natural organic yoghurt which has a nice texture. Instead of coconut milk, I use these creamy brands, it is possible to use coconut milk from the can but I would recommend latter.
So serving size for 2 people you need:
(Measurements are not American, I use actual cups and spoons. No need for accuracy, just stick roughly to the proportions whatever measuring method you use.)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 chicken breast, diced
- 1 spoon flour
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 sweet roasting pepper, thinly diced (or bell pepper if there is shortage here)
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt & black pepper
- 1 small Jalapeño pepper
- 3 spoons tomato paste
- 1 cup coconut milk (cream)
- 1/2 cup organic yoghurt (3.5 %)
- 1 cup of freshly cut & diced pineapple
- 1 cup basmati rice & 3-4 cups salted water
- coriander & spring onion for garnish
- Start with the chicken cubes. Salt and pepper them, then dust in flour
- Sautée onions on middle-high heat (don’t change heat for entire process) in a pan, add chicken. The onions should caramelize a little. For the chicken it is important that it is not thoroughly cooked until you add the fluid. When it becomes sealed from all sides there will be no chance to get any flavor in and the meat can easily get dry or rubbery.
- Now quickly add garlic, ginger, roasting pepper slices, all the spices and the Jalapeño one after another.
- Parallel get the rice done. As an Iranian there are many elaborate ways of rice cooking. Here just get it like noodles. In a deep pan boil up salted water, throw in rice. It should have lots of room. Strain after 5-7 minutes. Put the rice back into the pan, handle with care so that the grains don’t get smushed. With the remaining heat of the pan additional moisture will evaporate and the rice will stay fluffy.
- Don’t wait till the rice is done. Continue straight with the curry while it is boiling. Now it’s time for the coconut milk, yoghurt, tomato paste. Also one after another. Don’t forget to taste in between. Yoghurt is mostly for texture. There shouldn’t be any distinctive tartness. If so add more coconut cream. Now you can lower heat a bit if there is too much boil. Add pineapple and reduce sauce 3-5 minutes.
- Chop coriander and spring onions. Bring everything together in your serving bowls as pictured.