Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Creamy Indian Curry with Chicken

About a week ago, I was walking around my local Whole Foods when I was suddenly hit with the most delicious aroma. It was like someone had put a big bowl of Indian curry right in front of my nose. I followed the aroma and was lead to a cooking demonstration being put on by the folks of Katmandu Foods. In front of the cook stood open jars of various Shiba's brand chutneys, pickles and curry pastes. “Here, dear. I know you want to taste this, “ she said, handing me a small paper cup with spiced rice. “Take a little of each and see what you like,” she said, pointing to the open jars in front of her. She didn’t have to convince me. I tried each and every one, some more than once. All the products I tried were delicious. It took a lot of will power to walk away with only one jar of curry paste and one jar of chutney.

Today I cracked open the curry paste. It was so aromatic. You know what I’m talking about-- that characteristic aroma of Indian spices. The paste tasted good coming right out of the jar—full of flavor and adequately salted. There were cooking suggestions on the label, but I wanted to do a little bit of experimenting myself. I was thinking something in the way of buttered chicken, just kicked up a notch. What I ended up with was so tasty and surprisingly easy. No elaborate doctoring, like is often the case with other store-bought pastes or simmer sauces. Even before the addition of cream, the curry was rich and well spiced (but not spicy hot). Even Sonny ate every morsel on his plate, despite early protestations that it looked gross*.

*Side note: Sonny is currently at the stage where everything that’s not pizza, burgers or mac-n-cheese looks gross. This basically means everything I put on the table. He starts by refusing to eat it; we threaten with consequences. He gives in and finally tastes it. Usually he ends up eating his entire serving without further incident. We go through this ritual almost every evening and it exasperates me to no end. Please tell me he will outgrow this stage very soon.

I know the paste can be found at Whole Foods in the Portland area as well as online at www.katmandufoods.com. The retail store is in Salem, OR.

Creamy Indian Curry with Chicken
serves 3
  • 1 ½ tbs Shiba's Curry Paste
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 3 tbs ghee (or half oil and butter is fine too)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 chicken thighs, cut into chunks or slices
  • splash of heavy cream (maybe a tablespoon or two)
  • salt, to taste
  • sugar, to taste (I used a pinch to offset the tomato paste)
For this dish, use a heavy bottom pot with a lid. Melt the ghee over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the sliced onion and cinnamon stick. Fry the onion until it starts to brown. Turn down the heat if it’s burning or becoming too dry. You’re not trying to caramelize; the onions should be sort of crispy on the edges yet softened. It may take up to 10 minutes.

While the onions are browning, combine the curry paste with the tomato paste. Mix well.

When the onions are sufficiently browned/softened, turn down the heat a little and add the paste mix. Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute, stirring constantly to keep it from burning and sticking. You should smell a delicious aroma coming from the pot.

Turn the heat back up a little and add the chicken. Sauté until the chicken doesn’t appear raw, about 2 or 3 minutes. A little liquid will be released from the chicken and it should appear to be simmering robustly. Turn down the heat to low and simmer covered for about 30 minutes. You shouldn’t need to add any water, but if it appears too dry, just add a little water to prevent burning.

After about 30 minutes, remove the lid and add the cream. Stir and adjust flavor with salt and a little sugar if necessary. Give it a quick stir, and you’re done! Serve immediately with steamed basmati rice or naan bread.


Wandering Chopsticks said...

Ha! Beat Manggy again. I'm definitely redeeming my free meal next week. ;)

Jarred Indian curries are the way to go for me. I've made butter chicken, but all my curries seem to taste the same.

dp said...

WC, just pick the place!

This paste was so good, I think I'll end up using it all the time whenever I make Indian food.

Manggy said...

Hey! I thought that "agreement" was only for the post about Weekend Wokking... Ah, nevermind. Enjoy your meal, you two.. (bitter) :P

Sonny is such a kid! There's nothing gross-looking about the dish! I love the producer's bold claim... "World's Best." Indeed. I am quite intrigued to try your curry now :)

I wish I could say for sure that Sonny will outgrow it but I'm sure he's a logical kid and he will figure out he can't keep rejecting dishes and being proven wrong forever. Just keep on truckin' and don't give in! He's lucky to have a mom that makes varied, flavorful dishes!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to say Sonny will grow out of it... but my sister, who is nearly 30, still does that. At least her tastes have gotten a little more varied!

Anonymous said...

How I wish I live in the US, then I can go Whole Foods to grab this paste! Hee I will still try to look for it at my local supermarket, but I'm not that hopeful that I can find it :P The curry looks thick and delicious :)~

Dee said...

manggy, there's a parent lurking inside you somewhere! I think you're right. I'm sure when he grows up he will appreciate the food I made for him.

Fearless Kitchen, it's okay not to like stuff, but at least try it first, right? Oh, I know picky adults and it drives me batty. If I don't like something or feel dubious about trying it, I don't make a big production of it. Just taste it and move on. Right?

noobcook, it was so sinfully creamy. I could feel it all go straight to the hips! LOL

QGIRL said...

If it makes you feel better, my 3.5year old has been doing this since day one! Reluctantly, I've become a short order cook and it isn't fun!
I love love love curry, so I will definitely check out this curry paste. Thanks for the rec!

QGIRL said...

p.s. I JUST noticed my blog listed on your site. THANKS! I am so flattered!

Unknown said...

the curry looks so good... now i only need the steamed white rice... :)

Jason said...

Yum! I love indian curries! I will have to run to whole foods now and try this out.

Dee said...

Jason, I'm positive you will like this paste. It's not cheap, but worth the it.

Heather said...

I always forget that I can just crack a jar of curry and dinner is half-cooked. I'll have to keep an eye out for this stuff!

Paula said...

Y.U.M. Oh I wish I could have a bite or two or three or four of this! How come I never time my visits to Whole Foods to get samples of goodness like this?! We are curry fans in this household, and I bet this tasted and smelled as good as it looks. I repeat, YUM!

Anonymous said...

Looks wonderful Darlene. The chicken looks really tender. I'd love some right now!

gaga said...

Mmm, I love Indian food but haven't gotten the courage to try it myself just yet. With the paste, it seems a lot less scary and your curry looks great. Maybe I'll try it some time.

Anonymous said...

Incredible and easy to make. I actually didn't have the paste, so I used a curry powder mixed with fresh garlic and a little olive oil. Still gorgeous. Thanks!

Dee said...

Anon, great idea with the curry paste, garlic and olive oil. I'll have to try that!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled to your blog and want to make comments on Shiba's products.

I am an Indian but shiba's products changed my life. The demo lady claims that her products will make your kitchen happy. Actually it made my kitchen very happy.

I have all 20 of them. Stir brown anything on oil and salt; and add one of her products chutney at a time or the combination of spices and cook lowest heat for next 4 minutes and drop 1/2 tsp of butter before your serve. You may not believe what you cooked. They are that good.

Dee said...

Anon, I believe you! And thank you for the tip. I've only tried the curry paste and mango chutney and both were excellent. I will definitely be trying the other products.

Unknown said...

I was just at whole foods and Shiba was there with her wonderful currys and chutneys. Everything I put in my mouth was amazing!

She said whole foods might stop selling her products because there are too many, they take up too much shelf space and aren't selling well enough. So go and buy some so they will keep them!

Someone told her about this blog and she was passing it on. I will definitely try your recipe!

Indian Restaurants said...

Indian Restaurants are known for its exotic and delicious delicacies all around the globe. Witnessing such a global surge in Indian food, many companies have set up Indian restaurants in UK and other parts of the world to fulfill the consumers hunger.

Indian Restaurants said...

A feature of the Indian food served in these restaurants is that the ingredients like vegetables and spices are wholly from the country, meaning that the tradition of cooking of a specific dish is very much kept in mind by the chefs. So, while you enjoy hot and spicy Indian cuisine, you are assured that there is no experimentation going into it unless you desire so.