Malabar Chicken Curry with Homemade Garam Masala



Yesterday I was craving Indian food.  I haven’t eaten Indian food in years.  Sad, right?  I guess you could say that I have a major aversion to yellow curry.  Red curry?  Love it.  Green curry?  Can’t get enough of it.  Yellow curry?  I’m running for the hills from the smell.  
I guess my main reason for not eating Indian food more often is that I associate it with that pungent yellow curry smell.  Well after doing a lot of searching on line, I stand corrected.  This Malabar Chicken “curry” has not one granule of yellow curry in it.  Nope not-a-one.  It does, however, have a hefty helping of homemade garam masala.


Garam Masala is a spice blend that you can buy pre-made in the store, or take 5 minutes and make it at home and have a large bottle to use in the future.  In Indian, garam means “hot” or “warm” and masala means “spice blend”.  You can probably guess what it has in it just from the definition, right?  Hot = dried chiles and spice blend, well you get the picture.  You can even use the garam masala to make a chai tea.  Add a 1/4 teaspoon to warm milk that’s been steeped with a tea bag and you have a delicious spiced drink.


I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to go eat some Malabar Chicken Curry! 


Malabar Chicken Curry with Homemade Garam Masala
This is a quick and easy Indian chicken recipe that the whole family will love.  The spices are subtle and not overpowering.


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Ingredients
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 large yellow onions, halved and sliced thin
2 tablespoons garam masala (recipe below) 

2 teaspoons kosher salt 

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 large tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon chili flakes
6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless cut into bite sized pieces
Cilantro leaves, for garnish


Garam Masala
Slightly adapted from www.aspicyperspective.com
3 tablespoons coriander seeds*
2 tablespoons cumin seeds*
4 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 star anise, whole*
2 teaspoons cloves, whole
2 cinnamon sticks
1 small nutmeg, whole*
1 puya chile, whole, dried*
2 teaspoons ground cardamom, or 2 tablespoons whole green pods


Instructions

  1. Heat a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the oil, onions, garam masala and salt and stir to coat.  Turn the heat down to medium and cover.  Allow the onions to cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent and have reduced considerably.  
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, tomatoes, chili powder and chili flakes.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are almost completely incorporated into the onion mixture.
  3. Add the chicken and stir to coat.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.  If it’s too dry, add boiling water 1/4 cup at a time to achieve a thinner consistency.
  4. Garnish with cilantro and serve with hot cooked jasmine rice and naan
For Garam Masala
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add all whole spices (except ground cardamom).  Toast until fragrant, but not burned.  
  2. Add all whole spices and ground cardamom to a spice or coffee grinder and pulse until all spices have been pulverized.
  3. Store in an airtight container.
*Note – whole exotic spices are readily available at stores like Cost Plus World Market.


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