dinner No. 2: curry in (somewhat of) a hurry

By Tuesday, March 23, 2010 , , , , , , ,

Sarah's Chicken Saag Curry served with basmati rice and wholegrain flatbread
Serves 2 adults, 2 hungry bambinos with leftovers for lunches
This is my lightened-up version of Chicken Tikka Masala. While butter and heavy cream make everything taste better, your backside doesn't need it on a weeknight. I used four split chicken breasts in making this originally, but since chicken breasts come in only double-D size now, I think three should suffice.

3 split chicken breast
Olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper

¼ cup sliced almonds
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
A small pinch of dried chili flakes
1-28 oz. can of whole plum tomatoes with their juices
1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves

2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3-4 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional, but really lovely)
1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted, to garnish (optional, but again, lovely)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro


Basmati rice
Fabulous Flats wholegrain "
tandoori naan": This is not the naan you get at an Indian restaurant, but it's pretty darn good. Whole Foods carries this brand and their own version. Both work.

The night before: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place chicken breast on the baking sheet and lightly coat skin with olive oil and generous pinches of kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes (depending on the size of the breasts. Let cool 15 minutes. Shred the meat into bite-size pieces and store covered in the refrigerator.

The day of: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground. With machine running, add the ginger and garlic cloves until finely minced. Add cumin, coriander, paprika, chili and tomatoes, yogurt, honey and salt and blend until smooth. Set aside.

*Start cooking your basmati rice now and preheat your oven to 400 degrees for heating the flatbread.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the whole spices; cook 30 seconds to a minute. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook them until softened and lightly browned, but stir often, to avoid sticking. Raise heat to medium high and add spinach and sauté until wilted and some of its water has been released, about 3-5 minutes. Pour in the puree, and cook everything until it begins to boil and thicken slightly, about 5-10 minutes. Fold in the shredded chicken and golden raisins. Sprinkle the garam masala and salt over the mixture; stir to combine. Cover and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes, allowing all the flavors to meld and chicken to reheat. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves.

Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed. Scatter with the toasted almonds and cilantro. Spoon over mounds of fluffy basmati rice. Serve with flatbread.

*Follow the directions on the package for cooking rice, but generally it is a 2-to-1 ratio of water to rice; bring to a boil, turn to low and cook covered for 15-20 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, I place a kitchen towel over the pot, put the lid back on and let the rice sit off the heat for 5-10 minutes. This yields very fluffy rice. For the flatbread, I throw them in the oven directly on a grate and let them crisp up a bit, about 3-5 minutes. Once out of the oven, brush with melted butter or olive oil.

Happy eating, -s.

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