I decided I am going to bluff my way through a chicken curry dish tonight. Have I ever made chicken curry??? Nope. However, I do really like chicken curry; in all of it's many variations. So I talked myself into giving it a go. I won't have an actually recipe to post until after dinner is made, therefore this certainly counts as one of my "surprise" dishes. Or as I like to think of it, "adventures in experimental cookery"...that phrase sounds a little more civilized, don't you think???
Anyway, I am going to roughly base my Chicken Curry Surprise off of two dishes/ideas. The first, is actually a frozen meal that I like to purchase at Fresh and Easy called Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken). For a frozen, pre-made, curry dish it is darn tasty. The second is from a website I frequent called Kayotic Kitchen (aka Dutch Girl Cooking). She has a recipe for Roti Chicken (with authentic Roti potato crepe-like bread) that makes me drool. Sadly, I can never seem to get my act together to make her dish, which seems a little labor-intensive. Instead of waiting for the planets to align, I decided to just try and stumble my way through a suitable facsimile. I even bought some frozen, bake-at-home Garlic Naan bread from Trader Joe's to pair with my chicken dish. That is as close to her Roti Chicken as I think I am going to get, for now.
Despite the whole "not knowing exactly what I am doing" thing, I am looking forward to dinner tonight. I have been having a strong hankerin' for Indian food, so I am hoping that this will do the trick. I will post my recipe later...once I figure out what my recipe actually is. Wish me luck!!!
Here it is...brace yourselves, there is quite an ingredients list! I did not have garam masala spice blend, so I had to improvise and put in a bunch of individula spices that were collectively in garam masala. Does that make sense? That accounts for why my ingredients list is a mile long; it would have been much shorter if I had the garam masala I needed. I have no idea how much I put in of everything, so quantities and cook times are estimated. Really, I added everything to taste and just watched the sauce closely. This is really an off-the-cuff type of dish. If you decide to try this dish my way, my advice is to "USE THE FORCE".
Jen's Chicken Curry Surprise
1/4 cup of sunflower oil or canola oil
1 package of chicken tenders, tendons removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 small can of tomato paste
1-2 cups of tomato puree
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup of water
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 Tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
1 cup of half and half
1/2 a bag of frozen peas
chopped cilantro for garnish
Sprinkle chicken with Lawry's Seasoned Salt, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil over medium-high heat. Once chicken is browned and cooked through, remove to a platter and set aside.
In remaining oil (add more if needed), cook onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook for two to three more minutes. Turn heat down to medium. Add tomato puree, water, and all spices at your discretion. Scrape the bottom of the pan, making sure to loosen all the brown bits stuck at the bottom (these bits are an important flavor element and should be incorporated into the sauce). Add bay leaves and let sauce reduce for 5 minutes.
Stir in yogurt and half and half. Stir to combine. Add chicken back in and turn heat to low. Add frozen peas, lemon juice, and butter, then simmer for 5-10 more minutes minutes, so flavors may combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve over brown rice.
I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything, but my curry was fan-freakin'-tastic! Seriously, I loved it! YUM! It was exactly what I was looking for in a chicken curry dish. Sigh. I am a happy girl. It was delicious. It wasn't just my opinion that it was good either...both my son and husband really liked it, too.
Also, I want to say that I am very happy with the Trader Joe's (Frozen) Garlic Naan. All I did was pre-heat the oven and let 'em cook for a minute or two. They came out of the oven warm and fragrant. The texture was perfect, too. I was surprised at how good they really tasted. Overall, this recipe is a total keeper.
(PS-Next time I make this I will try and pay more attention to the ingredient quantities so I can write a better recipe.)