Chicken Curry (Tim)

When we started this exercise I thought, "sure, I'll do the kurma and use the pictures we took sometime before Adam went vegetarian on us." Then I pulled together the pictures and Meher said, "Oh no, that's not kurma, that's just a simple curry..." Like any fool knows; no yogurt. The reason why the kurma sticks in my head (and why I don't mind if Meher writes the curry recipe), is that her kurma is the first dish that she taught me to make. Not long after I moved to Toronto, ahead of Meher (who was still in Nebraska), her parents came to visit me at the apartment we had just rented. Being a good son-in-law, I went shopping at one of the Caribbaean butchers on Eglinton to buy some goat with which to make a nice homey goat kurma. Which I did, taking great pains to pick out all the bone shards from hacked up meat, as it wouldn't do to kill my parents-in-law by making them choke on a fragment of goat bone.

They sat in the living room as the kurma finished cooking, and as I made the rice, I asked if they were hungry. "No, no, we're not hungry." Asked again, a little later, "Are you hungry?" "No, no, we're not hungry." After maybe the third time, my father-in-law, who was starving, must have realized that this kafir son-in-law was just that, an ignorant furriner with no sense at all, and broke down and said, "Why, yes, we are hungry," and so we sat down to a very nice meal. But that was kurma, and this is just curry.

And so this page is all about some aspects of the Indian side of my life. I'm not to the manner born, the way the boys are (mixie), but India, and Meher's family there, are a part of my life and so I've intercalated with the cooking pictures my selection of some pictures that Meher took when she visited her family for three weeks, a few months back, at the end of the summer (remember, JS makes a remark about having to put up with my cooking).

Chicken curry

Chicken wings - 10 or 12
Onions -  2
Fresh ginger root  -  a 3 inch piece
Garlic – 8 cloves
Fresh cilantro leaves - 1 Cup
Tomatoes  -  2
Water 1/8  cup or a bit more
Salt  1.5 tsp
Cooking oil 1/3  cup
Cayenne powder 1 tsp
Ground turmeric 1 tsp
Ground coriander 4 tbsp
Garam masala 1 tsp for garnish

PS: all the spices should be available in East Indian stores.

some of the ingredients

A-D, clockwise from upper left: (A) R to L My baby sister Kausar with her two children, Manaa, and Rashaa, my niece Aliya, and Shameem, the henna artist. (B-C) Shameem's handiwork on Rashaa's hands, before and after washing the henna off. (D) Aunty Meher's early indoctrination of the nieces into Botany. Dissecting a flower of Caesalpinia pulcherrima (I think).

nieces henna 1
henna 2 botany lesson 1

Cut each chicken wing at the joints. Discard the wing tips or save them for stock (not needed for this recipe). So, you should have about 20 to 24 pieces as each wing, if cut along the two joints,  would yield three pieces. Thus, you should have 30 to 36 pieces. Of these the one piece (the wing tip) is discarded or put away for later use. Therefore, you should have 20 to 24 pieces. Good, it's important to get that sorted out.

add the other ingredients
A-D, clockwise from upper left: (A) A market scene just before Ganesh Chathurthi, a festival where statues of Lord Ganesha (the elephant god) are immersed in water. (B-C) Manaa viewing the flower parts of C. pulcherrima. (D) The other India: children collecting broken Ganesha idols and taking them to immerse in water.
Bangalore street botany lesson 2
botany lesson 3 Tiny gods

Peel the ginger and wash it under the tap. Peel the garlic but don't wash it. Chop the ginger and garlic roughly and grind them together with a pinch of salt in a mortar with a pestle. If you have a clever blender that does small quantities, then use it to grind the ginger and garlic. One way or another, get the two well ground.

stir it up
A-D, clockwise from upper left: (A-C) Lotus flowers in a garden in Hyderabad where one India goes for walks. (D) The other India lives close by in make-shift homes.
lily 1 lily3
lily 4 lily 3

Chop the onions. Keep aside. Chop the cilantro leaves and also set aside. Chop tomatoes and set these aside too.

Line up all the ingredients before turning the stove on for cooking. It's best not to look for ingredients while cooking.

and stir it some more
  lilies again

On a fairly hot stove, heat the cooking oil. Add the chopped onions, stir and cook until translucent. Add the chicken pieces (remember the 20 to 24 pieces?) and stir well. Now add the ginger and garlic paste, and the chopped cilantro to the chicken pieces, and stir them together. Cook for a couple of minutes. Then add salt, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, and stir to combine well. Cook for about five minutes as the chicken pieces get well coated with the spices. Lower the heat if things are getting burned. Then, add the tomato pieces and stir well. Add the water and stir some more. It is at this point that a lot of fluid comes out of the chicken. Put a lid on and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes under low heat. Stir every five minutes to make sure the curry is not sticking to the bottom. If it seems too dry, add a tiny bit more water. The chicken is done when the flesh comes off the bone easily. At this pint, turn the heat off, sprinkle the garam masala on top and let sit for a few minutes.  Serve with rice and or naan.

The curry can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Heat or nuke and serve.

and it's almost done


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Hot Pasta Salad with Pesto




text and images on this site copyright © 2008 M. Shaik, T. A. Dickinson, A. K. Dickinson, and (or) J. S. Dickinson
posted by tim dot dickinson at utoronto dot ca on 31-Dec-2008