Hunker down people, this is a beast of a post. Keep all hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times, and do not pass go. (uhhhh, things got a bit confused there for a moment. Back on track.)
I LOVE Indian food. However, I had a really hard time getting a recipe that suited my fancy. Some of them were just too chalky, or too watery, or just not flavorful enough. So I started cobbling together different recipes, adding here and subtracting there, until I got something that was amazingly tasty. There are a few different parts to this, so I decided to split it up into parts to make it more manageable.
A side note: There is a LOT of coconut in this version. I’ve added some alternatives for those allergic to coconut, but they it’s for those that deal with dairy well. The full fat in the dairy makes it a bit more kosher to paleo peeps, but not Whole 30 friendly. The coconut oil can be substituted with ghee throughout.
First up, the chicken needs to be marinated overnight. Or, you know, two nights if you are like me and run out of juice the night it was supposed to be cooked. But either way, it should be marinated at LEAST one night.
The ingredients for the marinade:
– 2lbs or so of boneless skinless chicken (I still like thighs!)
– 4 cloves of Garlic
– Decent sided chunk Ginger
– 1 TBS Cumin
– 2 TBS Tandoori Seasoning
– 2 TBS Garam Masala
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 4 to 6 TBS Coconut milk (replace with full fat yogurt if needed)
I got both the tandoori and the garam masala came from Penzyes Spices. Everything about placing an online order was AWESOME. I can’t highly suggest these guys enough. Go, place order. Love them!
Hardware for the Marinade:
– Well sealed glass container for the chicken to marinate in. Go with glass, as the seasoning is very aggressive. The plastic can absorb the oils, and everything in that container will forever taste like curry. I’ve been trying to get away from as much plastic as possible, and picked up these terrific resealable glass storage containers. I love these things. A glass bowl and some plastic wrap will work fine too, but instead of shaking the marinating chicken every once in a while, it’ll have to be stirred.
– Smaller container, to store leftover coconut milk
– Meat cutting board
– Solid knife
– Can opener
– Measuring spoons
Chop up the chicken on the meat cutting board, then wash the knife after. Throw the cubed up chicken into the glass container to be marinated. I know, raw chicken, ewwww!
Open up the can of coconut milk and stir it up. Coconut milk tends to settle naturally when it’s left sitting around. It’s perfectly normal, and it’ll be just fine with a good stir.
Dump two tablespoons of garam masala into the chicken…
two tablespoons of tandoori seasoning…
and a tablespoon of cumin.
Peel the ginger and garlic. I actually wouldn’t have minded a touch more of each in this dish, but this is a good baseline.
Grate the ginger into the dish where the marinade is being built…
then the garlic.
Don’t forget to scrape down the back of the grater. A fine dice will also work for this, but I’m lazy.
Cut the lemon in half, and add the juice.
Pour in 4 tablespoons of coconut milk into the mess. It’s a delicious mess though!
Reserve the leftover coconut milk. Don’t seal it up quite yet though.
Put the lid in the chicken and marinade, and give it a good solid mixing. (Feel free to sing while you do it. I always do…)
A few different factors can affect the wetness of the marinade, like the amount of chicken, and humidity and whatnot. If it’s looking a little dry (like above) add a couple more tablespoons of coconut milk and shake again.
Et voila. This looks sort of perfect. Put the top back on, and let it sit overnight or two nights or whatever, giving it a shake every once in a while.
Now, the day of cooking has arrived.
Ingredients for cooking:
– The marinated chicken (duh)
– 2/3 cup coconut milk (heavy cream can be used instead of the coconut milk)
– Some tomatoes (Around 6 normal sized tomatoes. I only had a weird mix of heirlooms, so I just used those.)
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 heaping TBS tomato paste
– 2 TBS coconut oil
– 2 TBS butter (grass fed butter. The Kerrygold Irish butter is soooooo good!). Ghee would also work here, but the butter adds a good deal of richness.
– 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
– salt to taste
– A nice sturdy pot. I love my dutch oven. I use it for all sorts of things
– Food processor
– Measuring Spoons
– Spoon or Rubber Spatula
If using big tomatoes, cut out the stem and tough core area, and chop the tomatoes up. For the wee little ones, just toss them directly into the food processor.
At least the ‘maters look pretty in the processor!
Add a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste to the food processor bowl…
and then set it awhirl. Pulse it a few times…
until it is a saucy blended mess. Let that hang out for a bit for the time being.
Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the pan. Get it pretty hot so that the chicken can be cooked and the spices can get toasted.
Unveil the marinated chicken. It smells so yummy!
Dump the chicken into the hot pan… try to take a picture through the steam. Realize the camera detects spirits, and wonder what kind of crazy ghosts have possessed the chicken.
Keep cooking the chicken until it’s mostly cooked through. Try taking pictures by aiming the camera, and blowing the steam away and snapping the picture at the same time. Realize the whole thing looks insane.
Add the tomato sauce…
And don’t be a dumbass like me.
Add 1/2 cup of water…
2/3 of a cup of coconut milk.
Stir in the coconut milk. At this point the whole thing will look quite pretty at this point. Once it reduces and what not, it’s not going to look as pretty, but it will be way tastier.
Add a teaspoon of pepper…
and 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir the whole mess together, and reduce the heat to medium low.
Let the whole thing simmer and reduce. Let it get nice and thick. This will take a little a while, probably around an hour or so. While this goes on, it’s time for the last little bit of work. Cauliflower rice!
– A head of cauliflower
– Coconut Oil
I’m an idiot and forgot to take pictures of the hardware needed. Also, I had taken about a million pictures at this point, and my brain was fried. So, for the record…
The hardware needed:
– Food processor (just rinse the tomato goop out of it… it’ll be fine!) with a shredder attachment. I haven’t tried it, but I imagine a box grater would work here too, just be careful.
– Sharp knife
– Frying pan
– Rubber spatula
First, cut all the green bits off the cauliflower to clean it up. Chop up the cauliflower into manageable sized bits.
Run the bits through the veggie annihilator (erm, shredding food processor.)
Seriously, don’t be like me. Empty the bowl out before it gets too full, and do another batch. It can make an almighty mess if it gets out of control.
Add some coconut oil to a pan. The amount of oil really depends on the amount of “rice” being cooked. Get the pan good and hot.
Once the pan is nice and hot, add whatever amount of rice needed. Move it about and let it cook until it’s nice and hot.
Add salt and pepper, and let it cook a bit longer, until there are some nice, brown, crispy bits.
Stick a pile of cauliflower on the plate, and make a well for the curry. Ladle the curry in, and enjoy!