Friday, September 18, 2009

Family secret revealed: Vij Family's Chicken Curry

I've written before (click here to read all the salivatory details) about our trip to the North American mecca of Indian food that is Vij's Restaurant in Vancouver, BC. There all is sub-continental and sublime. Before we had left w had picked up a copy of the Vij's Cookbook, which until our visit we hadn't cracked. Since then I am constantly looking for inspiration within. Last week w stated that she had the desire for Indian. Me, always being eager to please, knew just where to turn. But when so much opportunity presents itself, where to start? This seemed as good as anyplace. I mean if it is good enough for Vij's family, and his own mother made it, you think it isn't worthy? Me neither. One bite in, you'll agree. With the other things I've made from the Vij's Cookbook (like this fabulous coconut curried vegetable side), this has remarkably complex flavors that are coaxed out of very few ingredients (that is a few of the key spices at right). The key is each ingredients is so flavorful, that the whole coats your tastebuds in savory pleasure. This is tremendously easy to put together, and so rewarding. One final word: be prepared as feelings of inner peace and happiness are soon to be yours!
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Vij Family's Chicken Curry

½ cup canola oil
2 cups finely chopped onions (2 large)
3-inch stick of cinnamon
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 cups chopped tomatoes (2 large)
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 pounds chicken thighs, bone in
1 cup sour cream, stirred
2 cups water
½ cup chopped cilantro (including stems)

1-In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat for one minute. Add onions and cinnamon, and sauté for five to eight minutes, until onions are golden. Add garlic and sauté for four more minutes. Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne. Cook this masala for five minutes, until the oil separates.
the masala coming together.... and smelling SO good!
2-Remove and discard skin from the chicken thighs. Wash thighs and add to the masala. Stir well. Cook chicken thighs for 10 minutes, until the chicken looks cooked on the outside. Add sour cream and water and stir well. Increase the heat to medium-high. When curry starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring two or three times, until chicken is completely cooked. Poke the thighs with a knife. If the meat is still pink, cook for five more minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Cool curry for at least half an hour.
the chicken after the addition of sour cream & water
3-Transfer cooked chicken to a mixing bowl. Wearing latex gloves, peel chicken meat off the bones. Discard bones and stir chicken back into the curry. Just before serving, heat curry on medium heat until it starts to boil lightly. Stir in cilantro. Divide curry evenly among six bowls.
Serves 6


Victoria said...

Wonder why latex gloves are specified...

bb said...

Victoria....I'm guessing it's to protect your hands from the spices in case you rub your eyes or something. I have to say I didn't use them, washed my hands twice, and was fine. besides the fact I don't own latex gloves......

"Prof. Kitty" said...

Thanks for this recipe! Made it for the family tonight and they raved about it. Made just a few changes (reduced the recipe for 1 lb chicken, used boneless thighs, and also cooked it in a crockpot for 6 hours, then added sour cream & cilantro near the end). It tasted fantastic. Love this blog!

Mithrandir said...

Made this last night. Very tasty stuff. I'm pretty sure the gloves are to keep your fingers and fingernails finger-colored, not turmeric colored. I just used two forks to dig out the bones, because the chicken was still hot.

I found that one medium onion (from a Fred Meyer in Oregon) was enough to produce three cups of chopped onion. But produce seems to vary a lot from region to region. It also took a bit longer to get the onion to golden brown - maybe a higher moisture content.

Anonymous said...

This recipe turned out amazingly! I did make a few adjustments though. I used a large can of whole tomatoes because I find they have more flavor and skins are already off. I didn't have fresh ginger so I used ground and it worked just fine. Timing also works well for bone-in chicken breasts for those of you that do not care for thighs, such as myself.

Anonymous said...

This recipe works extremely well. I've never cooked with so much flavour before! To make it a little healthier, I used half the oil and boneless skinless chicken breasts. With all of those spices, the flavour is fine using 1/4 cup of oil and leaner meat. And it means that it is a lot easier to make, because you don't need to cool down the chicken to debone!