Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rachel Ray's Indian-Style Crock Pot Curry

When my husband and I first moved into our new apartment, there was a period in which we had a million boxes and my cookbooks were all buried somewhere so I ended up searching the internet for some good crock pot recipes.  (In fact, if you skip down to the last photo, you can see some of the unpacked boxes on the floor behind my husband.)  On June 23 I tried making a recipe I found online: Rachel Ray's Indian-Style Curry.  I picked this recipe because my husband absolutely loves Indian food, having grown up with close family friends who are Indian. Interestingly, this recipe is different than many of the other ones I've made, and in a really brilliant way that just, silly enough, never occurred to me.  Most of the recipes I make have you put most of the ingredients in the crock pot, then mix the sauce in a separate bowl and pour it over everything else.  What is cool about this is it really was one-pot cooking.  It has you make the sauce first in the crock pot, then add the other ingredients and stir everything together.

As you can read from the link above, the sauce is made out of coconut milk, tomato paste, curry, coriander, cumin, and hot sauce.  Then you add all the other ingredients and mix it together: onion, garlic, ginger, bell pepper, eggplant, sweet potatoes, chick peas, chicken, salt, and black pepper.  Now I skipped the salt, as I often do.  Also, although this recipe called for bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, I substituted boneless, skinless chicken thighs -- of course I find that my favorite cut of chicken is the boneless, skinless chicken breast so these days whenever I have a chicken recipe I tend to use that regardless of what it actually calls for (especially when they are on sale at the grocery store!).  Then you cook on high for four hours.

This is what it looked like before turning it on.

And this is what it looked like when finished cooking.

Now, the recipe as listed on the Rachel Ray website suggests that you serve it over white rice and garnish it with lemon wedges, scallions, cilantro, peanuts, and mango chutney.  I decided to serve it over rice, but skipped the ridiculous amount of garnish completely.  Looking back over my receipt (that I dug up out of a pile of old receipts to figure out how much I spent on this meal), I did purchase everything for the garnish at Trader Joe's but I think I forgot about it when it actually came time to serve the recipe -- which would make sense because I wouldn't have looked up the recipe online again before serving four hours later.  Overall, both my husband and I thought this was a good recipe, but it is a very mild curry and doesn't feel very Indian -- more like an American take on Indian food.  Of course, if you wanted to make it more spicy, you could use more hot sauce or throw in some crushed red pepper.  But still, it was yummy.

Now, at this point, this was so long ago that I can't even pretend to remember how many servings we got out of it so I'll use Rachel Ray's estimate of four servings even though I'm pretty sure we got more than four servings out of this.  Of course, I also used the whole eggplant instead of just half as she recommends... cause what would I do with half an eggplant?  In terms of calories, this one is pretty heavy, especially if you include the rice.  The curry itself is about 587 calories per serving, if you're counting for four servings.  Then, add about 140 calories to each serving for the rice, making this meal almost 730 calories per serving without adding a salad or a beverage.  However, since I suspect that I actually got more than four servings out of this, I will note that this recipe is only 392 calories per serving for six servings (so even with the rice, only about 532 calories per serving -- much more reasonable for someone who tends to be sitting at a desk all day).

In terms of cost, this was actually a bit pricey for me to make, but part of that was because we had just moved into our new place and so didn't have any spices and such yet and I had to purchase all of them.  The one thing we already had on hand was the hot sauce because my husband is addicted to Tapatio.  Using 4 servings, this comes out to $8.39 per serving (not counting the garnish) if you have to purchase everything (though if you make it into 6 servings, it's around $5.59 per serving).  However, if you cook regularly and already have the spices on hand, it's a much more reasonable $5.17 per serving.  Still -- 4 meals for the week at under $10 per meal?  Not too bad for those of us on a limited budget.


Finally, I apologize for having been a week late with this post.  Somehow, I planned to be updating my blog the same weekends that I've scheduled to submit drafts of my dissertation prospectus to my seminar.  So, it's quite possible that some weeks until I get this done will be a little late.  But such is the life of the grad student.