Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Traditional Chicken Curry

The last semester was really hectic for me with teaching for the first time and applying for dissertation fellowships and this blog has clearly reflected that, in that I didn't have any time to update. But this upcoming semester should be a lot calmer, so I'm going to try to be a little more consistent with updating and plan to do so about twice a month, around the 1st and the 15th of every month. This gives me a little more leeway than trying to update every other weekend.

So I made this Traditional Chicken Curry from the Indian Slow Cooker cookbook over a year ago (on 28 September 2011), but I can't update with anything I've made more recently because I can't seem to find the charger for my digital camera and all the photos that I have on there are stuck there for now. I'll keep looking... I'm sure I put it somewhere after my France trip and I'm pretty sure that I didn't leave it in Paris... (For my vegetarian friends, I just noticed that the same author now has a Vegan Indian Cooking cookbook, that apparently has both slow cooker and stove-top recipes.)

This is a pretty simple recipe, but you need a food processor for it. I was able to use the "food processor"-type attachment for my immersion blender which was effective, but it's not great for these things, especially because of the size. My parents got me an 11-cup food processor for Christmas, so from now on I'll be able to use that for these types of things. So first, you mix onion, tomato, ginger root, and garlic in the food processor until it comes out smooth. Now, I didn't have the exact amount of ginger for this that the recipe called for, so I added some dried ginger as well, approximately according to this substitution policy. Would it have tasted different if I had used all fresh ginger? Perhaps, but this recipe worked with a mix of fresh and dried.

After you have a paste, you add salt (though, knowing me, I probably left out the salt), turmeric, garam masla, vegetable or canola oil, plain yogurt, red chile powder, and dried methi leaves. I got the methi leaves from Amazon.com (this is the kind I purchased, but I would have gotten ones that were Prime eligible, so I didn't get these exact ones).

This paste gets poured over chicken in the slow cooker. Now, the recipe calls for "3 pounds (1.36 kg) skinless whole chicken, cut in about 8 pieces including the breast, legs, and wings (boneless can also be used)." As people who have followed this blog can guess, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

To this, you add a cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, whole cloves, and halved green chiles. I also got the cardamom pods from Amazon.com. Then you cook it on low for 8 hours.

This is what it looked like before I turned it on.

And this is what it looked like after cooking for 8 hours.

An optional step is to add 1/2 cup boiling water toward the end of the cooking time if you like your dish with more broth.  I did not do this. The recipe suggests serving this "over a bed of basmati or brown rice or with roti or naan." As you can see from the pictures, I served it over basmati rice with a salad.

Now, since this was so long ago, I don't remember how many servings I got out of this, but the cookbook says you get 6-8 servings. I imagine that a lot of this depends on how many pieces of chicken you end up with. In terms of calories, this is a pretty substantial meal, especially if you only end up with 6 servings. Not counting the rice, I calculated that this is about 380 calories for 8 servings and 510 for 6. With the rice, that ends up around 530 to 660 for the meal, not counting the salad which, with dressing, can bring your total up to over 700 or 800 calories -- a full mean for someone my size and even substantial enough for my husband (though I'm sure he went back for seconds).

Cost-wise, this is still under $10/serving if you have to buy everything. I calculated based on my purchases around $5.81/serving for 8 servings and $7.74/serving for 6. I had to get most of the ingredients for this recipe, though I already had turmeric and garam masala from the Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes I had made over the summer (and the vegetable oil, of course). So I spent around $4.64/serving for 8 servings and $6.19/serving for 6. You could eat this meal for 3-4 days of a week and have spent under $50 total for your dinners for that week. Pretty good for those of us still on a graduate student's budget.

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