April 12, 2012

Quick Chicken and Spinach Curry

Indian food is a multisensory experience. There's the taste, of course, the layers of flavor from toasted spices, ground spice pastes, and onions. There's the visual component, the bright red chili powder, marigold turmeric, and earthy ground cumin and coriander. There's the smell of cloves and cinnamon hitting hot oil. And the audible hiss of onions sizzling away.

And don't think I've forgotten the sense of touch. Indian food is much more tactile than other cuisines. Traditionally, we use our fingers as our utensils. And when I think of Indian food, a big part of my mental image is the way it feels in my hand.

When I visualize this chicken and spinach curry, for example, I can practically feel the soft, pillowy naan in my fingertips as I scoop up a tender piece of chicken while a drop of thick, spinach-filled curry escapes down my finger.

And that's all before the bite even reaches my mouth. Once there, it's a riot of textures and flavors. Exciting, and yet comforting.

A treat for all the senses.

Combine yogurt, ginger/garlic paste, turmeric, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Add chicken and marinate overnight.

Sauté onion until golden brown.

While the onion browns, combine ground spices: cumin, coriander, garam masala, chili powder and paprika.

When the onion is golden, add the spices and sauté until fragrant.

Add the chicken. Stir and cook until the chicken is opaque.

Add the spinach and mix thoroughly.

Add coconut milk.

Simmer until the chicken cooks through and the curry thickens.

Dig in!

Quick Chicken and Spinach Curry

Recipe from Mehan's Kitchen

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp ginger/garlic paste
1 Tbsp turmeric
black pepper

1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp canola oil
20 oz frozen, chopped spinach (thawed)
1 14-oz can coconut milk (I used lite)
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp paprika

1.    Mix together Greek yogurt, ginger/garlic paste, turmeric, salt and pepper. Add cubed chicken and mix together. Marinate for several hours or overnight.

2.    In a medium pot sauté onion in oil until soft. Add spices and sauté for a few minutes, until fragrant.

3.    Add chicken and cook until the chicken is just opaque. Add spinach (no need to drain). Let this cook and allow flavors to combine as water evaporates slightly.

4.    Pour in coconut milk. Simmer for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings if needed.    

5.    Serve with naan or rice. 

Serves 4

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