Happy belated Halloween, all! The last few weeks have been so busy, I didn’t even realize it’s been 12 whole days since my last post. Ahem, clearly I need to do a better job of posting regularly, but I’m not going to be too hard on myself. I want blogging to continue feeling like a hobby rather than a chore.
Anyways, life has been keeping me busy lately with work, amazing fall weather, and the usual fun fall festivities. I just love this time of the year! Two weekends ago, my husband and I celebrated Durga Puja (a Hindu festival honoring the Goddess Durga) by getting decked out in our Indian clothes, attending a Bengali community gathering at UIC, and then cooking up a Bengali feast at home. I feel like I’m finally mastering my mom’s classic chicken curry and wanted to share the recipe with you guys. It’s incredibly simple to make, but always hits the spot when I’m craving homemade Indian food. It really is the best comfort food and I love how Bengalis add a little bit of sugar to their chicken curries. It makes all the difference.
Enjoy the recipe and give me a shout if you have any questions!
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
6 chicken drumsticks, 6 chicken thighs
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tbsp milk
1/2 large onion, sliced into long slender pieces
4 garlic gloves, grated
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
Optional: 3 green chilis, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp peppercorn
1.5 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1/2 tomato, finely diced
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
In a large bowl, marinate the drumsticks and thighs in the Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon of haldi and a sprinkling of salt. Don’t go overboard with the yogurt, because it can easily curdle while cooking! I’ve learned that the hard way.
While the chicken is marinating, prep the onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes. Heat the oil on a large pan. Once the oil is hot, drop in the sugar until it becomes to caramelize. Stir the sugar around the pan so it doesn’t stick to the pan – this is what will give the curry a darker color. Fry the onions, garlic, and ginger in the sugar until the mixture becomes a little brown. Throw in the tomatoes, remaining haldi, garam masala, chili powder, optional spices, and stir for a few minutes. Drop in the chicken pieces (get rid of the watery yogurt mixture that’s remaining in the bowl – this will curdle!) and fry on each side for a few minutes till they start browning slightly. Pour the milk over the mixture to help tenderize the chicken. Season the curry generously with salt and continue stirring so that all the chicken is coated in the onion and spice mixture. Add half a cup of water, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Let the curry simmer on low for 20-30 minutes – note that the thighs will cook first (after 15-20 minutes), so remove them into a separate platter to avoid overcooking. The drumsticks will take slightly longer to cook. Once the drumsticks are done, taste the curry to make sure it’s seasoned to your liking (this is there stage where I usually add more garam masala or chili powder!).
Finally, garnish the curry with fresh cilantro leaves and serve with a steaming hot plate of rice and a side of Greek yogurt. Best enjoyed on a rainy, homesick sorta day.