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)
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.
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.
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
Notes: Dark meat with the bone in makes for heartier stock and allows the chicken to simmer in its own juices. Serve with naan or rice.
Wine: A Spanish Tempranillo with good fruit and balanced tannins is a great complement to this curry.
1 heaping teaspoon whole cloves
1 ½ teaspoon black cardamom seeds (about 10 whole pods)
6 heaping tablespoons cumin seed
1 tablespoon pounded cinnamon sticks
¼ teaspoon ground mace
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Turn on your stovetop exhaust fan. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat cloves, black cardamom seeds, cumin, and cinnamon on medium to high heat, stirring constantly. When the cumin seeds become a darker shade of brown, remove from stove. Transfer the roasted spices to a bowl and cool for 20 minutes.
Place roasted spices, mace and nutmeg in a spice (or coffee) grinder and grind until the mixture has the consistency of store-bought ground black pepper. May be used right away. Will also keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Makes ¾ cup