Category Archives: Indian

Chicken Vindaloo

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I love Indian food. The complex spices and layers of heat are both comforting and warming. When we first moved to Albania there weren’t any Indian restaurants in Tirana. Whenever we traveled outside of the country we always made sure at least one of our dinners involved an Indian restaurant. But when we were at home I took to making my own Indian food in order to fulfill my cravings. Even after one opened its doors, I still preferred to make it myself.

The ingredient list for Indian dishes may seem long due to the many spices. Sure you could take a short cut and purchase a pre-made spice mix or even buy the spices already ground but then you would be missing out on so much of the complexity of the flavors. Investing in a spice grinder was one of the first things I did when I began my foray into cooking Indian food and it is one of the best purchases I ever made. There really is nothing better than freshly roasted and ground spices.

And despite what many people think making Indian food at home doesn’t have to be difficult. This Chicken Vindaloo dish, adapted from Saveur Magazine is one such example of how easy it is to make flavorful and authentic Indian food at home. This dish is fiery hot but if you prefer milder flavors reduce the number of chili peppers you use and choose a mild or smoked paprika rather than a hot variety. I make my Vindaloo hot and temper it with the potatoes and rice and wash it all down with a cold beer. And to please the youngest palate in the house, I sometimes I also serve cumin dusted carrots along with the chicken.

CHICKEN VINDALOO

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

5 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 cup Hungarian paprika

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

16 cloves minced garlic, divided

1 2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced

5 red chilis, stemmed, seeded and minced

5 green chilis, stemmed, seeded and minced

1 pound small potatoes, peeled

Cooked white rice, for serving

  • Heat peppercorns, mustard, cumin and coriander seeds, cloves, and cinnamon in a 12″ skillet set over medium-high heat. 
  • Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the spices are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
  • Working in batches, transfer spices to a spice grinder and process until finely ground.
  • Transfer the ground spices to a small food processor and add the paprika, vinegar, turmeric, sugar, ¼ of the garlic, and half the ginger; puree until smooth.
  • Move to a larger bowl and add the chicken. Use your fingers to rub the spice mixture into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  • When ready to proceed, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 25 minutes.
  • Add remaining garlic and ginger along with chiles, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken along with any remaining paste in bowl, the potatoes, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, and season with salt; serve with rice.

Serves 4-6

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Creamy Tomato Curry

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I love Indian food and think this curry is delicious.  Not only is it fast and easy to make, but it is flexible. Adjust the amount of spices according to your preferences.  I used boneless pork as the protein because it is what I had on hand, but you can also substitute an equal amount of chicken, shrimp, fish or firm tofu.  And as an added bonus, I was able to put a dent in my vast supply of coconut milk and spices.  Serve the curry with jasmine rice to absorb the yummy sauce.

CREAMY TOMATO CURRY

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, grated

2-3 hot chili peppers, chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

3 tablespoons curry powder, or more to taste

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, or tofu, cut into bite sized pieces (peel and devein the shrimp but leave them whole

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

  • Heat the oil in a large wok.  When it is hot, add the mustard seeds and cook for 30 seconds or until they begin to pop.
  • Add the garlic, grated ginger, and chili peppers and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes until they release their juices.  If they begin to stick add a few drops of water.
  • Add the curry powder, chili powder, and turmeric; stir for 1 minute.
  • Add the protein and toss.  Pour in the coconut milk and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce the heat.  Allow the curry to simmer until the protein is cooked through 4-5 minutes (but this will depend upon what you are using).
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