Hey everyone! Welcome back! I'm so glad you're here with me to learn about the wonders of safe cooking. In the past when I experimented with curry from scratch, I ended up having to flush my eyes out in an attempt to rid myself of the lingering effects of fresh spices in open bodily orifices. Sounds bad, right? Correct. It was bad. However, here in the Penguin Snacks kitchen we are TURNING A NEW LEAF! Which means... dun dun duuuuuuun! It's time to break out those spices again!
Now what excited me about this recipe in Restaurant to Another World was less how amazingly excited the guy was to eat his chicken curry and more how non-Japanese the curry itself looked. Japanese curry has a distinctive brown color, ranging from light to dark, and typically always has pretty visible chunks of meat and vegetables. Furthermore, Japanese curry, unlike Thai and Indian curries, tends to be sweet in flavor, rather than hot-spicy. In this version, though, no such vegetable chunks were to be found, and it has a delightful red hue to it that is totally foreign to any kind of curry I've seen in Japan.
Even more peculiarly, the curry is served in a side dish! You almost NEVER see this with Japanese curry – it is always directly served onto the rice. And of course, the diner found this dish to be very spicy, spicier than what he's used to eating. This led to the amazing conclusion that spicy food goes well with bland and non-flavored side dishes, such as rice. Shocker, I know. In any case, since I almost always make Japanese curry, I was really interested to give this dish a go and see if I could make a yummy curry at home.
Since it wasn't a Japanese curry, I had to use my best judgement to decide if it was Thai or Indian inspired. In the end, I chose Indian for a few reasons. One, though it's red, and red curries do exist in Thai cuisine, the consistency looked a lot thicker than what you typically see in Thai cooking, where the curry sauce is quite soupy. Second, the lack of visible vegetables in the dish. In nearly every Thai curry I've had, the protein is mixed in with chunks of vegetables that are easy to discern. This dish had no veggies in sight, and in fact it's even mentioned that the veggies are cooked down into the sauce so that they aren't initially visible until you taste the curry itself.
With my recipe decided, I had to gird my loins in preparation for this dish. The last time I made a curry from scratch, I really hurt my eyes by accidentally spilling spices into them. (It's complicated. I can't even clearly remember how this happened, and I was the only one there to experience it. What I do remember is the BURNING PAIN.) However, at Crunchyroll Expo someone who came to my panel stayed after to encourage me to try making curry from scratch, so I decided to pull myself together to try again. This time, I had no curry spice mishaps, and I'm pleased to report that this dish turned out fabulously. Chickeny-tomatoey-creamy-spicy. This dish tastes special, probably because of all the different spices in it, but is actually a cinch to pull together once you get past all the measuring that goes on.
From start to finish, it took me about an hour of VERY slow cooking to make, and once you get everything in the pan it is incredibly easy to cook up, and almost impossible to get wrong. I highly recommend giving this a try, especially if you like leftovers! I have enough food for an entire week now! Maybe I should warn my coworkers that I'm about to be the curry-eating queen of the staff lounge at work? Hmmmmm. Decisions, decisions.
Watch the video below to learn how to make your own chicken curry!
Ingredients for the Chicken Curry:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp water
15 oz crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 tsp garam masala
To Make the Chicken Curry:
1. Finely chop the onion. Grate or mince the garlic. Cut chicken into cubes and salt generously.
2. Heat oil in a pan over high heat. When hot, brown the chicken in batches, making sure to brown each side. Set aside on a plate.
3. Leaving the oil and liquids in the pan, sautee the onion, garlic, and ginger about 5-10 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
4. Add in the curry powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and one tablespoon of water. Stir and let cook, about one minute.
5. Add in the tomatoes and water. Salt generously. Add the chicken back in. Stir through.
6. Add in the yogurt. Stir through and cover. Let simmer about 5 minutes.
7. Add in the garam masala. Stir through. Let simmer another 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
8. Give a final stir through, and serve with rice.