May 31, 2011

Coriander Chicken with Spinach

Today's featured recipe is a curry of my own invention.  I decided I wanted to make a curry that featured a slightly different mix of typical curry spices, and chose coriander as the dominant flavor.  I also wanted to feature meat and vegegables in the same dish, so I added some spinach.  

A last touch came to me when I realized the heavy cream I had in stock was past expiration date.   In Indian cooking, dairy products such as cream are often added along with lemon juice or another souring agent, but since I had some buttermilk in the refrigerator, I decided to to use it.  It worked like a charm and made for a rich, flavorful gravy.

Coriander Chicken with Spinach

yield = 4 servings

3              tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2           teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2           teaspoon black (or brown) mustard seeds
1              large onion, chopped crosswise into thin rings
1              tablespoon fresh, peeled, grated ginger
2              teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2        teaspoons ground coriander
1/2           teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4           teaspoon turmeric powder
1 1/2        pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, dried with
                  paper towels and chopped into bite-side pieces
2              large, fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2           teaspoon table salt
1/3           cup water
8              ounces baby spinach, chopped
2              tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
1/2           cup buttermilk
2              teaspoons garam masala

Heat two tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is shimmering, add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop.  

Add the onion and cook until it has started to brown.  Add another tablespoon of oil, allow it to heat up for a minute or so, then add the ginger, garlic, coriander, cayenne and turmeric and cook until fragrant (about 45 seconds). 

Add the chicken and cook until it is no longer translucent, then add the tomatoes, salt and water. 

Bring to a simmer, then add the spinach, cilantro and buttermilk.  Heat until bubbling, then remove from heat and sprinkle in garam masala.   Serve with rice and naan or other Indian bread.

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