Chicken Curry Dish Melds Thai and Indian Influences


Like many meat curries and kebabs, they are often either marinated in yogurt or finished with ghee (clarified butter), which presents a problem in the dairy/meat realm. But a smidge of coconut milk solves that problem, resulting in terrific flavor and texture.

This menu was born out of a desire to create Indian dishes that work for the Exponent audience.
Because many meat curries and kebabs are either marinated in yogurt or finished with ghee (clarified butter), they present a problem in the dairy/meat realm. I started experimenting with coconut milk and found the result was pretty terrific in both flavor and texture. Best of all, it elicited unbridled praise from my teen daughter, a rare commodity indeed.
The fact that the dish veered more toward Thailand than India in the end didn’t really matter.
The broccolini was a bit of a revelation, too. I have used this traditionally Indian “Sabzi” preparation many times with carrots,cauliflower, potatoes and peas, but was unsure about how broccolini, a vegetable that is not generally associated with that part of the world, would behave. It may well have been the best version of the dish I’ve ever made, and now will be a go-to in my side dish arsenal.
For dessert, I would opt for something simple, yet exotic: sliced mangos garnished with fresh mint leaves, pineapple chunks sprinkled with toasted coconut flakes, passion fruit sorbet, tamarind or guava popsicles. The latter can often be found in Latino or Asian markets.
Green Chicken Curry with Coconut
1½ lbs. boneless chicken
1 bunch cilantro
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 can of coconut milk, shaken and divided
Juice of 1 lime
¾ teaspoon salt
Red pepper flakes to taste (or fresh chili pepper, or hot sauce such as Sriracha)
2 tablespoons canola oil
In a blender or food processor, make the marinade: Puree cilantro, onion, garlic, ½ can coconut milk, lime juice, salt and pepper or hot sauce, if using.
Place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware, and cover with the blended marinade. Refrigerate it anywhere from an hour to a full day.
Heat the oil in a large pot. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade (save the marinade) and sear them in the oil, about one minute per side.
Pour the marinade over the seared chicken, and add the remaining ½ can of coconut milk. Cover the pan and lower the heat to simmer. Cook for two hours until the chicken falls apart when poked with a fork.
Using two forks, pull the chicken into shreds, taste for salt and serve.
This is wonderful over brown or white basmati rice, or served in a bowl on its own with warm naan.
Serves 4 generously
Curry Pickles
2 cucumbers, skin on, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
¾ cup water
Place the cucumbers in a small bowl and set aside.
In a small skillet, place the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. These can stay in the brine, refrigerated, for several days. Serve warm, at room temperature or well chilled. The leftovers are excellent on sandwiches.
Serves 4 generously
Cumin Broccolini
2 bunches broccolini, rinsed and trimmed, if needed
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
In a large skillet, heat the oil, salt, pepper and cumin seeds; let it cook until the seeds splutter.
Add the broccolini and stir to coat it with spices. Cover and cook over medium until just done, about eight minutes. While cooking, stir several times to ensure the spices remain evenly distributed.
Serves 4 generously



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