There is something very comforting about having a meal from your childhood. My mother would fix chicken curry at least once a week when we were growing up. I never understood how labor-intensive it was to fix this dish, especially after a full day of work! It was our favorite meal by far, especially for my brother. Even now, when my brother and I talk on the phone, we often talk about our mom’s chicken curry and how we never can seem to replicate it quite like how she made it. I knew once I got married and moved away, I needed to learn how to prepare chicken curry because I crave it often. It has improved over the years but still, it doesn’t taste as good as my mom’s chicken curry.
Recipe Courtesy of Mercy Samuel
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- 1 large handful cilantro, roughly chopped
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2-3 green chilies, chopped
- 3 lbs of chicken, bone-in and skinless
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 4 tablespoons coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add mustard seeds. Once mustard seeds begin to pop, add onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro, cumin seeds, green chilies and salt. Saute mixture until lightly golden. Combine chicken into the pan and heat for 5 minutes until chicken is seared on all sides. Add tomato paste, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and water and mix until a sauce is formed. Raise to boil and then bring to a simmer. Once chicken is simmering, keep chicken covered and cook for 30 minutes over medium low heat until chicken is cooked. Adjust salt as necessary.
Notes: I find that combining the onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro, cumin and chilies into the food processor is helpful instead of chopping by hand. It creates a paste and will thicken the curry beautifully. It looks very similar to a Latin sofrito.
You can also add peeled and cubed potatoes once the chicken is simmering for additional thickness.
I use only legs and thighs for this dish. I also cut the legs and thighs in half using a meat cleaver because it tends to allow the spices to permeate the meat much better.