This was an extra-nice sort of chicken curry dinner. We (loosely) followed a fairly involved recipe out of the Vij’s cookbook for tamarind-marinated chicken in a rich curry sauce, and it was well worth the trouble.
It’s a beautiful book, but the recipes suffer a bit from what I think of as restaurant-itis, where every part of every dish is complicated. The way I prefer to cook at home usually involves one involved recipe, like a sauce or fancy side dish, with plain vegetables or a piece of pan-seared meat or fish. But sometimes it’s fun to go a bit further and make something as written. In this case both the chicken and the sauce were good (and good together), and I could definitely see making either again on their own.
The chicken was especially good. Jon used most of a brick of tamarind pulp to make the paste, but you could also use the readymade stuff. The book called for chicken breasts cut lengthwise and grilled, but I used boneless chicken thighs and baked them. It worked excellently, but I do intend to try it on the grill when the weather gets better. This would make amazing sandwiches, perhaps with fresh tomato and cucumber. Mmmm.
The curry sauce had a base of lightly caramelised onions cooked with fresh jalapeño, chopped tomato, and spices, with water added to make it very soupy. Then I mixed some chickpea flour into more water and stirred it into the sauce, then adding coconut milk before simmering it about twenty minutes. The sauce thickened to a creamy consistency, and the end result was rich, yet light and flavorful. We ladled it over the chicken along with sauteed greens and roasted yellow potatoes, which was a really good call on my part, if I do say so myself.
We made way more curry sauce than we needed for the dinner, so I’m thinking of using it for a soup base. Maybe with noodles?
adapted from Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij
- 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs
- 2/3 cup tamarind paste
- 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
- a few dollops of oil
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 Tbsp New Mexico chili powder
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
Combine all the marinade ingredients and toss with the chicken. Refrigerate for about 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Put the chicken in one layer in a roasting pan and bake about half an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with curry sauce and potatoes, or over rice, or in tacos, or in a sandwich, or…?