Since I was covered in tomatoes from the farmers' market and needed an interesting way to use them, I immediately jumped on a tomato curry recipe from Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries. I decided to add chicken, and without consulting the recipe any further, got started with the few ingredients necessary. Not until I chopped up the tomatoes did I realize they were supposed to sit in the sauce like the main dish—I was supposed to leave them whole. Why else would the recipe call for fresh and canned tomatoes?
Rather than toss my wooden spoon on the floor, I kept on cooking. Since it was now my mishap of a recipe, I started playing around by adding more heat and a sprinkle of garam marsala at the end for extra depth. After all the mistakes, I sat down to a pretty stellar tomato curry.
Like many Indian-inspired dishes, this one has more ingredients than the average quick, simple Dinner Tonight recipe. But four of them are spices, and most—onions, garlic, dried red chillies, and canned tomatoes—are just pantry staples. The dish can be finished in about 45 minutes. All in all, a pretty successful failure.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 4 dried red chilies, chopped
- 1 1/4 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 1/2 teaspoons garam marsala
- 1 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 8-12 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt
- 1 chicken breast, cut in half
- 1 chicken leg, thigh separated from leg
Pour the oil into a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they soften. Add the garlic and the red chilies, cook for a minute, and then add the mustard seeds, ground turmeric, cumin seeds, and ginger.
Remove the skin from the chicken, and add to the pot. Cook for five minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, and 1 3/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces and set on a plate. Turn off the heat, add the yogurt and garam marsala to the pot, and stir until incorporated.
Plate the chicken, and pour the sauce on top.