What is most surprisingly about this "chicken curry in hurry" recipe from Hari Nayak's My Indian Kitchen is how many corners it doesn't cut. There is no cream here, or even yogurt. Instead, a spice mixture is blended up and cooked until it thickens, meaning this isn't exactly the quickest "curry in hurry" recipe, even if it doesn't really take that much time. Luckily, it sure is flavorful.
It helps that the chicken is browned first so you get that wonderfully meaty backbone in each bite. But I think most of the dish's success comes down to that fragrant spice mixture, which includes onion, turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cumin. Some garam masala is also added in later on, which lends a surprising amount of complexity to this curry.
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 serranos, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
In a blender, combine the onion, serranos, turmeric, garlic, ginger, cumin, and a couple tablespoons of water. Process until it is a smooth paste. Add a little more water if you need to.
Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and the salt. Cook, stirring often, until the chicken browned, seven to ten minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pieces and set aside, leaving as much of the fat behind.
Reduce the heat to low and add the spice paste. Cook until very fragrant, about two minutes. Add the chicken back in, along with the tomato paste, and garam masala. Stir well, and cook until everything is combined, three to four minutes.
Pour in the water and stir until mixture is combined. Cover the skillet, turn the heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If needed, season to taste with salt. Serve the curry with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and white rice.