Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Basil(less) Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

I want to expand my culinary repertoire. I really, really do. Despite a few obstacles - dirty diapers, loads of laundry, no groceries, lack of willing taste-testers, hair that needs washing - last night I was able to get one step closer to actualizing this dream of mine. I printed this recipe a month ago and have looked it over several times, but the list of ingredients contains things I've never knowingly eaten or purchased. What the hey is cardamom? Will I even like it? And what does coriander taste like? If it tastes like black licorice I'm screwed. Is this Indian food? Honestly, I don't know, but I think it may be Indian. You tell me. Please. You tell me, is this Indian food?

So to make a short story long, cardamom spice costs $10 at Wal-mart. That means it is now an optional ingredient. I opted to leave it out since I have no idea what it will taste like and since I play the lottery each week and never win I figure my luck ain't so good. The basil was wilted and black at Wal-mart, Even though it is important enough to be listed in the recipe title, it is now optional, too. I skipped the Worcestershire for two reasons: (1) I don't love it and (2) if this is an Indian dish, I doubt Indians use Worcestershire (unless they live in Texas).

I doubled the amount of meat that was called for in the original recipe. I wanted the new flavors, but I wanted them less condensed. The end result was pretty good.

Basil(less) Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce
adapted from Elise Bauer's version at Simply Recipes

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon tumeric

2 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs (you can use breasts, but the thighs are more flavorful)

1 large red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeƱo peppers, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil

1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, ground coriander, cumin, ground cloves, cinnamon, ground cardamom, black pepper, chili powder, and tumeric. Set aside.

2. Rinse chicken, pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Put into a bowl and sprinkle the spice mix over all the pieces. Coat well and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

3. Add 1 Tbsp oil to large skillet and heat on medium high heat. Add one half of the chicken pieces, spreading them out on the pan so they are not crowded. Brown for a few minutes on each side. When the chicken pieces are cooked through, and no pink remains, remove from pan, add to the bowl with the onions. Cook the second batch of chicken pieces the same way. Remove from pan, set aside. Use the same pan for the next step.

4. In same skillet heat 1 Tbsp oil on medium high heat. Add the onions and jalapeƱos and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the onions, peppers and garlic from the pan and put into a medium sized bowl. Set aside and add to chicken.

5. Add the coconut milk, minus a couple tablespoons, to the skillet. In a small bowl, mix the remaining coconut with the corn starch to dissolve the corn starch. Add the corn starch mixture back to the skillet with the coconut milk. Cook on medium heat and scrape pan for crusty brown bits leftover from chicken. Stir till thick and bubbly. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce. Add chicken mixture, basil, and ginger. Cook 2 minutes more to cook through.

I served mine with Jasmine Rice and sugar snap peas. The Jasmine rice is so yummy.

(above) I cooked the chicken in 4 batches.

This is right before I took it off the heat to serve.
Confession: After I bought the ingredients for the Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce, I reread the recipe. Where the heck is the curry in this ingredient list? Oh good gravy, what have I got myself into? I did a little research (i.e.: I read the ingredient list on the curry powder jar) and apparently we are making homemade curry. I guess that makes this a really fancy recipe. Maybe the curry powder would have been easier and tasted just as good? Maybe not. Who knows!
Did I mention that this meal was good? It was. It was good when I ate it with the family last night, it was better when I ate it for lunch today. Alone. Without interruption. In silence.
** This is not a kid friendly meal.


Kellys said...

So have you shared the Jasmine Rice recipe? Did I miss it?


Kristy said...

Oh no, it is not what you think. It is rice you buy and make just like any other rice. It is just called jasmine rice (like "brown" rice or "long grain" rice). It has THE best scent and the faintest sweet flavor. It smells up your house in a gentle unobtrusive way. You have to try it. Keep in mind it's not the kind of rice you'd eat with chili or Mexican food. It goes more with Asian foods. Get some a.s.a.p. You must!

Kellys said...

I will have to check it out....although I said that about the "margarita in a bottle" but I have been remiss in finding it as well......

luv ya, p