First things first, don’t be too impressed with this photograph. I had to pull it off the Web. Why? Because I was sure dinner wasn’t going to work out. Then when it became amazing, I tried to take a picture but my memory card was still in my computer, not my camera. My other memory card was in my memory card reader. Then my pretty dish started getting very unpretty as the yogurt sauce started melting into the hot dish. I considered not even blogging about it but it was so delicious, how could I deprive you?
It was actually all a total fluke. And I love it when that happens. It almost makes me think I might have some kitchen flair. That will last until I burn and cut myself again.
I was trying to figure out dinner because Mother Hubbard’s cupboards are shamefully bare and grocery day is tomorrow. (Being ankle deep in dog hair forced some attention to this poor neglected house today. It takes longer than one would think. For a minute, I thought we adopted a fourth dog I forgot about. It was that bad. Trust me.) So, back to the bare pantry. Almost bare. I spy a can of coconut milk. Remember the red curried mayonnaise? I still have red curry. In my dry goods I see some jasmine rice. And I know I have chicken thighs in the freezer. I decided on Indian food.
I love eating Indian food! But I’ve never actually cooked Indian food. Oh well, what the heck. If worse comes to worst I take a night off blogging and you all think I had a nice salad for dinner.
It was not a disaster. It tasted just Chicken Tikka Masala from my favorite Indian restaurant! It was missing basil and lemongrass because so was I. The yogurt sauce was missing cucumber and/or mint because Staci can’t tolerate either. But it still was really good! Here’s what I did (I’ll post you a recipe tomorrow) :
I dried the chicken thighs (boneless skinless) and put salt, pepper and mild paprika on both sides. Seared them in a medium high heat pan with a little olive oil. Once they were seared on both sides, I removed them. The goal was a sear, not a cook.
What do we do when we sear meat, my friends? DEGLAZE, of course! (have you not learned anything yet?) I deglazed with about 1/3c sherry. Once all the good brown bits were unstuck I added a chopped onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic. This where the winging it comes in. In goes the can of coconut milk, 2Tbsp tomato paste, 1/2 lg can of crushed tomatoes, 2 Tbsp red curry paste, 1tsp yellow curry, 1tsp salt, 2tsp sugar (to balance the acidity of all the tomato) and then I lightly sprinkled cayenne across the top. I cubed the chicken thighs and threw them in. I stirred it all together and tasted. Yay, I was on the right track! It didn’t have quite enough heat so I added some more cayenne. Then I stirred in a cup of uncooked jasmine rice and the juice of half a lime. I threw it all in my clay chicken pot, put the lid on and put it in the oven for 35 minutes. While it was cooking I chopped a handful of cilantro and 2 garden onions from bulb to end.
I also wanted something cool to balance the heat. I had some Greek yogurt in the fridge from all the butter making. I combined a cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1/3c mayo and added some honey and lime juice. It was screaming for mint but did stand on its own. I had some naan bread on the verge of going bad so I put them on a cookie sheet, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a little ground salt and put it in my warming oven.
When I pulled the curry out of the oven, the rice was a little firmer than I would like but Staci took one bite and declared dinner time! That extra cayenne had packed quite a punch so I was glad I made the yogurt. I scooped the deliciousness into bowls with a generous dollop of yogurt sauce (think Indian sour cream), and the cilantro and green onions. Warm naan bread and a side of butter lettuce with olive oil, lime and salt and pepper completed the meal.
I swear was transported to an ashram in India! Wait, no, that couldn’t be because we were watching Friends. But it FELT like it! It was so warm, my eyelids were sweating by the end but just warm enough for me. Staci thought it a hair too spicy but cleaned her bowl just the same. She just added a little more yogurt sauce.
I love when anticipated disaster turns into a wide-eyed exchange of “wow, that’s really good!”. So enjoy, my friends and spice it up out there!
Happy reading, joyful cooking and spread the love!