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Feature Recipe:

Baked chicken curry with lemongrass scented basmati rice and mint raita

Ingredients:

For the Curry:

2 tbsp olive oil
5 – 6 medium sized boneless chicken breasts with skin.
1 large Spanish onion finely chopped (½” x ½”)
1 ½ tbsp madras curry powder
½ tbsp madras hot curry powder or to taste
1 tbsp garam masala
6 cardamom seed pods (optional)
3 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes diced
3 golden delicious apples diced
3 roma tomatoes diced
1 – 14oz can of coconut milk + 20 ozs of water
Salt and pepper to taste
Lime wedges and cilantro (for serving)

For the Rice:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk lemongrass with the tough outer leaves removed and cut into 4 pieces
2 kaffir lime leaves (optional) or substitute with ½ tsp. of lime zest
1 small cooking onion diced (about ½ cup)
1 ¼ cups premium quality basmati rice
2 ½ cups water with 1 teaspoon of salt dissolved

Raita: (cucumber mint sauce)

1 ½ cups plain unsweetened yogurt
½ English cucumber coarsely grated and squeezed of excess water
3 sprigs of fresh mint. Leaves picked and finely minced (about 20 leaves)
Salt and pepper to taste

Total prep and cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350°
In a large, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid (such as a dutch oven), heat over a medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil. Season your chicken breasts with salt & pepper and begin browning with the skin side down first, about 6 minutes. The skin should be golden brown and slightly crispy; if not, you may need to turn up the heat. Turn the chicken and brown this side for an additional 5 – 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest.

Add your chopped onion, sauté for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. You should be able to scrape up all those nice, flavorful bits as the onions release some liquid. Add your curry powders and cardamom pods and sauté for 2 minutes more. Please don’t burn your curry powders or the result will be bitter.

Add your diced potatoes, diced apples, and chopped tomatoes. Stir briefly, then add your coconut milk and water, stirring to incorporate everything evenly. Gently bring to a boil and add your seared chicken breasts back into the pot, completely covering in liquid. Cover your pot with the tight-fitting lid and bake on the middle rack for 1 hour. When curry is done and before serving, if it is too loose, just stir for a few minutes and the sauce will thicken by the potatoes breaking down.

In the meantime, let’s make your rice!

In a separate small pot, bring your 2 ½ cups water to a boil. Heat a medium saucepot over medium heat; add 2 tbsp olive oil, your onion, the lemongrass pieces and kaffir lime leaves (if using). Sauté gently for 5 – 6 minutes until the onions soften and lemongrass becomes very fragrant. Add your 1 ¼ cups rice to the lemongrass mixture, stirring well, making sure all the rice is coated with a little olive oil. This will ensure fluffy rice. Add your boiling, salted water and stir lightly. Cover with a tight-fitting lid (or tin foil) and bake for 22 – 24 minutes right beside your curry. When the rice is done, let stand covered for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Now let’s make the raita!

In a medium-sized bowl, add your coarsely-grated and squeezed cucumber, your finely-chopped mint, and your plain yogurt. Mix well, and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble:

Place 2 large spoonfuls of rice in a bowl, making a slight well in the center by pushing the rice towards the edges of the bowl. Serve the curry in the center of the well surrounded by rice and top it all off with a spoonful of the raita. Serve with fresh lime wedges and cilantro. Enjoy!

 

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Chef Keith Little