Chicken Curry stars in Foods of India Cooking Class

June 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm 2 comments

How good was our Foods of India Cooking Class?   As I was unpacking near midnight, my sweetie who just arrived home said he’d like to taste our creations, but that he wasn’t that hungry.  Two plates of food later, he declared that this was the most amazing Indian food he had ever tasted!

Karen and Tracie finishing the Chicken Curry with Coconut milk.

Since the class, I have made the Chicken Curry with Rice Pilauf several times.  I can’t get enough.  The aroma takes me right back to the class, which was so magical.

Zenith prepping cucumbers for Raita.

We started by sipping Mango Lassis with some relaxing Indian music in the background to get us in the mood.  Then the team of Lynda and Iris fed us  Baingan Ka Bharta (Indian for Eggplant Dip).   Our guest Chef, Zenith instructed us on all the Indian spices she uses in her cooking.

The spices are what really make Indian food special and the aromas filling the hall at our Foods of India cooking class was intoxicating!  Guest Chef, Zenith shared some of her secrets.

Zenith keeps her Spices in Tins

1. The key is in roasting the spices…in canola oil.  Don’t use olive oil as the flavor is too strong.

Spices in Mortar/Pestle; Spices sizzling in canola oil.

2.  Do roast spices in the oil before adding in other ingredients.

Vegetable Pilau – Rice Pilaf

3.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Zenith is not a recipe type of cook and she believes that you should use the ingredients that are fresh at hand.  Change up the vegetables in the Rice Pilauf to what you have in your crisper or freezer.

Saag Paneer – Spinach with Paneer Cheese

4. Taste the food to make sure the spices are balanced and there is enough salt to bring out the flavors of the ingredients, particularly in the Dhal.  The lentils soak up all the flavors and really need salt to balance, so don’t leave it out.  Also there is no salt in the paneer cheese used in the Saag Paneer, so it is important to add salt to bring out all the flavors.  Zenith is continually tweaking her dishes by tasting and adding more spices as she goes.  Her tolerance for heat is greater than mine and it may be different for you or your guests, so adjust accordingly.

Raita – full of yogurt and cucumber balances the spicy Indian meal.

5. Indian food is fairly healthy as it incorporates mostly vegetables and legumes – the dhals.  If you want Fresh Food in a Flash, Indian food is ideal.  Just learn the basics and you can get something on the table quickly when you get home from a busy day.  Yes there are a lot of spices, but don’t be tempted to use a mix.  The combining of the individual spices is what will make a difference in Indian cooking.

Zenith is a real treasure and it was a pleasure to have her in class to help us all understand better the Foods of India.

Print This Recipe

Indian Chicken Curry

  • 1 pound chicken breasts — boned and skinned, cut into 1″ pieces
  • salt  to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbs ginger root, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or plain yogurt

1. Cut chicken into pieces.  Season with salt and chili powder – let sit 1/2 hour

2. In skillet, heat canola oil on medium heat, add cumin seeds. When they start to sputter, add onions.   Cook until translucent, then add chicken pieces.   Cook chicken a few minutes until sealed.

3. Add garlic and ginger, cook 3 minutes and then add all remaining spices.  Add tomatoes.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring.  Now add in coconut milk and 1/2 cup water. Stir, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Serve with steamed basmati rice.

Servings: 6; Calories Per Serving 185

Preparation Time: 15 mins; Inactive Time 30 mins; Total Time 60 mins.

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Entry filed under: Cooking Class, Entree, Poultry, Recipes. Tags: , , , , .

Roasted Eggplant Salsa = Indian Baingan Ka Bharta Summertime & the Living is Easy Cooking Class – July 19, 2012

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Patricia K. Rose

I am a Chef, Cooking Teacher and Food Blogger. Learn how to create delicious and healthy food in a FLASH.

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