Mint flecked Chicken curry

Its amazing how things you make in a hurry, or do no prep work for end up tasting great. I should put a disclaimer on the ‘tasting great’ part, cause I didn’t taste this chicken curry. Its based on the verdict of a few friends who came for an impromptu get-together, or rather ‘lets all cook and eat-together’ evening.

I am a vegetarian, which is a huge surprise for people who know me, because I come from a huge family of meat-lovers. Been this way since childhood. But, growing up watching mom make a lot of non-vegetarian dishes and my family enjoying them, I knew how to cook meat. Lucky for DH, or the poor guy would have starved his heart out.

Anyway, the get-together menu was going to be simple, chicken curry with chapatis. But, chatting with friends, hardly makes you aware of how time flies. I quickly threw this chicken curry together, while my friends helped with the chapatis.

Ingredients:

2 lbs of whole chicken, cut up

1 onion , chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

2 tbsp canola oil

4 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

2 pods of green cardamom

1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste

1 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp of red chilli powder

2 tsp of coriander powder

1 tsp of garam masala

1/2 cup of mint leaves

salt to taste

Grind to a paste:

1/2 cup of grated coconut(I defrosted frozen grated coconut)

1 tsp of fennel seeds

1/2 tsp of cumin seeds

1/2 tsp of whole black pepper

1 tsp of poppy seeds (kasa kasa)

1 tbsp of fried gram dal (pottu kadalai)

Method:

Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat, add the whole garam masala – cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and wait till it sputters in the oil. Add the chopped onion, and saute till it turns golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell disappears. At this point, it tends to stick to the bottom of the pan. Its ok. The, add the turmeric and tomatoes and salt. I always add salt after I add tomatoes, because it helps pull the moisture out. This pulls the bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan and also softens the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are soft. Add the chicken. Add the chilli powder, garam masala and the coriander powder. Cover and cook till the chicken is done. There was no need for me to add any water, because the chicken gave out liquid while cooking. But, if needed you may add water at this point. By the time the chicken is cooked, the spice powders would have also cooked and the raw spice smell develops into a beautiful aroma. Add the ground mixture and water to achieve gravy of desired consistency. Bring this to a boil and add the mint leaves. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

The compelling reason to post this recipe, and that which differentiates this from your day of the mill chicken curry, lies in the last two lines of this recipe. The mint leaves. I usually add cilantro to garnish chicken curry. I rarely use mint leaves and even so, not more than a few. I was out of cilantro yesterday, but I did have a half bunch of mint in the fridge and I felt guilty calling the curry done without a speck of green in it. I added all the mint, and voila….the most aromatic chicken curry awoke my senses.

Verdict: Although, I could only give my verdict based on the smell, I could tell you it was divine. But everyone who tasted the curry gave it five stars, and they all agreed on the mint being the star of the dish.

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