Solution - To your rescue... comes Thai cuisine....hot and spicy just like we Indians love, yet a distinct flavour, easy to make and hence easy to impress ;-).
But let's play safe...the closest cousin of Indian Chicken curry is the Thai Chicken Massaman Curry. Massaman is just an old word for Muslim, cause that's where the origins of this curry are. This curry is heavy on spices and just like other Thai curries uses coconut milk to tone it down. Chicken can be substituted with beef, mutton, lamb or tofu. Spices like - Red chillies, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds, black peppercorns is what makes this curry hot and spicy. Now you will say, 'That is exactly what we use in Indian curries'. But wait, there are some Thai cuisine - specific ingredients like Galangal, Fish sauce, Lemongrass, Cassia leaves and shrimp paste that sets this curry apart from the Indian curries.
|Thai Chicken Massaman Curry|
Chicken - 1/2 Kg. (I used boneless here)
Potato - 1 medium sized, cubed
Onions - 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
Roasted peanuts - handful
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Cassia leaves - 2-3 (Substitution : Bay leaves)
Coconut Milk - 1 and 1/2 - 2 cups
Paprika - 1/4 teaspoon
Fish sauce - 1/8 teaspoon (Substitution : soy sauce)
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Massaman curry paste - store bought or homemade - see the recipe below.
For Massaman Curry paste: (Or just get a packet of Massaman Curry paste from store)
Dry red chillies - 2-3
Black Peppercorns - 2-3
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 2
Coriander seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Coriander stalks - 1-2
Lemon grass - 1 stalk
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Shallots - 1 small
Mace - 1 small piece (Hindi : Javitri)
Shrimp paste - 1/4 teaspoon (Can be found in Asian supermarkets)
Dry roast peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, red chillies, cumin seeds, mace and coriander seeds. Ground these spices. Make a paste of these powdered spices, ginger, coriander stalks, garlic, shallots, lemon grass and shrimp paste. This paste can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.
1. Heat oil in a pan. Add Cinnamon and Cassia/ Bay leaves.
2. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the Massaman Curry Paste and saute' until fragrant.
3. Add cubed chicken pieces and mix well with the paste. Cover and cook for a minute.
4. Add Coconut milk and Paprika and mix well. Add half a cup of water and cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add onions, potatoes and roasted peanuts. Add fish sauce. Fish sauce is for Thai cuisine, what soy sauce is for Chinese. But you can always substitute it for soy sauce or salt, if you don't find one in the stores.
6. Add sugar and water and let simmer until the oil separates or chicken is cooked.
Serve hot with the fragrant Jasmine rice. (Substitution : Basmati rice)