NOMscapades: Chicken Curry Recipe

My last semester of undergrad, my Fiction class had dinner at the professor's house. She served chicken curry and I was skeptical becaus...

My last semester of undergrad, my Fiction class had dinner at the professor's house. She served chicken curry and I was skeptical because everything I ever had that was curried was just so overwhelming to me. It was no secret that I just hated the flavor. I didn't want to be rude so I didn't complain, I took a big helping of salad and a small helping of the curry which she served with rice and peas. It was just about the most divine thing I have ever tasted. So many levels of flavor discovered with every bite: Is that lemon? Lemongrass? Do I know what lemongrass taste like? Wait, coconut? I went back for seconds but... sadly it was gone. When I couldn't stop thinking about it, I was determined to make it myself and after numerous attempts finally perfected a recipe of my own!

Like Kelis' milkshakes my Chicken Curry has my yard to full of takers! I make it for all major parties and celebrations. So as you can imagine I can pretty much make this with my eyes closed and now I can gladly share the recipe with you!

What You'll Need
Boneless, skinless chicken breast
Jamaican Curry Powder (that's what I use anyway)
Fresh Cilantro
2 lemons (and zest!)
Fresh Ginger
2 Spanish Onions
32 oz carton of Chicken Stock
And/Or Knorr Concentrated Homestyle Chicken Stock
1 can of Coconut Milk
Tomato Paste
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Vegetable Maggi Cubes
Crushed Red Pepper
Bay Leaves
Basmati Rice

Total Cooking time: aprx 1 1/2 hrs.

Mise En Place
1. Get out your cutting board, hand grater, chef knife, Saute Pan (5 quart), pot and strainer. As well as wooden spoon(s).
2. Implement Rachel Ray's garbage bowl method to keep your station nice and clean (...don't buy a $20 bowl for garbage. Use what you have)
3. Clear the sink! (You'll need to wash things as you go as well as strain the rice)

Chicken Rub, Soak Basmati Rice

Chicken Rub:
Fresh Cilantro
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 lemon juice
1/2 Onion

- Give cilantro and onions a rough chop. Instead of mincing garlic simply grate (it saves time)
- Combine ingredients in a bowl with thawed chicken breasts and mix til coated
After I squeeze the lemon, I like to toss it in there and let it marinade with the chicken

Rice Prep: 
2 1/2 cups of Basmati Rice
4 (or more) cups of water

This method I learned from my sister will have the rice ready in 8 minutes! Just soak all the rice in a bowl with water for at least 30 minutes! I do it in the beginning so I don't have to along the way.

Now You're Ready to Cook!

- Heat 2 tbsp of Olive Oil in pan
- Slice 1 onion and saute until caramelized, then grate 3 garlic cloves and ginger (1 tbsp) into pan, saute
Smell-o-vision would be amazing right now. These 3 ingredients alone will yield the most marvelous aroma ever!
- Slice chicken and add into pan and cook, only slightly
- Add 1 tsp of the jamaican curry and stir. 
For juicy chicken, don't cook chicken thoroughly (yet)

Whoops! Forgot the Bay Leaves!
- Add 1 can of coconut milk
- whisk in 1 1/2 tsps of tomato paste and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
-  Add 3/4 of chicken stock, the juice of 1 lemon (careful for the seeds! If cooked they'll get tender but are very bitter), 2 vegetable maggi cubes and bay leaves (which I forgot this time around). Lastly, I like to add a couple of stems of cilantro and fish them out afterwards
- Turn down heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. This allows the flavors to develop and the chicken to cook through. 

This is the time to adjust the stew as you see fit. If you want more tomato flavor add more, if you want more lemon add accordingly, more curry or coconut then add. I like mine less on the tomatoey side. This has become a nice balance for me.

- As your building the stew, bring water : chicken stock, salt and 1 tsp of olive oil to a boil. Or (and this works just as well if not better) use Knorr's Concentrated Homestyle Chicken Stock and melt it in a generous pot of water with salt and olive oil. (The rice should be completely drowning in water. So don't be shy!)

The lemon zest is a very nice surprise!
- Once the water is boiling, remove soaking rice from the water and add to boiling stock/water mixture. It will cook in 8 minutes exactly! So time it!
- While rice is cooking, finely chop cilantro and slice scallions. Also zest 1 lemon (1 tbsp worth)
- Once rice is cooked, strain.
- Into cooked rice add 1 tsp of olive oil, 1/2 tsp of pepper, scallions and cilantro  (save some to garnish the  curry), lemon zest and toss together

When the rice is done, the curry should be as well. Don't forget to fish out the cilantro stems! 
Add the remainder of the scallion and cilantro as garnish AND SERVE!!!

shhhh. I'm nommin.

Here's one alternative method I use:

Chicken Breast on the Bone for juicier chicken
- Get 2 large chicken breast on the bone. Marinate as you would the boneless chicken
- Sear both sides and then pull them out and continue the recipe. 
- When its time to simmer, put the breast back in and let them cook thoroughly. Cover for quicker results.
- When the stew is complete and the breasts are cooked thoroughly let them rest for a few minutes and then shred the chicken and mix back into the stew

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