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30-Minute Meals 2: Sweet 'n Spicy Chicken Curry in a Hurry with Fragrant Basmati Rice

Here's where things fall apart in 30-Minute Meals 2. I think it's possible to make Indian food fairly quickly, but this recipe, as well as Chicken Tikka with Charred Tomato Chutney and Warm Flat Bread, are not good examples of Indian food adapted to a western kitchen.

In her notes for the recipe, Ray says that her mother came up with the idea of using mincemeat because she wanted to sweeten curry without using coconut milk. An interesting idea, but in reality it just doesn't work. I made the curry with mango chutney, a substitution that Ray suggests for the mincemeat. I can't see it working well with mincemeat either, to be honest. It's a one-dimensional plate of sweet chicken with a spicy aftertaste. Nothing more to it than that. It doesn't come anywhere near the layered interplay of spices and flavors that exists in real Indian food. If you're yearning for curry, get take-out before you try this recipe. It'll only disappoint you.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: at least 4 servings

2 cups basmati rice, prepared according to package directions
1 tsp each coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds

2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 1/3 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, diced
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 can chicken broth
2 Tbsp curry paste, mild or hot
1 cup mincemeat, or 1 cup mango chutney
Coarse salt, to taste

Toppings and Garnishes (Mix and Match)
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup toasted coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds or Spanish peanuts
1 cup mango chutney
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

For fragrant rice, toast coriander, cumin, and mustard seeds in the bottom of a medium saucepan. When seeds pop and become fragrant, add water, bring to a boil, and prepare rice as directed on package. For plain rice, do not use seeds.

Heat oil in a large, deep, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and lightly brown. Add garlic, ginger, and onion, and sauté together another 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a bubble. Stir in curry paste and mincemeat or chutney and reduce heat to medium low. Add salt to taste. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes.

Assemble toppings in small dishes. Serve curry in shallow bowls with scoops of plain or spiced rice. Garnish with any or all toppings.

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.