slow-cooker goan chicken coconut curry

Goan Coconut Chicken Curry

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I had a great time spending it with my friends while we ate and drank copious amounts of good food and wine. At about 7 or 8pm, the tryptophan-induced sleep kicked in and we were all extremely tired and sleepy. If I remember correctly, by the time we got home and walked the dog, our eyelids were too heavy and we were so tired to sit up and watch any television. I am thankful that we get Friday off or it would be terrible to go in to work. Still, I am amazed as to how some people have the stamina to go and wait in lines for those insane Black Friday Deals at all the stores the night before. I really don't think I could do that after such a large meal, so more power to those who can and I hope they score great deals.

Garlic and Ginger

After a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and a very busy time cooking, I think most cooks like me would prefer a simple and easy meal with hardly any prep work. This recipe is exactly how I remember my grandmother's chicken curry tasted. I remember this curry when we'd visit her house, she would serve it with rice and a few other accompaniments for lunch, however at night we'd simply eat it with baked bread and sop up the broth. She was never a big fan of eating rice at night as she said it was too heavy to eat before bed time. Simple yet comforting is what this curry is. The curry is infused with delicious coconut milk and a blend of aromatic spices. I've tried to make it simple by skipping out several steps where the spices need to be fried with the onions and removed the oil completely. It's pretty much a leave-it, shut-it, and forget-it kind of recipe. Most Goan curries generally use fresh coconut milk squeezed out from freshly grated coconut to make them hearty and flavorful. I use canned coconut milk since it is easier to find when fresh coconuts are not in season.

Onion, Bay leaves and Chilies

You can use substitute any kind of dried chilies in this recipe but I prefer to use Kashmiri chilies and always keep them on hand. Otherwise, even fresh green or red Thai chilies would be great here. I bumped up the number of tomatoes in this recipe and you can leave the seeds too. Using low-fat coconut milk reduces the amount of saturated fat in the curry keeping it healthy. I also skim of the extra fat that floats to the surface at the end but if you use lean and skinless chicken then you should not end up with too much. I was nervous at first about using a slow cooker for preparing this curry but it turned out to be so easy with minimal work and reminded me so much of my grandmother's curry, that I had to share it with you.

Tomatoes

goan chicken curry

yields: 6 servings

ingredients

4 dried Kashmiri chilies
1 teaspoon cilantro/coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2" piece ginger root, peeled and minced fine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin removed
2 cups reduced-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium sized onion (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped)
4 large tomatoes (about 3 cups chopped)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
salt to taste
cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Heat a skillet on a medium flame and roast the chilies, cilantro seeds, and peppercorns. As soon as you smell the aromatics (this will take less than a minute or two), remove the spices from the pan and grind them in a processor or coffer grinder with the garlic and ginger.
2. Set the slow cooker to the high heat setting and time to 5 hours. Add the ground spices, the chicken, and the rest of the ingredients, except for the salt. Stir the contents once and cover with the cooker with the lid. You can occasionally stir the chicken curry during the cooking process after one hour.
3. After 5 hours, the curry will be done and the chicken will be soft and tender. At this point season with salt according to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with plain rice.