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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Curry In a Hurry

I have to start out by saying that I am not a huge fan of curry dishes.  I mean, they're good, but I don't seek them out.  The whole idea of coconut milk turns me off.  And the sauce is always to soupy.  What can I say?  I'm just not a curry person.

But, while I may not be a Thai food fan, I am pragmatic.  I have to come up with something to make for dinner every night.  So, sometimes I have to cook outside the box and make something which, on it's face, isn't something I'm all that excited about.

Well then, you can imagine my surprise when I actually really enjoyed this recipe from Melissa Clark for Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Coconut Milk.  The prep was fast and easy, which is always a plus when it's 5:30 p.m. and I'm just getting started on dinner.  In addition, it was, well, in a word, delicious. The sauce has a subtle heat and was really flavorful.  The chicken was tender as could be.

Ted and Kate loved it too, although they both always love curry dishes.  What can I say?  Maybe I'm on the road to becoming a curry lover as well.

Recipe:  Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Coconut Milk
)The New York Times, Melissa Clark, 4/10/2013)


1 (3 1/2-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
Black pepper, as needed
2 tablespoons peanut, safflower or vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely chopped scallion
1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated (1 1/2 tablespoons)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 to 2 jalapeño or Serrano chiles, to taste, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 (15.5-ounce) can coconut milk
2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3/4 cup coconut flakes
1 tablespoon black or brown mustard seeds
Fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges


Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil. Brown chicken pieces, in batches if necessary, until golden all over, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Stir scallion, ginger, garlic and chiles into pot and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in curry paste and cook 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk and sweet potatoes. Arrange chicken pieces on top of potatoes, placing breast meat on top. Pour in enough water to come halfway up the sides of chicken (about 1/2 cup). Bring to a boil. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large dry skillet over medium heat, toast coconut flakes until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mustard seeds and toast until they begin to pop, 1 minute more. Transfer to a bowl and season with a pinch of salt.

Transfer chicken and sweet potatoes to a platter. Return Dutch oven to the stove and simmer over medium-high heat until cooking liquid has thickened to a saucelike consistency, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour over chicken and potatoes. Sprinkle with the coconut and mustard seed mixture and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

YIELD 4 servings

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