Sometimes life is about putting yourself out of your comfort zone and taking risks. Maybe you should ask for that promotion, maybe you should ask that person out on a date, maybe you SHOULD ask for a trade from a team that has gone to 3 consecutive finals with arguably the best player of all time who, for all intents and purposes, has managed to successfully mask your glaring flaws. But hey it was fun while it lasted, right?
Or you can do smaller scale things like attempt to cook Indian food. A word of caution before we start, this recipe calls for a considerable number of spices many of which you
may will not use again1. This could make this recipe a bit pricey if you do not already have some of the spices on hand (Indian food? Spices? Shocking.) One clever mental trick thing I do when buying a new $6 spice bottle is I tell myself “well technically since I’m only using like 5% of the thing, it’s only really like 30 cents2“. That totally smooths the blow when the final grocery store receipt comes out to be $50+ and I didn’t even buy any actual food.
This recipe is not some ancient family recipe. Actually come to think of it, none of my recipes have feature Chinese cuisine. In fact 3 out of 4 have contained chicken…I should whip up a pork belly recipe soon!
I basically scoured the internets for recipes and videos for a 1 entire weekend afternoon and cherry-picked what I thought were the best parts of each recipe. Apologies in advance to all the aunties and uncles out there who can
probably definitely do this 10 trillion times better than this.
1 Just like that gym membership you signed up for in January.
2 I do the same thing when buying bulk alcohol. I have poor budgeting skills.
- Chicken Breasts (3 lbs boneless and skinless)
- Garlic (8 cloves)
- Yellow onion (2 medium)
- Serrano Peppers
- Whole milk Greek Yogurt
- Heavy Cream (8 oz)
- Tomato Purée (2 28oz cans)
- Lemon juice
- All-Star lineup of spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon stick, chili powder, paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, cardamom)
The total cook time is ~2 hours and recommended overnight chicken marinade.
The chicken brine and marinade prep follows a similar process as the fried chicken recipe. Link here if you need a refresher (I have enough posts to self-promote…whoopie!). Cut the chicken breast into ~1″ cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Brine the chicken for ~1 hour. To be honest, the first few steps were a bit of a relief. If there’s ONE thing I’m confident in, it’s making passable chicken…so with that attitude, how bad could the rest of this recipe be?
Grate ginger and garlic (about twice as much garlic as ginger). Then in a small bowl mix 4 tablespoons of whole milk Greek yogurt, ginger, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Pour out chili powder, paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and cardamom onto a flat plate. You want to do this, so you have some sense of how much of each spice you are using. Seriously do not try to be a hero and make it too spicy.
We will be precise! Measurements! Science! I think you’ll want to use more chili powder and turmeric than the other spices? I don’t know. Actually don’t quote me on that. Anyways, mix in the spices with the yogurt marinade along with salt.
Pour the marinade over the chicken and cover in plastic wrap. Let the chicken sit in the fridge overnight, or at least for 4 hours if you are following live and just read this section, or didn’t pay attention to the disclaimer in the beginning.
Pour a thin layer of vegetable oil in a deep stock pot over medium heat. Sear the chicken cubes until they are browned (I actually prefer slightly charred burnt bits), and then set aside.
Finely dice the onion and pepper, and mince the garlic and ginger. Saute the onion into the stock pot along with another helping of some ¯\(°_o)/¯ combination of chili powder, paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and cardamom along with a cinnamon stick. Cook until the onion are translucent (clear, not caramelized).
Add peppers, garlic, and ginger, and cook until onions are caramelized. So help me god if you undercook the onions and use UNcaramelized onions, I will use the new Snapchat location feature to send someone to kick over your stockpot and make you start again. You are wasting beautiful, natural flavors1. Caramelized onions are great on pretty much any food item! Burgers, pasta, soup, a shoe.
1 Aren’t we all about this organic, farm-to-table, non-GMO, “ingredients you can pronounce, because apparently chemistry is scary” food movement now?
Pour the tomato purée and bring the sauce to a boil. Then turn down to a low heat and simmer 1 hour while stirring occasionally. DEFINITELY put a cover over stock pot even if you think there is ample space. I thought there was no chance the tomato could splash out of the pot, but of course I was wrong. Now my kitchen looks as if Aroldis Chapman was warming up by chucking tomatoes at my burners.
The end result we are after is a smooth and rich sauce with a texture similar to butternut squash soup. There should be no bits or pieces floating in the sauce. Strain the sauce by placing a metal sieve over another stock pot. Ladle the tomato puree onto the colander to catch the onion, garlic, or ginger. Press against the metal sieve so the tomato puree makes it throw the metal mesh.
Throw the onion, garlic, and ginger bits into a blender and puree. Repeat the straining process.
Put the stock pot over a burner on low flame. Add a tablespoon of butter. After the butter has been mixed into the sauce, add the chicken and mix into the sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Add in creme de la creme (heavy cream) and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with toasted naan and garnish with chopped cilantro for added fresh, citrus flavor1.
1 It also adds for some nice color in the dish, which according to a Harvard study can add at least 27 likes to your Instagram post.