Last week Piyush and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. He had to work for the day so I decided to make him a delicious meal before picking him up from the office and whisking him away to watch The Great Gatsby.
Before I get into all the details of the curry, I’ve got to tell you, this recipe was a hit! It was exotic and incredibly tasty. In fact, it was so delicious, Piyush has been asking me to make it every single day since he finished it. That’s definitely not like him…so I know I must have done something right!
I wasn’t entirely certain what I was going to make for our anniversary dinner, but since I had taken some chicken thighs out of the freezer the night before I figured I better create something around those.
So, I looked through the pantry and found some coconut milk, then opened my spice cabinet.
I thought about recreating the chicken curry we order from our favorite restaurant, then I thought about making coriander chicken curry or even a chicken dopiaza. None of those curries really excited me though, so I decided to grind up some fresh cardamom and try something new.
Green cardamom is one of my favorite spices and I knew it would pair well with the coconut milk. It has such a unique flavor–one that can be used in both savory and sweet foods–so I figured tossing some in a chicken curry would taste pretty awesome.
Grinding your own cardamom is easy. Simply smash the green pods and remove the black seeds inside. If you’re feeling a little lazy (like I often do), you can purchase just the cardamom seeds from the Indian market instead of the full pods.
Place the seeds in a spice grinder (I use a coffee grinder) or grind them using a motar and pestle. The powder keeps for a few months as long as it is stored in an air-tight container and kept in a cool, dark place.
I began by making a quick marinade with some garlic, ginger, lemon, yogurt, salt, pepper and cardamom.
I then tossed the chicken in the marinade and let it sit at room temperature while I figured out what to do next.
After the chicken had marinaded for about a half hour, I tossed some ghee in my dutch oven and turned the flame to medium high.
I didn’t want to go overboard with spices because I wanted the cardamom and coconut milk to really shine. I thought it needed a little something extra though, so I tossed in a couple bay leaves. Then I dumped in the chicken.
Once the chicken began to brown and was nearly cooked through, I tipped in some whipped yogurt and the coconut milk. Then, I added some chilies and chopped coriander.
At this point, I began to worry a little. The curry was awfully runny and there was just too much liquid! I’ve said a million times how I don’t have any patience, so right away I began to worry. But then I surprised myself.
Instead of dumping out the excess liquid (and there was an excess!), I sat down, wrote a panicked Facebook status (actual status: Creating a new curry…so far, it doesn’t look promising! Here’s to hoping it turns out!), and waited.
After about 10 minutes of simmering on the stove-top quite a bit of liquid had evaporated and the curry looked something like this:
The curry was still quite liquidy, but I figured it’d thicken up eventually. So, yet again, I walked away.
Another 10 minutes passed, and finally my curry was done!
The gravy really did thicken up nicely, and the flavor was incredible! The chilies, the cardamom, the coconut milk…everything blended together beautifully!
The Coconut and Cardamom Chicken Curry was the perfect anniversary dinner! Piyush loved it! …and I think you will too!
Coconut and Cardamom Chicken Curry
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs- diced
- 1 1/4 c. plain yogurt, divided- whipped
- 1 tsp. ground green cardamom
- 4 large garlic cloves, smashed and minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger, smashed and minced
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp. ghee (may substitute oil)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can of coconut milk (I used Thai brand lite coconut milk)
- At least 2 green chilies, more if desired (I used 3 jalapenos, seeded and sliced)
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice- more if needed
- small handful fresh coriander (cilantro), stems and leaves- chopped
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- Mix 1/4 cup of yogurt, 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom powder, garlic, ginger, some black pepper, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl until it’s the consistency of a thick paste. Add the diced chicken to the paste and stir so that all the chicken is evenly coated. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Allow meat to come to room temperature before cooking.
- Heat the ghee in a large pan (I used my dutch oven) over a medium-high flame and add bay leaves and the marinaded chicken pieces. Scrape in any additional marinade. Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes or until the pieces begin to brown.
- Add 1 cup of whipped plain yogurt and 1 can of coconut milk to the chicken. Stir well. The curry will be very, very runny at this point. That is okay. Allow the curry to come to a boil then turn the heat to medium, toss in the remaining 1/2 tsp. of cardamom powder, the chopped coriander and green chilies. Turn down the heat to medium.
- Add a couple tablespoons of lemon juice and allow the curry to simmer for about 20 minutes or until a majority of the liquid has evaporated and the curry is your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
- Serve with rice or roti (Indian bread). Enjoy!
As for The Great Gatsby, I wasn’t impressed with the movie. The costumes, sets, clothes and jewelry were spectacular and Leonardo did a great job (although I thought he was a little mis-directed), as did Carey Mulligan (she is just too dang cute!); but Tobey Maguire irritated me! Actually, he had me disliking the movie within the first 3 minutes, believe it or not. I really felt he was miscast.
Considering that F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my absolute favorite authors and I love all of his work (especially This Side of Paradise), I’m really not surprised I didn’t care for the movie.
Piyush, on the other hand, loved the movie; but he’s never read the book so he didn’t have anything to compare it to. He also has a thing for Leonardo… haha