Wednesday, 2 January 2013
Winter warmer - Cumin spiced chicken with Tomatoes
Well, here we are, 2013 and whilst there might be a frisson of excitement as we make plans about how this is the year where we eat less, work harder, take more exercise, take risks, live life to the full, yadda, yadda, yadda, the shining light of optimism is not matched by the weather. Today has been like living in a room where the walls are made of rain and cloud, and it has seemed as though it has barely got light, the day being merely a lighter shade of dark than the long night that surrounds it.
Still, as Nigella said when she was talking about cinnamon rolls, winter does have its compensations - mostly culinary - and this is one of them. If you are not curried out from turkey leftovers (this Christmas I bought only what I felt we needed, meaning that I have had not needed to force feed the clan a seemingly endless supply of cold meat sandwiches and 'pies',) then this might be the meal for you. Robust enough to blow the winter blues away with a hint of spice, but light enough to seem as though you might actually be doing yourself some good by eating it. After all, your body is a temple right now, isn't it?
I try not to make consecutive recipes from the same source, as I like to mix it up a little, but this recipe is also from those clever people at BBC GoodFood. A couple of years ago I bought 'GoodFood 101 Best Ever Curries' and this is one of many superbly simple recipes to spice up your life. I did adjust the amount of chicken I used as we like more of a wet curry here and I knew this sauce with its coriander and tomato would be delish. I also seasoned with plenty of black pepper and a spritz of lemon juice once the sauce had reduced down to give the sauce a sour kick. That tastes better than it sounds, trust me. And of course, you can always control the heat with the amount of chilli powder you put in. I stuck to the recommended 1/2 teaspoon and it produced a pleasing and mild warmth rather than a searing, taste bud destroying heat.
I served this simply with plain basmati rice. Very nice it was too!
Cumin spiced chicken with tomatoes, adapted from GoodFood 101 Best Ever Curries
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad
My adaptations in red.
4 tsp cumin seeds (I only had 2 tsp left, so I used a heaped tsp of ground cumin instead)
3 tsp vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
700g/1lb 9oz skinless chicken thighs (I used 600g)
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 tsp coriander stalks
1/2 finger length knob of ginger, cut into thin sticks
400g chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
2 tsp garam masala
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish
juice of 1/2 lemon
seasoning, to taste.
Dry roast 2 teaspoons of the cumin seeds until fragrant. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the remaining cumin seeds and cook until they begin to crackle, then add the diced onion. I improvised here by firstly putting my chopped onions in, closely followed by the heaped teaspoon of cumin.
Fry the onions until soft, then add the chicken to seal, cooking for about five minutes.
Then add the garlic, ginger and coriander stalks and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Stir in the tomatoes, the turmeric, the chilli powder, two tablespoons of the coriander leaves, plus a teaspoon of salt.
Cover and simmer for about 40- 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce hasn't thickened then remove the lid and boil rapidly to reduce the sauce to the desired consistency.
Meanwhile, coarsely grind the roasted cumin seeds (I used a mortar and pestle).
Taste for seasoning. You will probably have to add a little more salt. If you like, add a few grinds of black pepper and stir in some lemon juice to give the sauce some zing.
Serve with rice and a sprinkling of the roasted cumin seeds...and more coriander sprinkled over, if you like.