Bollywood Week continues on Food Gypsy with some spicy dishes from India, from my kitchen to yours. Let’s go Mango Curry Chicken tonight.
Every once in a while I like to throw myself a little kitchen challenge to shake things up a bit. My Bollywood menu was somewhat of an Iron Chef challenge, using the same ingredient — mango — in the appetizer, the entree and the dessert.
Let’s face it, I’ll never be on Iron Chef America, not in this lifetime, but I love to take one ingredient (or flavour) and weave it throughout a meal. It pushes me to think about a savory ingredient and move it into something sweet or, vice versa.
With mango I chose to push it from sweet and spicy with a hot mango dip with some light onion pakoras to start, then move it to savoury and spicy with the Mango Chicken Curry, and finally ending with sweet and cold for dessert with a mango sorbet with candied ginger and a ginger infused rum and spicy pistachios.
The Vino: A nice Cave Spring Riesling (from Ontario no less) for a solid balance with a strong, spicy meal. Other suggestions from Foodie Gypsies include “a sparkling red” from Astrid DesLandes or “an Alsace, a Gewurztraminer or a good hoppy beer” compliments of Graham D. Duff. Excellent options my little Foodies. Thank you.
Or that was the plan. It was a good plan. Things were going perfectly (to plan) until the cook derailed with a nasty stomach flu, shortly following the appetizer, that leveled her for three days. Dinner was delayed a day then enjoyed by others while the usual ‘cast iron’ status of this Gypsy gut returned.
We never did get to dessert. That gorgeous organic mango sorbet is still left sitting in the freezer. I think I’ll make it into a smoothie with the THREE containers of strawberries I bought yesterday (3 for 1 – I HAD to buy three, it’s a rule.) You have to laugh, that’s life. These things happen.
This recipe has been tweaked over a couple of sessions of Indian cooking, finally finding the right balance. Mango Curry Chicken is a milder curry, bright with colour and texture, with a complex spice balance.
Gypsy Tip: Often your best bet for spices are your local health food stores. In my downtown Ottawa neighborhood, the aptly named Herb & Spice Shop (375 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON) is a treasure trove of fresh spices, many available in bulk. (Because who wants to buy $10 bucks worth of curry leaves when you only need 4 leaves?)
The ‘kasoori methi’ was tricky to find. But I did find it, at the Indian Grocery Store (675 Sommerset St, West, Ottawa) along with anything else my heart desires for authentic Indian Cuisine and plenty of well intentioned advice from the nice lady who pointed me in the right direction.
“Oh, you want fenugreek leaves.”
“No, I want kasoori methi” I say with my little piece of paper handy for pronunciation purposes.
She shrugs. “Same thing.” I must have looked crest fallen, she smiled and asked “What you making?”
So I filled her in on my plans and held up bags of things in my little cart and she appeared genuinely impressed that was not using a sauce out of a jar, so she gifted me with some Mango Curry Chicken wisdom.
“Usually an Indian Chicken Curry is made from onion and tomato masala but with Mango Curry we use raw mango, also known as kacha aam (kairi) in Hindi, instead of tomatoes.”
I love learning new things. Both sweet and acidic, I can see why mango would substitute well for tomato.
Sometimes simple recipes such as this one, can turn out to be true show stoppers, with very little effort.
So don’t try too hard.
Mango Curry Chicken Recipe
Ease of Preparation: Easy
Time: 90 minutes
1 kg (3pounds) chicken (skinless, on the bone, cut into small pieces)
2 Onions, thinly sliced
1 Teaspoon ginger, finely minced (or paste)
1 Teaspoon garlic, finely minced (or paste)
2 Tablespoons oil
3-4 Whole cloves
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
2 Whole green cardamom seeds
2 – 4 Green chilies, chopped (spice to taste)
2 Teaspoon coriander powder
1 Teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 Teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Small raw mango (peeled and chopped)
2 – 3 Sweet (yellow/red) peppers, sliced
2 Cups Okra, cut into 2 inch pieces, steamed separately
3-4 Curry leaves
1 Tablespoon kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
Salt to taste
- Heat oil in non stick cooking pan and crackle the cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon. Next, saute the onions till light brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Add all the dry masala powders, chicken and mango. Stir and cook on high for 3-4 minutes.
- Add peppers and stir to coat.
- Add 1-2 cups water (to cover ingredients), salt, curry leaves and kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and stir.
- Transfer to oven-safe pot, cover, reduce heat and cook (about 40 minutes), or place, covered in preheated 350* oven and cook (about 30 – 40 minutes) and cook until chicken becomes soft and tender.
- Five minutes prior to the end of cooking time place cut okra in microwave safe bowl with very little water, cover and lightly steam, 2 – 3 minutes. Then drain any liquid and reserve (Little fluid prevents the okra from becoming slimy and maintains its colour)
- Remove curry from heat, stir in okra, steamed separately, and let stand covered, for 10 minutes
Garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with roti/naan or rice and enjoy! Also pictured, Lamb Vindaloo and Sultan’s Rice – both recipes available here.
Put on your sparkly bracelets, dance to your favourite Hindi beat and break out the Kama Sutra. What? It’s Indian…
Happy cooking Foodie Gypsies.