Weekly Winner: A Curry Like No Other — at least that I’ve had!

2015/01/img_1547.jpg I don’t pretend to be an expert on Indian food, just an ardent admirer. I find that I am drawn to any dish with the word “curry” in it … whether or not curry powder is actually used. I know so many people who claim not to like Indian food or curry because they “can’t stand the smell of curry powder”. What I’ve come to learn is that “curry” is basically a dish made with a complex combination of spices (which may or may not include said curry powder) but which almost always includes some sort of chile pepper. See? Cooking and eating can be educational too!

So, regardless of your take on curry powder, if you like seriously spiced food (not spicy-hot) but a gradual, slow-building warmth as you eat, than do I have a dish for you. It’s Smoky Indonesian-Style Chicken Curry and I got this jewel from Fine Cooking Magazine. The magazine suggests serving it with rice; however since it has potatoes in it, I didn’t think that was necessary. It’s actually perfect just the way it is.  The only change I made was to use boneless, skinless thighs since the recipe called for taking the skin off anyway.

Smoky Indonesian-Style Chicken Curry

Serves 4


5 dried pasilla or New Mexican chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 small shallot, quartered

2 Tbsp thinly sliced lemongrass

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsp sweet smoked paprika

1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

1 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar

1 Tbsp sambal oelek

1-1/2 tsp ground cumin

1-1/2 tsp ground coriander

Kosher salt

6 Tbsp chicken broth

8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

Freshly ground black pepper

1-1/4 lb waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3-1/2 cups)

½ lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2/3 cup thawed frozen peas


Put the chiles in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water; set aside to soften for 20 minutes. Drain, then transfer the chiles to a blender. Add the shallot, lemongrass, tomato paste, smoked paprika, ginger, brown sugar, sambal oelek, cumin, coriander, and 2 tsp salt. Blend the mixture until smooth, drizzling the broth through the hole in the lid and stopping occasionally to scrape down the inside of the jar.

Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread evenly with the chile mixture. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of a 5- to 6- quart slow cooker and arrange the chicken in an even layer on top. Cover and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender and the chicken is tender but not falling off the bone, 2 to 3 hours on high and 6 hours on low.

About 30 minutes before serving, turn the slow cooker to low and sprinkle the green beans evenly over the top, cover and cook until crisp-tender. Add the peas and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir to combine, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.




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