Category Archives: Food

Slap-Your-Mama Chicken Curry

Put the following into a food processor:

  • Half a large onion
  • 5 or 6 or 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 3-or-4-inch piece of ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • .5 tsp ground cumin
  • .5 tsp black pepper
  • a few shakes of turmeric
  • about tsp of kosher salt
  • .5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 or 5 small canned whole tomatoes (or whatever you get from a 14 oz drained can of whole peeled tomatoes)
  • .5 cup of water

Puree this until well combined and set it aside.

For the rest of the dish, you’ll need:

  • The other half of the onion you used for the curry paste, sliced thinly
  • 2 cups of plain yogurt, at least 2% fat content (not fat-free, don’t skimp on this)
  • approx. 2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs (I have also used leftover thanksgiving turkey and chicken breast, but nothing is better for this than thigh meat)—chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup water
  • couple big TB of chopped cilantro
  • Rice, preferably basmati or brown
  1. In a large saute pan, heat some canola oil at medium/medium-high
  2. Saute the onion until they get some good color
  3. Add the curry paste from your food processor, pull the heat down to mediumish. Cook and stir frequently for about ten minutes.
  4. Add in about a cup (maybe a little less) of the yogurt and keep gently simmering another ten minutes. It will thicken up a lot and most of the liquid from the yogurt will cook away. Keep stirring and scraping.
  5. Add the chicken, remaining yogurt, and water. Let it come back to a simmer and go until the chicken is cooked through, depending on the size of your chunks, about ten minutes more.
  6. Now take the chicken back out with a slotted spoon, set it aside.
  7. Bring the heat back up and thicken the sauce until it’s where you want it…I like it pretty well thickened, but it’s just a few more minutes.
  8. Gently salt and pepper everything as you go, by now it’s probably fine, but taste to be sure.
  9. Recombine everything and serve over rice, with the cilantro for garnish.

You could probably add some golden raisins to this, or, if you like the heat, add some jalapeno to the curry paste. The real magic is in the repeated cooking-down of the curry as you build the flavors together. Inspired by and adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper, which is a terrific cookbook.

The amount of water you use to boil pasta disgusts me

Harold McGee (think “Alton Brown before there was Alton Brown”) writes what would seem a blasphemous article about cooking pasta using less water, a change which he estimates would result in “saving 250,000 to 500,000 barrels of oil.”

I’ve chided relations on occassion for not using enough cooking water for pasta, without ever really knowing why (other than I tend to be a somewhat bossy and annoying backseat cook). But I have always wondered what would happen if you used less water or started with cold. 

That’s the difference between me and these other guys: I just wondered. McGee actually tried it!

(via Rebecca Blood)

Cooking: humanity’s ‘killer app’”?

As reported in The Economist, Harvard’s Richard Wrangham has a theory that “cooking and other forms of preparing food are humanity’s ‘killer app’”:

Cooking is a human universal. No society is without it. No one other than a few faddists tries to survive on raw food alone. And the consumption of a cooked meal in the evening, usually in the company of family and friends, is normal in every known society. Moreover, without cooking, the human brain (which consumes 20-25% of the body’s energy) could not keep running. Dr Wrangham thus believes that cooking and humanity are coeval.

In fact, as he outlined to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in Chicago, he thinks that cooking and other forms of preparing food are humanity’s “killer app”: the evolutionary change that underpins all of the other—and subsequent—changes that have made people such unusual animals.

(Hat tip to Alisa for the link on FB)