In our family and I think in most families, birthday dinners are kind of a tradition and expectation. So when my step-mom’s (or other-mother as I prefer to call her) birthday came around we needed to make the usual decision of going out or staying in. Out of a desire to actually enjoy the evening we decided to skip the restaurant meal this year and stay at home.
Eating in a restaurant with two small kids just isn’t all that fun sometimes, either for the parents or for other diners. It’s not that dinners out are impossible but there is the potential for chasing small bodies around crowded restaurants, coaxing them out from underneath tables and the guarantee of either not tasting the food or sort of enjoying it cold. So instead I made dinner at their house. The kitchens bigger and the kids are entertained playing with their grandparents leaving me to happily play in the kitchen.
I made a fish curry because OM loves fish and good Indian food is hard to find where we live. The Island is an amazing place to live but if you’re looking for wonderful, diverse ethnic eats you may find yourself a little disappointed or have to drive really far. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that we have on occasion driven an hour just to have good dim sum and I would consider flying back to Edmonton just for my favourite Indian buffet. But, it’s given me a good reason to expand my culinary wisdom and I can honestly now say I make a damn good curry. And this one isn’t just for special occasions. It is quick enough to be good any night of the week.
When my sister (who unfortunately still lives too far away) heard what I made she was bummed she missed out but was excited she might see the recipe on my site. She hasn’t had the time to try out a bunch or different recipes looking for a good one. Fortunately, she trusts my cooking skills and I hope when she tries this one out she will be as happy with this dish as we all were.
Curry from scratch may have seemed daunting before but I promise you will feel completely comfortable making this dish and your friends and family will all be suitably impressed. I love the sweetness the bell peppers and the coconut milk bring combined with warm Indian spices. It’s also really pretty when served which I always think helps too. I didn’t make this a spicy dish, but if you like a little more heat I would add a seeded and diced jalapeño when the spices are added.
While writing the recipe for this curry I didn’t have time to grab fish so I adapted it for chicken. To keep it a fish dish follow the same directions for making the sauce and use a hardier fish that can stand up to the flavours and cooking, like the wild pacific cod I tried. Add palm (like your hand) size pieces of fish directly to the sauce. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the fish is happy. It should flake with a fork when it is ready.
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 sliced medium sized onion (about 1 cup)
1 clove diced garlic
1 thumb of ginger finely diced
1 seeded and finely diced jalapeno (optional)
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp medium curry powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 large can diced unsalted tomatoes 28 oz
2 sliced red, yellow or orange bell peppers
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp salt (if you used salted tomatoes season with salt to taste)
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup chopped cilantro
Over medium heat warm 2 Tbsps of the oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven. Add the onions and cook until they are softened and translucent. reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the next six ingredients stopping at the tomatoes. Cook the spices for 2 minutes, reducing the heat if the garlic begins to brown. Add the sliced peppers and cook until they have begun to soften, about 5-7 minutes and then pour in the tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then stir in the coconut milk, and salt.
Over medium heat in a separate pan, heat the last tbsp of canola oil and brown the chicken thighs on each side. About 3-4 minutes a side. Rest the chicken in the curry sauce without submerging and cover. Increase the heat to medium and leave it alone for 15 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the cilantro and remove from heat. Allow all the flavours to get to know each other a little better, about a minute and then serve.
I like to serve curry over basmati rice. Add 1 cup of basmati rice to 2 cups slightly salted boiling water (1 tsp). Cover and and reduce heat to low. Ignore it for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a for before serving
If this is the first time you’ve attempted to make a curry from scratch I hope you feel ready to make this on a regular basis. I know my family will happily have this in their meal rotation for quite a while.