…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? My new friend, Mark, owns Kiyoshi's Katsu House in Henderson, Nevada. It is a hallmark of true Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry—something you wouldn’t expect in Henderson. His curry sauce is the best I’ve had anywhere, and I have tried a bunch of them. That was the impetus of this recipe—Coconut Chicken Curry.
When you think of curry, many instinctively think Indian or Thai cuisine. But curiously enough, no such word exists in the languages spoken on the subcontinent. The closest words you’ll hear are khari or caril, which usually refer to a type of sauce or gravy. The word curry likely came from a “British colonial misunderstanding.” As a result, a wide variety of saucy, spicy stews and ragouts get lumped together under the “curry” umbrella.
Nomenclature aside, great curries are foods with maximum flavors and textures. In my recipe below, we have a stew that draws on some typical Indian flavors—think coconut milk, tomato, spinach, lime and fresh ginger. Of course, there’s plenty of curry powder, which here in the U.S. usually contains turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, black pepper, and cardamom. I added a splash of fish sauce for an umami note. All these spices and aromatics blend to create a sauce that turns chicken and potatoes into a rich, satisfying meal.
I use jasmine rice as a base for this recipe. It’s a long-grain variety with a light, floral aroma and a soft, sticky texture. Basmati rice, another long-grain variety, is a good substitute, but it does best when it soaks for at least 30 minutes before cooking, so allow time for that in your prep. Serve the curry with naan, the leavened, oven-baked Indian flatbread, which can be used to mop up every drop of sauce. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own naan, use a very fresh grilled flour tortilla or flatbread.
I prefer my curries when they have been stored overnight in the refrigerator which allows the flavors of my curry to blossom even more. Any leftovers can be warmed up in the microwave for a quick lunch the next day.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 25 to 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
2 cups rinsed jasmine rice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup small diced yellow onion
3 small, diced Yukon gold potatoes
2 tablespoons peeled and grated ginger (or 1 tablespoon dry ginger)
3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1-1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons curry powder (I prefer Penzey’s Maharajah Curry Powder)
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or 1-teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce)
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
5 oz spinach (thawed and drained, if frozen)
4 tablespoons toasted sweetened coconut
4 Naan bread or grilled fresh flour tortilla or flatbread (optional)
ChefSecret: In India you don’t find many cooks that have curry powder in their kitchens. Some curries use up to 26 different spices to make their own curry profiles. Each dish has a different profile. I shop for most of my spices at Penzey’s Spice Company. For this recipe I used Penzey’s Maharajah Curry Powder which is sweet and rich but not hot. Use the curry powder that you prefer.
Quip of the Day: My wife was furious with me when I told her I put ginger in her curry. She really loved that cat.
Do you have a question or comment? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. All recipes and cooking tips are posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
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