Monday, January 12, 2009

Coconut Prawn Curry

Just a few reviews of this dish before I share the recipe:

"This is better than my favorite restaurant!" (Mom)

"Hard to beat the prawns you fixed on Sunday, that was amazing. I just boil them, but yours take work and were AMAZING!" (Dad)

"Wow. What's in this?" (Uncle R)

OK, so are you ready for the recipe? I found this in the comment section of Serious Eats- the poster said it was copied from, but that's just anecdotal.

I didn't take any pictures- the entire family was seated and ready to eat their forks, with or without food. (And since forks are in short supply, I preferred them to eat food.) Plus...really, have you ever seen a GOOD picture of a golden brown curry, studded with soft tomatoes and tiny chunks of cashews, onions, garlic, and ginger? Creamy with juices and coconut milk? Flecked with shards of cilantro?

I haven't. But this suuuure tasted good!

The original recipe calls for a 4 pound chicken, and for 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt to be stirred in with the cashews just before serving. Due to current household dietary restrictions (no land meat, no dairy) I used 2 pounds tigertail prawns and 3/4 cup coconut milk, both stirred in with the cashews just before serving, and simmered long enough to cook the prawns. I also cooked the whole thing in one of my Christmas presents: a cast-iron dutch oven from Ikea (Gosh, I love the "as-is" section. Seriously, half off because someone used the pan and returned it?)

Chicken Curry with Cashews

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 (3 1/2- to 4-lb) chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup cashews (1/4 lb)
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
Accompaniment: cooked basmati or jasmine rice
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro

Heat butter in a 5- to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides, then cook onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, including juice, and cilantro and bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. (If making ahead, see cooks' note, below.)
Just before serving:
Pulse cashews in a food processor or electric coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground, then add to curry along with yogurt and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.

Cooks' note:
Curry, without yogurt and cashews, can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over low heat before stirring in yogurt and ground cashews.

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