We love Indian food, but because it can take a really long time to make, we usually get take-out. We've found a great place nearby in North Royalton called Jaipur Junction and probably order out there every 6 week or so. But, since I've been on vacation this week, I decided to put in a little extra effort for tonight's dinner.
This afternoon, we took our first trip to a local Indian grocery store (India Grocer on W. 130th in Parma Heights). I prepared by flipping through my cookbook The Food of India and found everything I needed.
Here's what we ate:
Chicken with Coriander and Almonds
First I made the raita:
1 small cucumber, shredded
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 16-ounce container of plain yogurt
1 t black mustard seeds (an India Grocer find!)
1 T coriander leaves (aka cilantro)
Place the cucumber and tomato in a fine strainer for 20 min to let the liquid drain out. Then, mix into the yogurt. Heat about a teaspoon of oil in a pan and fry the seeds until they start to pop. Add to the yogurt, then season with salt. Add the cilantro leaves right before serving.
We used this as a dip for the paratha, which is a thin, buttery bread, also from India Grocer.
While cooking the rice, I prepared the chicken.
2 pounds chicken (I used breast meat)
1/3 c almonds
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
7 T oil
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 T ground coriander
1 T ground cumin
1/4 t chili powder
1/4 t ground tumeric (found at India Grocer)
1/4 t paprika
2 t salt
1 t black epper
4 T chopped cilantro
2/3 c cream (I used half-n-half to cut back on calories)
Ground the almonds in a food processor and set aside. Heat oil in a large pan. Add the onions, garlic, chillies, ginger and bay leaves. Stir and cook until brown. Meanwhile, cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the mixture. Stir the chicken until all the surfaces are cooked. Add the spices and mix until all of the chicken is coated. Then, add a 1/2 c water and cook until the water turns into a thick sauce. Add one more 1/2 c water and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. While the chicken cooks, mix 1/2 c cream with the ground almonds and add to the chicken. Add in the rest of the cream. Serve with rice.
This was the most complicated Indian dish I've made, but it got rave reviews. "Better than Jaipur Junction," my husband said. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it was definitely tasty!