Sunday, January 20, 2013

Indian Pepper Chicken by Tom

Chicken Jhalfrazi - Chicken with Onions & Peppers

A week or so ago, Barbara asked me to both cook and consider something Asian.  When she asked me that, I was sitting right next to our cookbooks and glanced over and saw "The Best-Ever Curry Cookbook with over 150 great recipes from India and Asia.  Since we were in the middle of catching up with all of the "Downton Abbey" episodes, and I really like the curry dishes you can get in England, I thought this could be the answer to Barbara's request. 

I had no particular dish in mind when I opened the book, but the first recipe I looked at caught my eye.  The name of the dish meant nothing to me - Chicken Jhalfrazi.  But in the description it said it was originated by Indian chefs during the British Raj and originated in Calcutta where the East Indian Company was established.  The ingredients looked good and the total prep to table time looked to be about 45 minutes.

So I made it, and I am very glad I did.  Not too spicy and very tasty.  Satisfied the Asian taste desire.  I will make it again.


Indian Pepper Chicken
(Best-ever Curry Cookbook by Mridula Baljekar)

1 1/2 pound boneless chicken breast, cubed in 1" pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion finely chopped
1 green bell pepper finely chopped
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
3/4" ginger root, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon water
14 ounce can chopped/diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, and a small sprig to garnish the dish on each plate

Serve over basmati rice, or plain white rice if you prefer.

Chop the peppers, onion, garlic and ginger root.  I put them all into a plastic container as they are all cooked together at the same time.

Remove any visible fat from the chicken breasts and cut into roughly 1" size pieces.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil.   Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and fry them until they start to splutter.  (This was a new term for me - splutter.  It just means that they start to pop a little bit and the purpose is to infuse the oil with the cumin taste.)  This will take about a minute.

Add the previously prepared chopped peppers, onion, garlic and ginger root.  Saute them for about 8 minutes stirring frequently. 

Add the curry paste and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  You will need to stir this continuously to blend the curry paste wit the sauteed vegetables.

Now add the dry spices (chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin and salt).  Add 1 teaspoon of water and further cook for another 2 minutes.

Next add the chicken and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  All of the chicken should be browned when you complete this step. 

Add the canned diced tomatoes and the fresh cilantro.

Stir the mixture up well to insure the tomatoes are well incorporated into the chicken and vegetables.

Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the chicken is tender.  You should reduce the heat to medium in this step.

Concurrently prepare basmati rice per the packages directions.  This typically takes about 30 minutes to cook and rest before serving.

Plate the rice and spoon over it a generous portion of the chicken jhalfrazi.  Add some fresh cilantro as a garnish.  Serve with naan bread if you so desire.  We did!

We had leftovers and ate it the next day as well.  Tasty both times.


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