Potato, Cauliflower, and Chicken Vindaloo

I am claiming this as a rhymeswithsmile original.  I was inspired by this recipe from Family Circle magazine, then combined it with another recipe in a cookbook a friend loaned me.  I tweaked the two recipes, added some spices, changed the cooking methods, and came up with the sauce.  So, this is from ME!
A picture of the ingredients is nice.
And it works if I've already eaten what I cooked up.

Serves 4

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast, cut into 6-7 chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 c. chopped cauliflower (about 1/2 a large head)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp. curry powder (less to taste)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or less to taste, especially if your kids don't like spicy)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (optional)
1 1/2 c. water with 1 tsp. salt stirred in
1 large tomato, chopped
2 c. cooked rice or quinoa
Naan bread cut into quarters

1/2 c. plain yogurt, stirred until smooth
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.  Season chicken with salt.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, searing the chicken to get a nice, brown layer.  (This was inspired by this guest post method.)  Remove chicken to a plate.  Reduce heat to medium; add a little more oil to coat the bottom of the pan if necessary.

Meanwhile, dice the onion and set aside.  Combine the curry powder, cayenne pepper, and turmeric; set aside.  Place cauliflower and potatoes in a medium bowl, set aside.  (All this setting aside is so that you have your ingredients READY when it's time to dump them in.  It goes quickly)

Saute onions in the pot over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until they just start to go from translucent to brown.  Throw in the spice mixture and stir until the onions are coated, about 1 minute.  Add the potatoes and cauliflower.  Stir until the vegetables are coated with the spice mixture too, about another minute.  Pour in the water/salt mixture and add the chopped tomato; stir and bring to a boil.

When the mixture is simmering, return the chicken to the pot, nestling it down in the sauce.  Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are just tender, and chicken is cooked through.

For yogurt sauce, whisk together yogurt, garlic, and salt until smooth and combined.

To serve, spoon chicken mixture over rice or cooked quinoa.  Top with yogurt sauce, and eat with naan bread.

This is one of my final meals in the first installment of my "Year of Food" project.  Though I haven't posted many of recipes we've had (because while sometimes they turn out great, other times they're forgettable), I have been learning techniques that I've really enjoyed that I'd like to pass on.  This vindaloo recipe is a great example of a couple of things I've learned that I have already begun to translate into other dishes I prepare.

First, many of the deep flavors that come from delicious ethnic cuisines are built around the sauces and spices. Most of the Indian recipes I've been trying involve "toasting" some sort of spice mixture with sauteed onions and/or garlic.  Apparently, heating spices in oil like this brings out more complex flavors than simply adding spices to sauce would.  You can see in this vindaloo recipe - sauteing the onions, tossing in the spices, and stirring to coat the onions is the "toasting" step.  I can attest to the fact that it really pays off in flavor!  Then adding some liquid (water, chicken broth, white wine, etc) builds it into a sauce.  Simmering vegetables and meat in that sauce not only cooks those ingredients, it adds another layer of depth to the flavor.

Another thing I have learned is that I do not photograph Indian food well.  It's typically greenish, brownish, or yellowish.  While it tastes awesome, I don't present it or capture it well.  So a picture of the ingredients makes a good substitute for lousy photography skills!

No comments:

Post a Comment