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Fire & Wine Night: Green Curry and “Salty Pancakes”

Everyone loves a party.

Especially one hosted by Aarti. For those of you who don’t know, Aarti won the Food Networks Next Food Network Star challenge. And she wears the most amazing hair flowers!

Ok, so Aarti didn’t come to Fire & Wine night (we’ll work on that.) But she did inspire the delicious Green Chicken Curry.

The recipe lived up to every positive review on the site. I served it with basmati rice AND nAan. (Aarti suggested either or, but I figured a true Aarti Party would include both.) Mr. Quirky had never had naan before and he likened it to salty pancakes. Fair enough. Regardless, of what it tasted like, it didn’t last long…

(I grilled it on my grill pan and brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with a little bit of Kosher salt.)

If you’ve never made Indian curry before, this is a great recipe to start with for a few reasons:

1. It’s not spicy. Trust me. DD Girl won’t even let me put black pepper on food. So she wouldn’t have touched it had it had heat to it. (You won’t miss the spice, but if you are like me and insane, you could add a little bit of pepper sauce to your own plate.)

2. It uses a ton of fresh herbs (please say that with a hard “h” like the Brits do. It’s much more fun.)

3. While the smell of it will linger for a few days, it tastes amazing and will impress your guests with your MAD International culinary skilz.

4. It uses easy to find ingredients.

5. It’s healthy!

Aarti’s Green Chicken Curry

  • 2 small bunches cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves, coarsely chopped, 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water, plus 1 1/2 cups (I used low-sodium chicken broth.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 1 3/4 pounds, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon malt vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt, whisked until smooth
  • Cooked basmati rice or warm naan bread, for serving

Directions

Add the cilantro, mint, red onion, garlic, ginger, and salt, and pepper, to taste, to a food processor or blender. Puree on high until smooth. With the processor running, add about 1/4 cup water ( I used low sodium chicken broth), and blend until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste, a.k.a. “masala”. Set aside.

In a large pot or deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until golden brown.

Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Pour the masala mixture into skillet and cook, stirring often until it deepens in color and aroma. You’ll know it’s ready when it looks shiny, little droplets of oil will appear on the surface, and the masala will hold together as a cohesive mass.

Add the chicken, coating every piece in the masala and stirring often. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, so that the masala really adheres to thechicken. Add about 1 1/2 cups water(Again, used broth), just enough to cover the chicken, and the vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the yogurt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish and serve over rice or with warm naan bread.