Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cauliflower, Chicken, Potato, and Pea Curry (Updated)

This is one of those cases where being forced to cook through adversity results in good things happening. I decided to make Cauliflower, Chicken, Potato, and Pea Curry last night because I was going to be making it with limited supplies after a long day at work and it doesn't require too many ingredients or much hands-on time...

As I got out my ingredients and started to prep, I immediately realized that I didn't have a pot nearly big enough to hold everything. (Typically everything goes in a huge pot together then into the oven to slowly cook while I do something else.) I decided my best bet was to cook the chicken separately in the oven while simmering the potatoes and cauliflower on the stove-top. This worked out really nicely, since the potatoes can be temperamental (sometimes they're done cooking in 30 minutes... sometimes they're not done after 2 hours...), making it difficult to avoid over-cooking the chicken. With this new method, I was able to boil the crap out of the potatoes while perfectly baking the chicken.

The only question now is why it took cooking in an under-equipped hotel kitchen to come up with this change... The chicken ends up so much more tender and flavorful cooked this way, resulting in a more flavorful dish overall. Before this meal I was getting a little fed up with my hotel room kitchen but, now that it forced me to improve upon one of my favorite dinners, it's not seeming so bad after all...

Cauliflower, Chicken, Potato, and Pea Curry (Take 2)
   1 tablespoon oil or chicken fat (chicken fat is best…)
   2 medium onions, chopped
   3 tablespoons ground coriander
   2-3 tablespoons ground cumin
   1.5 teaspoons turmeric
   0-3 teaspoons dried red-pepper flakes
   1 teaspoon salt
   6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
   2 medium heads of cauliflower, cored and broken into bite-sized pieces
   6-8 small potatoes (preferably Yukon Gold), cut into 1–inch dice
   1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes (not drained, crushed by hand)
   2 1/2 cups water, divided
   3/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more to serve
   2 cups frozen petite peas
   Plain yogurt (to serve)

Preheat the oven to 350̊ Fahrenheit.

Heat oil or chicken fat in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and starting to color. Meanwhile, combine the spices (coriander through salt) and stir to combine. Rub the chicken breasts with 2 - 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture to coat, then place in a single layer in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup water to the bottom of the dish. Place in the oven and bake until the chicken is just cooked through. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, chop into bite-sized pieces.

Add the remaining spice mixture to the pot with the onions and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Add the cauliflower and potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the everything is coated in the spice mixture and well-combined. Add the tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and allow to cook at a fairly rapid boil, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 30-60 minutes. When potatoes are cooked and liquid is somewhat reduced, stir in the peas and cilantro and cook, stirring, until the peas are heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken (or, if you're lacking a big enough pot like I was, divide the vegetable mixture between serving bowls then distribute chicken evenly among the bowls).

Serve with yogurt, fresh cilantro, and additional red pepper flakes.

Serves 8.

1 comment:

Juliet said...

Thank you so much! I found this blog searching for 'cauliflower, potatoes, chicken, curried.' It was a great discovery! I made my first curried dish last night based off this recipe and it was exactly what I was craving.

The only things I'd note were that I added a bit of coconut milk to the mix...it added a nice mellow/sweet tang to it. Also, as you said in the instructions, spice to taste...Mine was kind of mellow, so I threw in the last of a jar of "Indian Curry" spice that I'd inherited from my grandmum. All in all, it was a quarter again as much spice as called for, but it was delicious!

I don't usually comment on these things, but I noticed you didn't have any and thought that was tragic. I'll be sure to check out your other recipes some time.