This my be one of the best curries we've made up recently. It started with the idea of braising some chicken in some leftover coconut milk & using the last of the sweet potatoes. I love using sweet potatoes in curry because their sweetness plays so well with the curry spices. My favorite sweet potato to use is the Jersey Sweet which has a red skin & white flesh. If you think you don't like sweet potatoes but have only had the orange type try one of these white beauties, their flavor will win you over!
One of the best ways to get a really flavorful curry is by making your own spice blend. We used one from the book 660 Curries. This smells (& tastes) 100 times better than any store bought curry powder. I think the addition of cinnamon is my favorite part. We mix up a batch & keep it stored in an airtight container. I will admit it took a trip to Penzeys to get some of the ingredients here, like nigella seeds, but we find now that we have them we use them.
(from 660 Curries)
2 t fennel seeds
2 t coriander seeds
1 t cumin seeds
1 t mustard seeds
1/2 t whole cloves
1/2 t cardamon seeds
1/2 t nigella seeds
3 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces
2 t ground cayenne
1/2 t ground nutmeg
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add everything except the cayenne & nutmeg. Toast, shaking the skillet from time to time, until the spices start to turn ash black & the whole thing is really fragrant, 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet & let cool completely.
Put cool spices into a spice grinder (I use my coffee grinder). Grind until about the consistency of black pepper. Mix in the cayenne & nutmeg.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 1/3 c
Braised Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry
1/2 T olive oil
1 small onion, quartered
1 jalapeno, seeded & minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 t balti masala
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 c coconut milk
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 - 2 c peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (about 1-inch pieces)
4 servings hot rice
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion, jalapeno & garlic. Sauté until the onion softens. Stir in the bati masala, tomatoes & coconut milk. Lay the chicken thighs & sweet potatoes in the liquid. Bring to a low boil. Cover, reduce heat & let simmer until the chicken is cooked & the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Salt to taste.
Remove cover & allow to simmer while cooking the rice to thicken slightly.
Serve over hot rice with hot sauce for those who like it spicier & yogurt for those who like it cooler.
Makes 4 servings
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