I have to admit my fearless kitchen attitude suddenly turns fraidy cat when it comes to Indian food. Even with two Madhur Jaffray cookbooks in my possession, I just don’t prepare it much.
Tikkas, masalas, and samosas intimidate me. I even have an Indian market nearby which carries everything I need. I really, really, really wanted to make Chicken Tikka Pizza, but let an ingredient called kasoori methi scared me away. So chose something with ingredients that sounded a bit more familiar, Chicken Stew With Appams. A simple chicken stew simmered in whole spices and coconut milk. Appams is a fermented rice product which Shumaila indicated I could find in the freezer section of my local Indian market. I forgot to ask for it, so served this stew over steamed rice.
The Indian market indeed had every single ingredient I was lacking: star anise, green cardamon pods and curry leaves. The soup is cooked in a wok and the whole thing came together in less than thirty minutes. Shumaila had stressed the beauty of cooking with whole spices and when I dropped the star anise, the whole cardamon pods, curry leaves and mustard seeds into the hot oil, I was smelling some of the most fragrant food this Western kitchen has wafted. The curry leaves have brought my love for curry to a whole new level. It added a pungent and earthy flavor to the finished soup, nothing like I’ve ever tasted before.
Now that my pantry has a supply of beautiful Indian spices, I’ll definitely be making this again. AND, you can bet I’ll be making a return trip to that market to ask for kasoori methi. I really want to try that pizza. Thank you for a fabulous stew recipe Shumaila.
Easy and chock full of exotic flavors.
- 1/2 large onion sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 inch cinnamon stick
- 8-10 curry leaves/kadi pata
- 10-12 black peppercorns whole
- 1-2 star anise
- 2 green cardamom
- 5-6 green chillies sliced
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 can coconut milk
- salt to taste
In a wok/ large saucepan, heat the oil on medium high heat. The oil should be hot (but not too hot before you put the whole spices in. Test with 1-2 mustard seeds- if they sizzle, its hot. If they start burning in just a few seconds, the oil is too hot.)
Add in the whole spices- cinnamon, curry leaves, whole peppercorn, star anise, cardamom, mustard seeds. Let sizzle for a few seconds till the oil is flavorful.
Add in the sliced onions, and saute till translucent.
Add in the ginger, garlic paste and green chillies. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Mix in the chicken pieces and turn the flame to high. Cook till the pinkness has gone and the chicken is brown. As soon as this happens, add in the coconut milk and stock. Switch flame to medium. Cook till chicken is cooked all through.
Serve with appams or steamed white rice.
Indian Chicken Stew…It’s What’s for Dinner.