Good morning Mr. Phoods:
The dish you are about to take-on requires that you answer the following questions. Your answers will determine whether you should proceed with this post or not.
Do you like cilantro?
What does cilantro taste like to you?
If you answered NO and it tastes like soap exit NOW by clicking on MII consolation
If you answered yes and yumminess, I LOVE cilantro…your mission, should you decide to accept it, will be to run to the store for cilantro, boneless chicken, peanuts, garlic, and onions and make this dish. As usual, if you or any other MII fans (Made In India) should be caught while making this dish you will be required to….invite me over for dinner. If not, the secretary (again me) will disavow any knowledge of you.
Yes, Meera Sodha’s Cilantro Chutney Chicken from her book Made In India is that good. It inspired me to create this homage to one of my all-time favorite TV shows.
Start by making the chutney. It’s sweet from the brown sugar, aromatic from the cilantro and tangy from the lemon juice. The peanuts give it body. If you have extra after making the chicken, spread it on some naan or crackers. Delicious. the chutney can be made in a blender. If it seems too thick thin it with a bit of water.
This cilantro chicken curry is very user-friendly. Despite being a newbie at cooking Indian cuisine, this dish was not intimidating, it was in fact very “doable” and takes just minutes to prepare. Saute boneless chicken with onions and a paste made of peppers, garlic, and ginger. Add the cilantro chutney and simmer until the chicken is tender. Top with the reserved onions that have been caramelized to a deep rich toasty brown. This dish is absolutely delightful. Every bite is a flavor explosion. Served on top of fragrant basmati rice and garnished with cilantro leaves, its a great one pot meal perfect for a weekday dinner.
Quick, easy…Mission Possible…completed. Signing off.
- 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 3/4 fresh green chili, roughly chopped (seeded if you prefer less heat)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped into 3/4 x 1-inch pieces
- 6 tablespoons cilantro chutney (recipe follows)
- 4 ounces cilantro
- 2 ounces peanuts, unsalted and unroasted
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 to 3 small fresh green chilis, roughly chopped (seeded if you prefer less heat)
- Throw the ginger, garlic, and green chili into a mortar and pestle, along with a pinch of salt, and bash up to a coarse paste.
- Put the oil into a wide-bottomed, lidded frying pan on a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onions and fry, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until they are starting to turn golden. Transfer half of the onions to a bowl and put to one side.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and green chili paste and cook for around 3 minutes. Put the chicken pieces into the pan, sear them on all sides and add the chutney. Stir the chutney, pop the lid on, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook for around 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- In the meantime, transfer the onions from the bowl into a small frying pan and continue to cook them on a medium heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, until they are dark brown, soft, and sweet, then take them off the heat.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste) to the chicken little by little, until it tastes just right, then take it off the heat.
- Scatter the caramelized onions over the top of the curry just before serving. Serve alongside some steaming hot basmati rice or a pile of hot, homemade chapatis.
- To wash the cilantro, fill a bowl full of cold water and put the cilantro in it. Move the cilantro around in the water, then take it out and shake off the excess water.
- Roughly chop the stems and leaves and put them in a blender. Add the peanuts, lemon juice, salt, sugar, turmeric, and 2 small chilis, and pulse them in the blender until the mixture has a smooth, almost pesto-like consistency. Add some water to help the mixture to blend if necessary. The result should be a smooth cilantro chutney which is equally sweet, fiery, and lemony. Add the remaining chili, or more lemon juice, salt, and sugar to balance it to your taste, then spoon it into your clean jar.