My husband harbored a negative attitude toward Indian food most of our 38-year married life. He based his distaste on a negative experience in college with some highly-spiced curry.
Two or three years ago we ventured into an Indian restaurant on a whim and got hooked on the Tomato-Coconut Soup. I decided to exploit that positive experience and asked a co-worker with Indian connections to mark a restaurant menu highlighting all the dishes she thought we would like. We tried several of them and it worked. My husband was won over although I almost lost him after he popped a handful of fennel seed into his mouth as we were leaving our favorite Indian hangout one night. The seeds are traditionally chewed after a meal as a breath freshener and stomach soother, but it wasn’t the minty flavor he was expecting. The coughing and spitting that ensued was most undignified.
Now that we’re over the curry hump, this is my favorite Indian-like food to prepare at home. I adapted the recipe from Cotton Country, a Jr. League cookbook from Decatur, Alabama. It reminds me of an easy Chicken Masala. The only ingredient you might not have in your kitchen already is the Garam Masala, a wonderful Indian spice mixture good for many things, but especially in Hot Coconut V-8 and rice at our house. It’s readily available in most supermarkets, but you can also mix some up for yourself via Google.
I keep this mildly spicy and saucy chicken in my freezer at all times. It has become one of my favorite comfort foods on a cold winter night after a long day at work or when I would rather watch Downton Abbey than cook.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup tomato juice or V-8
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Couple shakes of Sriracha sauce (Leave this out if you don't like spicy.)
- 1 tablespoon cream of coconut (optional)
- 4 cups cooked chicken, diced (I use rotisserie chicken)
- Melt butter in large skillet or shallow saucepan. Throw onion and celery in with the butter and saute until soft but not brown.
- Add garlic, curry powder, and Garam Masala and saute one more minute.
- Sprinkle flour over softened vegetables and distribute evenly.
- Whisk broth and tomato juice or V-8 into veggies and simmer until thickened. Season with Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha sauce, and cream of coconut syrup (if using). Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes until thickened.
- Add chicken and heat until warm throughout.
- Serve immediately over cooked rice (Jasmine would be my choice) or chill for dinner later in the day.