This warming dish from chef Meera Sodha turns chicken thighs into a fragrant and delicious dish to be served over rice. Cook spices and onions, add ginger and garlic, and then add tomatoes and more spices. Add yogurt, bring to a simmer and then add the chicken. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about a half hour. Add sliced almonds, garam masala and cayenne and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your butter does not contain colour. Check the spices to be sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Unico and Blue Menu canned tomatoes are additive-free, as are No Name tomato paste and slivered almonds. Use an all-natural yogurt. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter or ghee
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) neutral oil, like canola
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, approximately 2 inches (5 cm) long
  • 2 large white or yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 2 ½ -inch (6.35 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and grated or minced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 green cayenne or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into half-moons
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ¾ cup (188 ml) plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) puréed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) whole-milk yogurt, plus 1 cup (250 ml) to serve with the meal
  • 1 ¾ to 2 pounds (793 to 907 g) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch (2.54 -cm) chunks
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) garam masala
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper, or to taste.

Preparation:

Melt the butter or ghee in the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, and when it is hot and shimmering, add the cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks. Cook for a minute or two, stirring often, to intensify their flavors, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the ginger, garlic and peppers into a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt, and smash them together into a coarse paste. (You can also do this on a cutting board, with a knife.)

Add the paste to the onions, and cook for 2 minutes or so, then pour in the tomatoes, and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then add the tomato paste, ground cumin, ground turmeric and another pinch of salt, and stir to combine.

Add the yogurt slowly to the mixture, using a wooden spoon to whisk it into the sauce. It may be quite thick. When it begins to bubble, add the chicken. Lower the heat, put the lid on the Dutch oven and allow the curry to cook gently for 30 minutes or so, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the almonds and the garam masala, along with a pinch of cayenne, and cook for 5 minutes more or so. Serve with basmati rice or naan, and the additional yogurt. Serves 4.

From the New York Times