Cilantro—an acquired taste. You will either love it or hate. It has a very distinct strong flavor and is frequently used in Indian and Mexican cooking. This is a dish my mother would make on special occasions- like dinner parties and birthdays. I honestly don’t remember how she made it but I tried to recreate by calling what it tasted like. I added another special touch that my mother would do to other curries to make them rich and luxuriant. The mystery ingredients are raisins and almonds! Surprisingly, the sweetness of the raisins and butteriness of the almonds cut through strong taste to cilantro—an overall success, but then again I will leave you all to judge that.
1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. (feel free to substitute with breasts if you don’t like thighs—but the dark meat adds more flavor to the sauce)
1tsp of cumin seeds
1tsp of coriander seeds
1 medium onion
Half a bunch of fresh cilantro
2 tsp of chopped ginger
2 tsp of ginger paste
1Tbsp of raisins
1 Tbsp of sliced almonds
1Tbsp olive oil
Chili powder—adjust to personal heat preference.
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Add onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro, raisins and almonds into a blender. Add a splash of water and puree into a fine paste.
2. In a non-stick pot heat 1Tbsp of olive oil. Add cumin and coriander seeds to the hot oil. Warning, the oil will hiss and spit but stir the seeds quickly and keep an eye on them as they will burn quickly.
3. Once the seeds are toasty and fragrant (a few seconds) add the puree to the pot.
4. Let the sauce simmer for about 10 min to cook out the raw smell and fumes from the onions die down. If the sauce starts to stick to the pan add a little bit more oil, stir and then add a splash of water.
5. While the sauce is simmering, rub salt and chili powder on the chicken and set aside.
6. Once the sauce is dark in color add the chicken and stir to coat the thighs in the sauce.
7. Add about half a cup of water and let the whole mixture simmer for 15mins on medium-low heat till chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens to desired consistency. Taste to check salt and spice. I normally add salt and chili pepper at this stage and let it simmer for a few more minutes. Then I turn the heat off and let it sit on the stove to cool down. Refrigerate the curry heats up beautifully !
8. Serve with grilled flatbread (naan) or basmati rice.