part of India known as Kerala, where I was raised, is endowed with lush, tropical
growth year-round - coconut trees along the coast and, at higher elevations, an
abundance of herbs and spices. So it's no wonder that in this region, highly spiced
curries flavored with coconut milk are an important part of every dinner. If you
don't have time to make your own fresh Curry Spice Mix, you can substitute a store-bought
garam masala or curry powder. Serves 6.
1 Tbs. vegetable
or canola oil
1/2 tsp. black
3 medium onions,
Stems from 3
sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped, plus 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic,
of ginger, minced
diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 green peppers
2 lbs. chicken
2 to 3 Tbs.
Spice Mix South Indian Curry
2 cups fresh
Coconut Milk (1 cup thick, 1 cup thin)
rice, for serving
In a large pot,
heat oil over medium heat until it is very hot.
seeds and let them sizzle for about 1 minute.
Add the garlic,
ginger, sliced onion, and cilantro stems, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the ground
spice mix and continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes until the onions are very soft,
stirring often so that the onions cook evenly.
When the onions
and peppers are soft and have absorbed the spices, start adding the chicken, a little
at a time.
Stir the pieces
until they're coated with the spices, and then add more chicken.
When all the
chicken has been stirred in, pour the thin coconut milk over the chicken, add the
salt and the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer until the
chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes.
To soften the
flavor of the spices, and to make a creamy sauce, the author simmers the chicken
for her curry in coconut milk.
Remove the cover
from the pot and bring the liquid to a boil.
Boil for 3 to
5 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.
Then add the
thick coconut milk and the cilantro leaves.
to a simmer, season to taste with salt, and serve with rice.