I’m doing something that someone made fun of me once for doing.
I’m showing you how to make curry with a curry blend, instead of making your own.
Whatevs, I’m over it. Folks are all snobby and all “you’re not really cooking if you’re using a spice blend, curry isn’t a plant, the taste is soooo much more full and rich,” when you use a curry blend like I do here and here. Snobby, I tell you! The thing is, though, that this particular curry blend came from India.
Indian people use curry blends, kids.
Now, I know, I know. Americans buy frozen pizzas when they could totally make their own at home. I don’t care. If you want a frozen pizza you should buy and COOK one. It’s still cooking.
Also, spice blends save time. They also save money if you don’t cook a lot and don’t necessarily want to buy the 17 separate spices needed to make a nice curry blend. So, I say go for it.
My father suffered food poisoning on his quest to get me this particular curry blend. I mean, he was technically on a work trip, but I think that he secretly asked to go to India for “work” so he could get me spices. In my mind, I’m like, totally his favorite child and he’s JUST SO PROUD of all I’m accomplishing in the kitchen. Ahem.
This curry, though, is easy. I’m calling it Madras curry because the curry powder I used says “Madras curry blend” on the package. So….there you go. You could use any curry powder you like, though! Raw Spice Bar has some delicious options online including a Madras curry powder that can come straight to your doorstep. The coconut milk is a really nice substitute for heavy cream, too, and you can mix the veggies and protein as you see fit.
Here’s what you need!
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (chicken fat comes from skin, these hardly have more fat than chicken breasts. Promise.)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 whole bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 can bean sprouts (13 oz), optional
- 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (this is another Indian spice blend found in almost all grocery stores that makes Indian food taste Indian. Something about cardamom. Buy it, use it, love it)
- 1 can regular or light coconut milk
- 1/2 to 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (see how I make mine here)
- rice, for serving
- thinly shredded cabbage or this yogurt slaw, for serving
- cilantro leaves, for serving, optional
- naan, for serving, optional
Like I said – any veggies that you like or different kinds of meat would work great here. I used dark meat chicken because it’s SO flavorful and stands up really well to the strong curry flavor.
First, place the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Then, take a thousand precautions to avoid chicken poisoning (technical term) by getting a new knife and cutting board to cut the chicken. Seriously. New everything.
Thinly slice the chicken (as thinly as you can) into 2-inch or so strips.
Then, when the butter melts and foams, add the chicken to the pan with a sprinkle of salt. Stir to form one even layer, then let the chicken brown on the first side.
While the chicken is browning, cut the bell pepper into 1-inch chunks, and peel and mince the garlic.
Flip the chicken around for 5 minutes or so until browned on all sides. It’ll keep cooking as we continue with the curry, so don’t worry if it’s not cooked through yet. Add the bell pepper to the chicken and toss for 2 minutes to start cooking the pepper.
Then, add the garlic and bean sprouts. On the bean sprouts, I have zero clue if these are a traditional Indian ingredient or not. I’m guessing no. I learned to like curry in Japan, so random Asian veggies were always a part of my curry life. I’m not trying to pretend here – use whatever you like!
Stir the veggies around for 1 more minute, just to start to soften the garlic. Then, add the Garam Masala and curry powder. Stir the spices into the veggie mixture.
Now, add the coconut milk and a splash of stock and reduce the heat to medium or medium low. We want the curry to bubble very gently.
Stir the curry around, and add more stock as needed to form a thin gravy. I used about 1/2 cup, but you may need to add more if your pan is very hot and the liquids are evaporating.
Taste your curry, and add salt or more curry powder if you’d like. Let simmer very gently for 5 – 10 more minutes to cook the chicken through and soften the veggies.
I love this served with cilantro, naan, rice, and cabbage. You can serve this any way you like, but the fun components mean that every bite tastes different! There are so many great spice options in grocery stores and markets these days – what’s your favorite kind of curry spice? I’d love some new ideas!
- 1 pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts Or Thighs, Cut Into Thin Strips
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 whole Bell Pepper, Cut Into 1-inch Chunks
- 1 can Bean Sprouts, 13 Oz, Optional
- 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Madras Curry Powder, Or Any Curry Blend You Like
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 can Regular Or Lite Coconut Milk
- ½ cups Chicken Or Vegetable Stock, Plus A Little Extra
- Cooked Rice, Naan, Cilantro, And/or Thinly Shredded Cabbage, Your Choice, For Serving
- Heat a large skillet to medium heat with the butter. When the butter foams and melts, add the chicken with a sprinkle of salt. Cook the chicken until browned and almost cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper, stir, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the bean sprouts and garlic and stir for one minute, then add the spices. Let the spices cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and 1/4 cup of the stock. Stir to form a loose gravy. Bring the curry to a bubble then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 – 20 minutes, adding more stock as needed to achieve the consistency that you’d like.
- Taste the curry and add more salt if you’d like. Serve over rice or any way you want!