This winter I have actually been trying some new recipes….and then not photographing them because I just want to eat them immediately.  It almost happened with this chicken vindaloo dish, but I managed to quickly grab the camera and tell Brad to snap a few pictures before we sat down to eat it.

I was in the mood to make something Indian, or Indian inspired, after some friends and I were driving around Cambridge, and ended up driving past Christina’s Spices in Inman Square.  I had never been to the actual spice shop, just the ice cream shop next door, and kind of wanted an excuse to go there.  I’d been trying to get to Penzey’s in Arlington practically forever, but a) actually knew where Christina’s is, and b) it’s kind of easier to go to Cambridge than Arlington from where I live.  And after reading reviews online I knew that they would most likely have the slightly obscure spices that I needed (black mustard seed?  who knew such a thing existed!).  And I was right.  Well, except for the black mustard seed, which they didn’t have, but I used brown and I have no idea what the difference would have been.

This delicious and hearty dish was a bit labor intensive, as Brad had to grind many a spice using a mortar and pestle (from Ikea, so the quality is so-so).  Had I owned a spice grinder that portion of the evening would have taken much less time.  But maybe would have been less authentic.  The sauce is hearty, spicy (but not TOO spicy) and just plain delicious.  So delicious in fact, that I am making this dish again this weekend in celebration of Brad and my father’s birthdays.  Brad turns 30 next week (and we’re going to New York to celebrate, I can’t wait to get out of Boston for a bit!), and my father’s birthday was last weekend.  My mother will make this cake, and now that I am in an ice cream phase, I am trying to figure out what ice cream to make with it.  I’m thinking either vanilla or perhaps a vanilla earl grey lavender ice cream.  We’ll see what happens.

It’s a great dish for entertaining though, as you can make it ahead and just keep it bubbling away on the stove.  Serve over some basmati rice with some naan, and you’ve got a great meal.


Chicken Vindaloo

Source: India Snacks

2 teaspoon cumin seeds, whole
1 teaspoon peppercorns, black
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 cinnamon (3 in stick)
1 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds, whole
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, whole
5 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar, light
10 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into; half-rings
6 tablespoon water
1 ginger, fresh (1-inch cube), peeled; and coarsely chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely; chopped (or less)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
2 lb chicken breast (boneless), cut into; bite-sized pieces
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 lb new potatoes, peeled and quartered

Grind cumin seeds, black pepper, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds together in a spice grinder. In a small bowl, combine ground spices, vinegar, salt, cayenne pepper and brown sugar. Set aside.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Fry onions, stirring frequently, until they are a rich, dark brown. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and put them in a blender. Turn off the heat, but do not discard the oil. Add about 3 T water (or more if necessary) to the onions and blend until you have a smooth paste. Add this onion paste to the spices in the bowl. This mixture is the vindaloo paste.

Put the ginger and garlic in a blender. Add about 3 T water and blend until you have a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining oil in the saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the ginger, garlic paste. Stir until the paste browns slightly. Add the coriander and turmeric. Stir a few seconds. Add the chicken, a little at a time, and brown lightly.

Add the vindaloo paste, tomato sauce and potatoes to the chicken in the saucepan. Stir and bring to a slight boil. Cover the saucepan, reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour, or until potatoes are tender. Serve over rice.