The first night I made it, I had it for dinner. It was nothing spectacular, and it wasn't as easy as its name suggests (I didn't name it! It's a Cook's Illustrated recipe). But the next day I found myself thinking about it at work as the day was ending, eager to have it again. I couldn't understand why, because I'd been less than impressed with my first meal. The same thing happened the next night. Each time I ate it, it tasted better and better!
A strange phenomenon, particularly with such marked results, but there's no doubt about it. I think the flavors need time to meld, to join, to have food sex and create lots of great new flavors. So this is one dish that I recommend making in advance. Make it two, even three, days before you plan to eat it. It only gets better with age.
Despite its name, however, I wouldn't say that this is quick to make. Maybe if you're a Food Network cook, and have kitchen peons doing your chopping, slicing, and mincing for you, preparing your mise en place, then you can actually prepare this "in a hurry" (a phrase that makes me think 10-15 minutes; maybe you think I'm even being generous). Certainly it's faster than proper curries I've made, which involved overnight marinating and what not, but don't plan to start making this dish last minute. The "quickness" comes from precooked chicken (this is a great dish to make when you have leftover chicken meat, say from a rotisserie chicken from the store), canned chickpeas, frozen peas, and pre-made curry powder (I bought mine from an Indian grocery store -- if you can do the same, I'd recommend it). To make it even faster, you could use pre-minced garlic and ginger.
The recipe calls for whole milk yogurt; I used nonfat and it was just fine. Instead of raisins I used cranberries, because I prefer them and happened to have them on hand. I used a full tablespoon of curry powder.
Also, be forewarned that this dish makes a lot more than you might think. With rice, it would serve 4. With accompaniments, it could serve 6 or even 8. It'd make a great pot luck dish -- it's best made in advance and serves a lot of people!
Chicken Curry in a Hurry (Cook's Illustrated)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 to 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups shredded or thinly sliced cooked chicken
- 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- Build curry base: Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, curry powder, and salt and cook until onion is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add water, meat, vegetables, and cook: Stir in water, meat, chickpeas, peas, and raisins. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Garnish and serve: Off heat, stir in yogurt and cilantro and serve.