It’s Bollywood Week so we’re celebrating the spice of India, from my kitchen to yours, with Mango Curry Chicken.
Every once in a while I like to throw myself a little kitchen challenge to shake things up a bit. My Bollywood menu was something of a personal Iron Chef challenge, using the same ingredient — mango — in the appetizer, the entrée and the dessert.
The Salty Side of Mango
Let’s face it, I’ll never be on Iron Chef America, not in this lifetime, but I love to take one ingredient (or flavour) and weave it throughout a meal. It pushes me cuisine skills to take a savoury ingredient and move it into something sweet or, vice versa.
Mango is so versatile, it can go from sweet and spicy with a hot mango dip with onion pakoras to start, then move to savoury and spicy with the Mango Chicken Curry, then ending with sweet and cold for dessert with a mango sorbet with candied ginger and a ginger infused rum and spicy pistachios.
The Vino: A nice Cave Spring Riesling (from Ontario no less) for a solid balance with a strong, spicy meal. Other suggestions from include “a sparkling red” or “an Alsace, a Gewurztraminer or a good hoppy beer”. Excellent options for sweet and saucy curry flavour.
Kasoori Methi A.K.A Fenugreek
This recipe has been tweaked over a couple of sessions of Indian cooking, finally finding the right balance. Mango Curry Chicken is a milder curry, bright with colour and texture, with a complex spice balance.
The ‘kasoori methi’ was tricky to find. But I did find it, along with anything else my heart desires for authentic Indian Cuisine and plenty of well intentioned advice at my local health food store.
“Oh, you want fenugreek leaves.” “No, I want kasoori methi” I say, waving my little piece of paper in hand. She shrugs. “Same thing.” I must have looked crest fallen, she smiled. “What you making?”
So I filled her in on my plans and held up bags of things in my little cart and she appeared genuinely impressed that was not using a sauce out of a jar, so she gifted me with some Mango Curry Chicken wisdom. “Usually an Indian Chicken Curry is made from onion and tomato masala. With Mango Curry we use raw mango, also known as kacha aam (kairi) in Hindi, instead of tomatoes.”
I love learning new things. Both sweet and acidic, I can see why mango would substitute well for tomato.
Simple is ALWAYS Best
Sometimes simple recipes such as this one, can be true show stoppers, with very little effort. So don’t try too hard.
Tweaked over several sessions of Indian cooking, to finding the right balance, Mango Curry Chicken is a mild curry, bright in colour and texture, with a complex spice balance that whips up in no time.
1 kg (3pounds) chicken (skinless, on the bone, cut into small pieces) 2 onions, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced (or paste) 1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced (or paste) 2 tablespoons oil 3–4 whole cloves 1/2 inch cinnamon stick 2 whole green cardamom seeds 2 – 4 Green chilies, chopped (spice to taste) 2 teaspoon coriander powder 1 teaspoon red chili powder 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 mango (peeled and chopped) 2 – 3 sweet (yellow/red) peppers, sliced 2 cups okra, cut into 2 inch pieces, steamed separately 3–4 curry leaves 1 tablespoon kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) Salt to taste
Heat oil in non stick cooking pan and crackle the cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon. Next, sauté the onions till light brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add all the dry spice powders, chicken and mango. Stir and cook on high for 3-4 minutes.
Add peppers and stir to coat.
Add 1-2 cups water (to cover ingredients), salt, curry leaves and kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and stir.
Transfer to oven-safe pot, cover, reduce heat and cook (about 40 minutes), or place, covered in preheated 350* oven and cook (about 30 – 40 minutes) and cook until chicken becomes soft and tender.
Five minutes prior to the end of cooking time place cut okra in microwave safe bowl with very little water, cover and lightly steam, 2 – 3 minutes. Then drain any liquid and reserve (Little fluid prevents the okra from becoming slimy and maintains its colour)
Remove curry from heat, stir in okra, steamed separately, and let stand covered, for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with roti, naan or rice and enjoy!
Fearlessly cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer, food marketing consultant, recipe developer and sustainability advocate. A Cordon Bleu trained chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and now shares all things delicious - right here.