Yesterday was cold, rainy, gloomy… a perfect Saturday for something slow-cooked. A few weeks ago I stumbled on a recipe for crock-pot coconut curry chicken (here is the link to the original recipe), of course I wasn’t as well prepared to make this as I thought and I had a few bumps in the road. It was still amazing.
The great thing about crock-pot cooking is that it leaves you with leftovers that you can freeze and use during busy week days, and you don’t have to be there for the six hours it takes to cook. I got so many things done while dinner was cooking.
Feel free to make the original version, but if you come to have some of the same problems as I did, you can add or subtract anything you want. I will leave a commentary next to the ingredients for your benefit (and a little amusement maybe).
It was so yummy I forgot to take a picture before I started eating
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes— This really isn’t optional, although I had a brief thought of adding shrimp. When making indian food I stick to chicken.
So many carrots!
1 lb. (about 5 large) carrots, peeled and cut into similar-sized cubes as chicken— Turns out I had a 1 lb. bag of baby carrots in the fridge, I used those, uncut. Looking back, I could have done with fewer carrots.
1 whole onion, peeled and quartered— I used a red onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled— I love garlic, I used four cloves, but looking back I could have used more
1 bell pepper, seeded and quartered— I used a red pepper, I hate green peppers for no real reason
1 small can (5 oz.) tomato paste— the smallest can of tomato paste that my grocery store sells is 6oz, which is fine
To avoid nasty preservatives I try to use organic canned products when available
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk— the only size my grocery store sold was 13.5oz, which was ok, but I would have liked even more of a coconut flavor, I think next time I will use a can and a half…maybe even two, I love coconut…
1-½ tsp. salt—the thing about salt is, that in such a big dish a teaspoon just doesn’t cover it, add the teaspoon, and then two hours before it’s done cooking, taste it, and add as much as you see fit. Don’t be afraid of salt, it is your friend.
1 tbsp. curry powder—I used 2-4 tbsp by the end of the dish
You can see the crushed bay leaves on top
1 tbsp. garam masala (Indian spice mix)— This spice mix did not exist in my grocery store, so I had to improvise I used the following: 2tsp ground ginger, 2tsp cinnamon, 2tsp oriental five spice, 2tsp ground mustard powder, 2tsp ground cumin, 3 tsp turmeric, 4 crushed bay leaves, 1tbsp ground ground coriander, 1 tbsp ground cardamon
I know that it sounds like a lot of spice, but I do like very favorable dishes, if you think that it may be too much for you, cut everything in half and then add your favorites two hours before it’s done cooking, just like the salt
1 jalapeno, seeded and halved OR 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional for heat)— I used crushed red pepper and ground cayenne
I also added one apple (chopped) and one potato (chopped) into the croc-pot, had I had more potatoes I would have added more…but alas, there was one and it needed to be used sooner rather than later. The apple added some sweetness that I was afraid I was missing, it was a nice touch, but it was overwhelmingly “appley”, and thus I added more spice. I had a half a container of mushrooms that also found their way into this dish.
2 tbsp. water
1-½ tbsp. cornstarch
The cornstarch/water mixture is for the last hour of cooking to thicken up the sauce, I used it, but it didn’t seem like the sauce really needed too much thickening. If you add more coconut milk in then you may be in need of it.
1 bunch cilantro (optional but so, so good)
I made extra rice for all of the leftovers
naan bread or pitas (optional)
I used all three, the cilantro was AMAZING, added just the right amount of freshness at the end.
Grease the crockpot. I sprayed it with an organic cooking spray–just make sure its evenly coated.
The following I chopped into cubes and put directly into the crock-pot: 1 apple, 1 potato, 1/2 of the onion, 1 lb. carrots, 1 lb. chicken
I crushed two cloves of garlic in a garlic press and added it to the crock-pot
All the veggies ready to be blended
Most of the rest of the ingredients were put into a blender to be pureed: 1 pepper, 1/2 of the onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 a container of mushrooms, tomato paste, coconut milk, all the spices
Blend until smooth and then poor the sauce over everything in the crock-pot, mix well. Cook on low for 6 hours.
Don’t forget to taste the dish two hours before it’s done cooking so that you can add more spices as needed (the chicken should be cooked through and safe to taste)
An hour before it is all done mix together the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add to the crockpot and mix well. Cook for another hour and then you will be good to go.
Serve on top of rice, topped with some cilantro. I baked a piece of store bought naan to accompany the dish. Enjoy wish a nice glass of white wine, we chose a Sauvignon Blanc.
After Ted got seconds, he was kind enough to let me take a picture while the food was cooling down a little bit