Sometimes making fusion foods is more appealing to me than traditional curries. Not that I don’t love my Indian foods, but change is good; especially in the kitchen! Cooking is more fun, and the results can be a hit with your taste-testers or a big miss. But regardless how your own “fusion food” turns out – make sure you enjoy the moment! Cooking is the perfect opportunity to experiment with different ingredients, flavors and textures and then end up with your own version of a family favorite, or an absolutely new creation! Cooking is basically a big science experiment happening in kitchen.
I did some experimenting myself recently and ended up making a fun spin on a traditional Thai coconut curry by making it into an “Indian Balti-style.” If you’ve never heard of the word “Balti” before, it is basically a cooking method using a metal pan only. Food is ususally also served in a metal plate plate to, because the idea of “balti” is that the flavor of the dish is deeply enhanced! Imagine the mindset behind a “cast-iron skillet.” It is seasoned over and over again with different flavors everytime its cooked in, and the flavors of food are tastier every time you eat from it! “Balti” is a very similar concept, except its about using a metal cooking pot/pan to intensify flavors, rather than previous seasonings. (Hopefully you get the point!)
This Balti-Style Coconut Curry is a really flavorful dish where the chicken is seared in dry spices for a little bit before being added to a creamy coconut sauce that is just a match made in heaven! Plus, if you’ve been following my blog and recipes from the beginning…you will know that I am all about creating Indian and Indian fusion dishes that are extremely flavorful, but easy to make in the kitchen. Seriously – I want all of us to eat at a decent time and not have to worry about complicated steps and tools! This recipe will really show you how interesting Indian cuisine can be, in a fun and very accessible way! :O)
COCONUT BALTI CHICKEN
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 2 serrano chilis
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
- 2 Tbsp ginger
- 2 Tbsp garlic
- ½ cup cooking oil (any type)
- 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
- 2.5 Tbsp Garam Masala
- 4 Tbsp ground nuts (almonds, cashews, *peanuts – optional)
- 8oz. coconut milk
- 1.5 Tbsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground cumin seeds
- ½ cup of freshly chopped parsley
- 2.5lbs to 3lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs (cut into small/medium cubes)
**NOTE: Recipe for how to make homemade Garam Masala is in www.spiceculturecooking.com (if desired). Otherwise, store bought is fine.
- In a blender, add tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, serrano, and blend all ingredients till it turns into a liquid. Do not leave any large chunks. Set aside.
- Turn stove on medium setting and add oil and ground nuts and dry spices. Allow to brown for about 3-4 minutes, but do not burn. Lower heat if necessary.
- Add in chicken thigh pieces, increase heat to medium-high and fully coat all pieces with the spiced oil and nut mixture. Allow the chicken to sear in spiced mixture for about 5 minutes, but not get burned edges. (Goal is to just let the spices and nuts stick onto each piece of chicken before adding wet ingredients.)
- Once spiced oil and chicken is a golden-brown color, lower heat to medium-low setting, add in your blended veggie mixture. Allow the sauce to simmer and begin to bubble. It will begin to start turning a dark red color. (May need to cover to avoid sauce bubbling out of pot too much.)
- Cover pot, lower heat to medium-low setting and allow the chicken to cook for another 10-15 minutes OR until all chicken pieces are tender to touch and fully cooked when poked with fork.
- Keep heat on low setting and add in coconut milk, fresh parsley and mix in completely.
- Allow all ingredients to heat through for another 5 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with extra parsley if desired.
NOTE: You can make this recipe into a VEGETARIAN OPTION by substituting the chicken with about 2-3 cups of mixed veggies (cauliflower, carrot, potato, peas, bell peppers, corn, green beans, eggplant, etc.)
If you get the time to make this chicken, I want to know your thoughts! Leave a comment below OR tag me on IG @cmspiceculture.