Serving
(click to enlarge)

Chicken Stew Karala
India - Karala
   
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
2 main  
***
1-1/8 hrs  
Yes

Yes, stew has become an accepted culinary term in India, for dishes that are too liquidy to be curries. Can invention of the spoon be far behind? Chicken, Potatoes Coconut milk and aromatic spices make this a flavorful dish. Note that chicken is very expensive in India and generally reserved for special occasions.



12
8
2
-----
1/2
1/2
1/8
2
10
-----
5
1
1
1/2
1
1/4
1
1
2
2/3
10
1/3
1/4
1/4
oz
oz
oz
---
in
t
t


---
oz

cl
T
T
t

in

t
oz
c
c
t
Chicken meat (1)
Potatoes (2)
Carrot
-- Spicing mix
Ginger Root
Peppercorns
Turmeric
Cloves
Curry Leaves (3)
----------
Onions
Chilis, Green (4)
Garlic
Ghee (5)
Oil
Mustard Seeds (6)
Cinnamon Leaf (7)
Cinnamon Stick (8)  
Cardamom, green
Salt
Coconut Milk
Water
Peas, Frozen
Garam Masala (9)
PREP   -   (25 min)
  1. Cut CHICKEN into bite size pieces.
  2. Peel POTATOES and cut into about 1 inch chunks (see Note-2). Keep them in cold water until needed.
  3. Cut CARROT into sticks about 3/4 inch long.
  4. Slice GINGER very thin. Cut half the slices into thin matchsticks and hold aside. Chop the rest fine.
  5. Pound Chopped Ginger, Peppercorns and Turmeric into a paste in a mortar. Mix all Spice mix items.
  6. Chop ONIONS small. Chop CHILIS fine. Mix.
  7. Crush GARLIC lightly and split in half lengthwise.
RUN   -   (40 min)
  1. In a large sauté pan, heat Oil and fry Mustard Seeds until they start to pop.
  2. Stir in Cinnamon Leaf. A few seconds later stir in the Garlic, Cinnamon Stick and Cardamoms. 20 seconds later stir in the Ginger mix, then stir in the Onion mix. Fry stirring for about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in Chicken and fry stirring for another 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in Potato mix, Ginger sticks and Salt. Cook covered for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in Coconut Milk and Water. Bring to a simmer uncovered (coconut milk foams up worse than cow milk) then turn to a slow simmer and cook covered until Chicken is nearly tender (about 20 minutes).
  6. Stir in Peas, sprinkle with Garam Masala and continue to simmer for another 8 minutes or so.
  7. Serve hot with plenty of Jasmine rice.
NOTES:
  1. Chicken:   Weight given is for skinless boneless chicken meat - I prefer thigh meat for flavor. Chicken is always stripped of skin and all removable fat for Indian recipes (except tandoor). In Karala the chicken is cut small but still on the bone. Legs cut crosswise would work well if you want bone in (use a sharp Chinese cleaver driven by a soft faced mallet).
  2. Potatoes:   The pattern recipe calls for real New Potatoes boiled in their skins, but these tiny, paper skinned potatoes are almost impossible to get in North America (fingerling potatoes have tough skins), and too expensive if you can get them. For this reason I suggest red or white rose potatoes, peeling them and cutting them into chunks. Don't use Yukon Gold type potatoes which turn to mush if cooked a little long. For details see our Potatoes page.
  3. Curry Leaves   These are necessary for the true flavor of southern India, and are now reasonably available in Indian markets, at least here in California. If you don't have them you will have to leave them out - there is no acceptable substitute. Use caution with how many because some people don't like the resinous taste. For details see our Curry Leaves page.
  4. Chilis, Green:   OK, what does the pattern recipe mean by by "Green Chili"? The most common green chili in India is the Jawala, very hot. Indian chilis available in Los Angeles aren't very hot - so I suggest a Serranos or three green Thai chilis (hotter but much smaller) - or use your own best judgement. Remember, Karala is at the far southern tip if India, so this recipe should not be too mild. For details see our Chili Page and our Indian Chilis page.
  5. Ghee:   Ghee is easily available in markets serving an Indian community. Accept only Butter Ghee, no substitutes - Vegetable Ghee is often trans fats. If you can't get (or can't accept) butter ghee, replace it with more oil (preferably Pure Olive Oil). For details see our Ghee Page.
  6. Mustard Seeds   In India black mustard seeds are always used, but yellow ones will work.
  7. Cinnamon Leaf   The thought that you could get a cinnamon leaf in North America as laughable. The pattern recipe suggests substituting a bay leaf.
  8. Cinnamon   Use real cinnamon if at all possible. American "cinnamon" is actually cassia bark which is thick and hard. Real cinnamon can be found among Mexican spices - the bark is very thin. Real cinnamon originated in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), just southeast of Karala.
  9. Garam Masala:   Best is a southern masala. See our recipe Garam Masala - Tamil Nadu. Karala and Tamal Nadu are back-to-back on the southern tip of India.
  10. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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