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Martha's Chicken Curry


This great recipe for chicken curry is from "Martha Stewart's Cooking School."

  • Servings: 6

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, January Winter 2009


For Garam Masala

  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice

For Paste

  • 3 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped (3 1/2 cups)
  • 10 to 12 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 piece (4 ounces) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black or brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

For Stew

  • 1 quart Basic Chicken Stock
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 small dried red chiles, finely ground
  • Coarse salt
  • 10 chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds), cut in half through the bone (or left whole)
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish

For Serving (Optional)


  1. Make garam masala: Gently toast the spices in a dry saute pan over medium heat until they are fragrant. Let cool slightly, then grind spice to a fine powder in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. You should have about 1/4 cup.

  2. Prepare paste: Puree the onions, garlic, and ginger in a blender until smooth. Set a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add the oil, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture is fragrant and starts to turn golden brown, and mustard seeds begin to pop, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in onion paste and cook until caramelized, about 45 minutes. During this time, you'll need to stir only occasionally in the beginning, but as the moisture evaporates you'll need to stir more and more frequently and, at the end, fairly constantly to keep it from turning too dark. Once the paste is ready, stir in the garam masala and tomato paste and continue cooking and stirring for another 5 minutes.

  3. Pour in the stock and deglaze pot, stirring vigorously to incorporate the paste mixture. Add turmeric, curry leaves, bay leaves, and ground chiles, and season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the stock has reduced slightly (and the flavors have melded), about 45 minutes. Add the chicken and potatoes. Submerging them in the liquid as much as possible. Simmer until the chicken is tender (but not falling off the bone) and cooked through (prick the meat to make sure the juices run clear) and the potatoes are tender (they should still hold their shape but offer little resistance when pricked with a sharp knife). This will take about 30 minutes more.

  4. Serve: Add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine. Garnish stew with cilantro sprigs, and serve with rice, yogurt, and lime wedges as desired.

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