Coconut Curry Crab Chowder with Lentils

  • 1 1/2 C red lentils
  • 16 oz crab meat
  • 1 qt home canned garden tomatoes
  • 3-4 C clam juice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 C plain yoghurt (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 large garlic cloves. smashed
  • 3″ large piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 t cumin seed
  • 1 1/2 t fennel seed
  • 3-4 t very good, fresh Madras curry powder
  • 3/4 C unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red and yellow) 1″ diced
  • 1 poblano pepper 1″ diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced. Seeded if you want to decrease the spiciness
  • 8 0z sugar snap pea pods, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 scallions, sliced on a bias
  • garam masala to taste
  • lemon or lime wedges, to serve

In a small food processor, purée the yellow onion, ginger and garlic with just enough water (1-2 t) for it to form a thick, smooth paste. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high with a little oil. Add in the whole cumin and fennel seed and toast until just fragrant. Add in the onion-garlic-ginger paste and cook 1-2 minutes. Add in the curry powder and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, being careful not to scorch any of the spices.

Grind your toasted coconut in a spice grinder and add to the pot. Add in the tomatoes and clam juice and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the ground coconut is fully hydrated.

Meanwhile, rinse your lentils in several changes of cool water until the water runs clear. Cook for 10 minutes in boiling water with 2 bay leaves. Remove from heat and add 1 t kosher salt to the water and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and add the lentils to your soup pot along with your coconut milk and yoghurt, if using.

Add your carrots and cook for about 12 minutes. Then add the peppers and pea pods and crab. Cook until the vegetables are until just barely tender and still have crunch. Remove the pot from the heat and add in the cilantro and scallions and 1 t or more of the garam masala. Serve with lemon/lime wedges and top with extra toasted coconut if desired.

Serves 6

Curried Red Lentils

  • 2 C red lentils (masoor dal), rinsed in several changes of cold water
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • 4 coins of ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 yellow onion

In about 3-4 C of water, cook the lentils along with the aromatics for about 10-15 minutes until just slightly underdone. Remove from the heat and salt the water generously and let sit for 20 minutes.  When ready to use, drain, remove the aromatics (except red pepper flakes) and add to pot.

  • 5 large cloves of garlic
  • 3″ piece of peeled ginger, coarsley chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 t kalonji (nigella) seeds
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t fennel seeds
  • 2 t of your favourite curry powder, or more to taste. I like a Madras curry powder.
  • 1 qt tomatoes (home canned if possible)
  • 3/4-1 C of either cream, half & half or plain yoghurt, or a combination of those, to taste (optional)
  • 1 t garam masala*
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Purée the garlic, ginger and onion with a little water until a thick, smooth paste forms. Toast the whole spices in some ghee or oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until toasted, 1-2 minutes and then add in the curry powder and cook about 30 seconds until brown. Add in the garlic-ginger-onion paste and sauté until very thick and reduced by at least half. Add in the tomatoes and cook until the juices have reduced somewhat. Next add in the cooked lentils and continue to cook until the lentils are quite soft. Check for salt, and stir in the garam masala and cream/yoghurt and remove from the heat. Serve over rice and top with chopped cilantro and more garam masala if desired.

*I prefer to make my own garam masala (and often curry powders) from whole spices. Whole spices are extremely inexpensive when purchased either online or in a Indian (or similar) grocery store in bulk. I keep my whole spices in glass jars in a cool pantry and they last for years. I keep a large variety of spices that are useful for Indian, SE Asian, Mexican, and many other types of recipes on hand so I can toast and grind them fresh when I need them. The flavour is far superior to store-bought spices and it is way cheaper.

Curried Citrus Yoghurt Chicken with Pineapple & Tomato

2 large chicken breasts, skinned and boned

Marinade:
2 C whole milk yoghurt
2 T Indian style meat rub
juice and zest of 1 medium lemon
juice and zest of 1 medium orange
kosher salt to taste

2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
4 large garlic cloves
2″ piece of ginger, peeled
1 1/2 T curry powder
1 15 oz can of pineapple
1 12 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 C chicken stock
1 T garam masala
3 T flour

Slice the chicken breasts into 2 inch long, 1/2 inch wide strips like so. Ish.

Arrange the marinade ingredients into dishes so you can photograph them. The lemon isn’t pictured because I already juiced it, and after I did so it fell apart and looked nasty, so I threw it away. But you get the idea. I used fat-free yoghurt because that’s all we had in the house, but I’d go for the full-fat stuff normally. The spice mix in the bottom left is the rub, which in this recipe isn’t actually rubbing anything/one.

Pour the yoghurt into a medium mixing bowl, add the juices, half of the zest, the spice mix, and some salt. Taste it to make sure it is seasoned well enough, but not too much (as this marinade is going to be added to the rest of the dish at a later point, and you don’t want to oversalt).

Mix the marinade together and add in the chicken, stirring to make certain the chicken is well covered with the marinade.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate from anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days. This time I just did it for a couple hours.

Now get the rest of your ingredients out.

Peel the garlic and ginger, chopping the ginger into garlic clove-sized chunks and place both into your food processor (or blender).

Chop the onions into similar sized chunks and do the same.

Grind/purée until smooth. Clearly, this isn’t there yet.

And now it is. Nice and smooth. Beauty, eh.

Heat a large dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pan and add in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Heat on medium-high until warmed and add in the chicken, being sure to drain as much of the marinade off as possible.

Fry the chicken in batches until well browned.

Once you’ve browned all the chicken, you might want to add the whole amount back to the pan just to caramelise the coating a little more.

Meanwhile, mix up your chicken stock and pineapple juice making 3 cups of liquid. I love the Better Than Bouillon product (which comes in a ton of different flavours), though it’s saltier than the broth you can buy in the carton (which I do often use), in this case I just cut back on the salt I add to the recipe.

Remove all the chicken from the pot and add in the onion, garlic, and ginger mixture, the curry powder, and a little salt.

Sauté for several minutes until it becomes well browned and a fair bit of the liquid reduces out.  Once it starts to stick too much add in the tomatoes, chicken broth, and pineapple juice.  Be careful when you add in the tomatoes and make sure you don’t accidentally dump the tomato can lid into the pot and then grab it with your bare fingers. Because you know, it’s kind of hot in there. So yeah, don’t do that.

What you should do is add in the chicken and pineapple at which point it should look pretty much like this:

Pineapple!  Also add in the leftover yoghurt from the marinade.

Don’t forget to add in the rest of the orange and lemon zest.

Add the flour and a little cold water to a mason jar, put a lid on it, and shake until completely combined. No lumps!  Add to the sauce and then simmer for about 45 min – 1 hour.

Simmering:

Once it’s thickened up nicely, add in the garam masala about 1-2 minutes before you serve it.

Yay, you’re done! Now EAT.

I served this on a bed of brown rice (becuase it has more flavour and is better for you) alongside some buttered broccoli. Not very Indian I suppose, but it’s my favourite veggie, so suck it.  This would also be fantastic garnished with some chopped cilantro. I would’ve but I didn’t have any, and I made up this recipe because I was specifically cooking only from ingredients that I had on hand.

Curry Powder

2 t cumin seeds
1 1/2 t coriander seeds
2 t fenugreek seeds
3 dried bay leaves
1/2 t celery seeds
3/4 t ground turmeric

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin, coriander, fenugreek, celery seeds and bay leaves being careful to not let it burn. Toss frequently and remove when it just barely starts to smoke slightly.

Grind in a spice grinder or mortal and pestle until a fine powder, adding in the turmeric at the end.

Grilled Coconut-Lime Chicken with Peanut Sauce (Chicken Satay)

8-10 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast and/or thigh meat

Marinade:
1 can coconut milk
1/4 c soy sauce
3 T freshly grated ginger
4 minced garlic cloves
1 T sriracha (thai chilli sauce) could also use sambal oelek/ulek
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
zest and juice of 2 limes
2 T sesame seed oil
1/3 C vegetable oil
2 T of curry spice mix, recipe below
salt to taste, if needed

1/2 bunch cilantro chopped as a garnish

Marinate the thigh and breast pieces for 1-2 days in the fridge. I like to use all thigh meat (because it’s juicier and more flavourful) that has been boned and skinned so it’s really easy to just put it right into the marinade with no prep.

Preheat your grill. Once hot, scrape off any crud, and oil well.  Once the chicken has finished marinated, remove each thigh and cut in half lengthwise. Skewer as many strips you can fit on your skewers (I did 3). Grill until just done on medium-high heat. During the last couple minutes of grilling, sprinkle the chicken with just a little bit of garam masala (recipe below) or the curry spice mixture if you prefer.

Once all the chicken is done, place on a large platter, and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serve with the peanut sauce to dip.

Peanut Sauce:
1 1/2 C crunchy all-natural peanut butter (nothing in the ingredients but peanuts and salt) or 2 c roasted peanuts, crushed
zest and juice of 3 limes, extra lime juice if needed
2 T freshly grated ginger
1/2+ C dark soy sauce
1/3 C brown sugar
2-3 finely minced garlic cloves
sriracha/sambal oelek to taste (I like mine quite spicy)
2-3 t sesame oil
2 t curry spice mix, recipe below
coconut milk as needed until desired consistency

Mix all together. The liquids are in variable measure because depending on what kind of peanut butter you use, how oily it is, and whether you grind your peanuts freshly, the amount you’ll need to add in will change. If using peanuts instead of peanut butter, blend 3/4 of your peanuts in a food processor until it turns to peanut butter. Add the remainder of the crushed peanuts, and pulse a few times to mix them in, but retain the crunchy texture. Also depending on how limey and spicy you want it, change the amounts of lime juice and sriracha accordingly. In fact, feel free to adjust all amounts of all ingredients according to your taste.

Spice mix recipes

Curry spice mix:
2 t cumin seeds
1 1/2 t coriander seeds
2 t fenugreek seeds
3 dried bay leaves
1/2 t celery seeds
1 t ground turmeric

Garam Masala:
8-12 green cardamom pods (or 1 1/2-2 t ground cardamom)
1 T cloves
1 T black peppercorns
25g/1 oz coriander seeds
25g/1 oz cumin seeds
4 short cinnamon sticks
1/4 pod whole nutmeg (or 3/4 t ground)
3 star anise pods

Toast the whole spices in a small, DRY sauté pan over low heat until fragrant and warm, you should be able to just smell the spices, but be very careful not to burn them. Grind them in a coffee grinder you dedicate solely to grinding spices. Add in any pre-ground spices and grind to mix in.

Chicken Coconut Kurma

Spice mix 1 (rub):
1 t cumin seeds
3/4 t coriander seeds
3/4 t fennel seeds
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground garlic
1/4 t cayenne

Spice mix 2 (curry):
2 t cumin seeds
1 1/2 t coriander seeds
2 t fenugreek seeds
3 dried bay leaves
1/2 t celery seeds
1 t ground turmeric

Garam Masala:
8-12 green cardamom pods (or 1 1/2-2 t ground cardamom)
1 tbsp cloves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
25g/1 oz coriander seeds
25g/1 oz cumin seeds
4 short cinnamon sticks
1/3 whole nutmeg (or 3/4 t ground)
3 star anise pods

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
kosher salt
ghee or vegetable oil
7 cloves of garlic
1 inch gingerroot
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1 medium onion
1 8-12 oz can diced tomatoes
4 T whole-milk yoghurt
1 12 oz can coconut milk
4 T cream

For all spice mixes:
Toast the whole spices in a small, DRY sauté pan over low heat until fragrant and warm, you should be able to just smell the spices, but be very careful not to burn them. Grind them in a coffee grinder you dedicate solely to grinding spices. Add in any pre-ground spices and grind to mix in.

Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Season with spice mix #1 and kosher salt and let sit for an hour. Then fry in ghee or oil until brown and crispy on both sides, remove from the pan.

In a blender, add in 1/2 c of the chicken broth and the garlic and ginger. Purée until smooth.  Dice the onion.  Sauté in the pan, adding a little kosher salt to sweat.  Once soft, add in the garlic/ginger paste mix and fry until almost dry. Add in 1 tablespoon of spice mix #2 (curry) and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add in the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Whisk the yogurt into the coconut milk and add to the pan, stirring well.  Add in the rest of the chicken broth, chicken pieces, and any accumulated juices.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover for 30 min until the chicken is quite tender. Remove the lid, add in the cream, 2 tsp of the garam masala, stir, turn up heat to medium and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened considerably.

Serve with rice and buttered, toasted naan.