A couple of weeks ago, I surprised Andy and took him out to dinner at this Indian place that I may or may not have been stalking and reading reviews about relentlessly. I’m an absolute lover of Indian cuisine, but it’s one of those things that has always been a little daunting to do at home – is it too hot? are there too many heavy spices? uh… how the hell do you even pronounce that?! But, nevertheless, I was completely inspired by this restaurant and their amazing balance of spicy, creamy, earthy goodness.
I am all for a nice and hot lamb vindaloo, but Andy has a little more *delicate* palate – he prefers a tikka masala that’s more on the creamy side than anything. And to be honest, so do I. If you spent a week in my house, you’d probably be appalled at how I sneak heavy cream into just about anything. Mildly disturbing, gloriously tasty. I feel like it’s a fair trade.
So long story short (too late) I made some kind of coconut/tikka masala/vindaloo mashup last night that turned out to be A M A Z I N G. I’m not even kidding. The juicy chicken thighs, fully developed coconut curry, and the combination of roasted carrots with a yogurt sauce was truly remarkable. Two people at work tasted some that I took for lunch, and gave it rave reviews! But that’s not even the best part… Start to finish, it only takes 35 minutes to make. It’s an easy weeknight dinner that tastes like you slaved over it all day – what’s not to love?!
Coconut Curry Chicken Thighs, Roasted Carrots and Broccoli and Yogurt Sauce
Coconut Curry Chicken Thighs
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs; roughly 3 lbs
- 2 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne, optional
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 Tbsp fresh black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 3 Tbsp canola or coconut oil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided into thirds
- Scant 1/4 cup heavy cream –or– coconut cream, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
Roasted Carrots and Broccoli with Yogurt Sauce
- 1 lb rainbow carrots, tops included; washed thoroughly
- 2 cups broccoli florets, cut into equal size chunks
- 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
- Juice from half a lemon
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Fleur de sel, to taste
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup chopped carrot tops, leaves only
- Juice and zest from half a lemon
- 1/2 jalapeño with or without seeds, diced – optional
- Combine curry powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper and cumin; mix well and rub onto both sides of chicken that has been patted dry; reserve 1 Tbsp of seasoning mix for later. Place chicken in a ziplock bag or container to season for at least 1 hour, up to 4 hours. You can also freeze them (if they haven’t been frozen before) and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Preheat oven to 400°; heat canola or coconut oil in heavy bottomed skillet or cast iron over medium heat. Sear chicken thighs in batches, starting skin side down – about 3 minutes each side. Remove to plate and sear second batch.
- Wipe out excess oil, and reduce heat to medium low. Add coconut milk, tomatoes and tomato paste, reserved seasoning from rub, and one third of the cilantro to the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth, and pour into the skillet – mixture will bubble and steam, reduce heat if needed.
- Simmer sauce for a few minutes, add wine and optional cream, and cook for five more minutes. Add chicken thighs, skin side up, and continue to simmer 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, cut carrot tops a few inches above the carrot and reserve 1 cup of the leaves and set aside. Cut the carrots lengthwise into halves or quarters so that they’re uniform in thickness to ensure even cooking. Place carrots on a baking sheet with broccoli and toss with olive oil, curry powder, lemon juice. Roast in the oven 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Sprinkle fleur de sel on top and a few fresh chopped carrot leaves.
- While carrots are in the oven and chicken is cooking, take Greek yogurt, 1/3 of the cilantro, the carrot tops, the zest and juice from the lemon, and jalapeño and combine in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve chicken over white rice with roasted vegetables on the side, either topped with the yogurt sauce or serve on the side.
Notes and Variations
The best thing about this recipe is that you can tweak and customize so many things exactly to your liking. Have little kids? Cube chicken breast and cook it directly in the sauce instead for an easier to eat meal. Want it less spicy? Omit the jalapeño, or remove the seeds first. Vegetarian? Paneer is delicious in a tikka sauce!
There are endless ways to make this recipe completely your own – have fun with it!
As always, I love to hear from you and get inspired by your variations and ideas, so please leave a comment about the recipe and how you liked it!