Curry is comfort food. And, if you’ll excuse the tongue-in-cheek name, we could use a little comfort right now.
This recipe is one we just can’t get tired of. Back when we were still going into the office, it would make a perfect lunch for the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that too. When you’re stuck inside, it’s an easy way to liven up your afternoon—and to get some vegetables in your diet.
An exciting balance of sweetness, tang and slow-burning spice, this curry doesn’t really adhere to any particular nationality—we made it originally after a failed attempt at chicken saag, then borrowed from some Ugandan and Thai recipes too.
Which is all to say: Let this curry be whatever you need it to be. Deploy the spices already in your cabinet, or use it as an excuse to support your local Indian or Middle Eastern supermarket. Same with the vegetables—collard greens work great in place of spinach, provided you cook them long enough. There’s no one way of making quarantine curry right.
CHICKEN, SPINACH AND SWEET POTATO CURRY
- 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon sumac (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
- 4 large cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 small sweet potatoes, diced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 bunch spinach, chopped
- 1 can whole coconut milk
- 1 Roma tomato, diced
- Cilantro, for serving
Combine chicken, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon sumac (if using) in a bowl. Toss to coat and set aside.
On the stovetop, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high. When hot, add half of the garlic and stir for 1 minute, until starting to crisp at edges, then add all of the chicken. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just about cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the chicken into a bowl and set aside.
Turn heat down to medium-low. Deglaze the Dutch oven with 1/4 cup white wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any spices and bits at the bottom.
Add 1 tablespoon more olive oil and allow it to get hot again. Then add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, the rest of the garlic and all the onions. Sprinkle with another 1 teaspoon of salt, plus a grind of black pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook until the onions are softened, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the sweet potatoes and chicken stock, then the spices: 2 tablespoons garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon sumac and 1/8 tsp asafetida (if using).
(Note: Don’t worry too much about the exact amounts—we mess around with the spices every time. Just taste and adjust. It also might be pretty spicy at this step, but that will come down at the end due to the coconut milk.)
Mix together so everything is evenly distributed, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. The potatoes should be tender and pierced easily with a fork, but not mushy.
Return the chicken to the pot. Then drop in the chopped spinach a handful at a time, stirring as you go. After about 2 minutes, when all the spinach is cooked down a little, add the chopped tomato and stir in the coconut milk.
Serve with Basmati rice or your grain of choice.