Saturday, August 14, 2010

Food on the road - a quick and easy chicken curry with potatoes (beans or cauliflowers with potatoes for a Veg. version)

What is it with Indian food? You go without the stuff for a few days and you start to crave it real bad. It certainly happened to us on our trip. Our folks are with us and you can imagine how it is for them. Luckily one of the hotels we had booked on the trip had a kitchen. After a few days of eating Chinese for the heat our my tongue started revolting. In the middle of a national park it is pretty difficult to find lunch so we tended to pack. Packing lunch meant bread, spread and some easy to use veggies. The stuff starts to get to you after a few days.

We are not picky eaters but even then spice - specifically Indian spice is what your tongue craves after a few days.

The easiest to cook in these situations is chicken curry. It is also one of those dishes that works very well for novice cooks and for those who cannot spare too much time for cooking. Drop by a grocery store and pick up a pack of chicken, a few onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, pepper powder and chili powder. The grocery store we happened to stop by had Pathak's brand curry paste. Good to have if you can find but not absolutely necessary.

For a vegetarian option, swap out the chicken and use any type of beans,cauliflower or any veggie you fancy. If using beans precook the beans and drain. I cooked the beans and cauliflower combination a day later and it tasted just as good.

Quick and Easy Chicken Curry with potatoes
1. 1 1/2 lbs chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs) OR beans of any kind for a veg. version
2. 2 potatoes peeled and diced
3. 3-4 medium sized onions sliced
4. 4 cloves garlic chopped fine
5. 1 inch piece of ginger chopped fine
6. 1 1/2 tbsp curry paste/powder (optional) (* see Note)
7. 1 tbsp cayenne pepper (adjust accordingly if the curry powder or curry paste has chilies included)
8. 2 tsp pepper powder
9. 4 medium sized tomatoes pureed (chopped fine works)
10. salt to taste
11. oil

1. In a pan heat oil and add the onions and saute till translucent, add the ginger and garlic and let them saute for a couple of minutes
2. Add the curry powder or paste if using and give it a good mix (2-3 minutes)
3. Add the chicken pieces (or beans) and potatoes and let it brown for a few minutes (6-8 minutes)
4. Add the chili,salt and pepper powder and mix it in. Add salt to taste
5. Add the pureed tomatoes and 1 cup of water if required and give a good mix
6. Close the lid and let cook for 8-10 minutes, chicken and potatoes should be completely cooked (increase cooking time if chicken is not fully cooked)
7. Check for salt and heat and turn off the heat

Serve over steamed rice

* Note:
Curry Powder or curry paste is a blend of spices - cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, red chilies, cardamom. In case of curry paste garlic,ginger,tomatoes are also included in the mix


  1. I remember a chicken curry we made once like that on trip. After eating 3 days of eating non Indian, non spicy stuff, this was oh-so-welcomed by our taste buds :)

    Have a wonderful vacation!

  2. yes, eating in national parks can be quite challenging. have you tried dried lunches? i like some of the flavors of them really well. you just pour hot water, let it stew and the meal is ready. but of-course, can't beat if you have a kitchen and can make this delicious and simple chicken curry.

  3. I think it's a question of what we're used to - for most of us Indians, bread is just too bland, you can live on it, but it won't fulfil you, or something like that.

  4. Oh yes i miss when i have not had indian food for a while too. I guess everybody miss their food from their culture when they don'thave it for a while.
    When we are in India hubby and S miss the food from here.
    I remember we were in the plane to Kochin to Mumbai and there was this European guy sitting next to us and when the food was serve it was rice, curry etc and he just opend up his and closed it saying he can't see rice and curry :-)

  5. Love those quick and easy recipes, ISG -- I have made a curry or two way up on Lake Superior in a little rented kitchenette :) Looking for photos of your trip!

  6. talk about the tongue revolting..just been thru that for a couple of weeks! The basic kind is the best and most fulfilling and usually can be made even without the regular Indian spices. We could have a delightful dinner with that plate.

    (I carry my rice cooker and some maggi, dry masoor dal, canned chana, rice, salt and some ghee.. when we travel. usually cook up a curry and rice when we cannot live on salads and chicken strips anymore..esp. in the remote kind of place we went this time)

  7. Exactly. Even though we like eating out, we crave Indian food after a couple of days of eating out. Even a simple dal-chawal or rice and omlette seems like ambrosia

  8. Yeah, been there done that. When we traveled with parents here, we always rented a place with a kitchen, especially if the trip was more than 3 days. And we have whipped up some of the best chicken curries on such trips in the tiniest kitchens with just a small electric burner. Somehow I could never reproduce the exact taste at home. I haven't figured out if it is the taste or the feelings associated with having a hot and spicy meal after that much eating out thats missing.


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