Garlic, Cashew, & Lemon Chicken with Tomato Curry

For my last birthday This past summer, my BFF M. gave me this cookbook, from the Vancouver restaurant Vij’s. I have never been to the restaurant, but the cookbook is exactly the type I like: geographically rooted in one cuisine, not too wide of a subject area, doesn’t proclaim to be a ‘bible’, and is locally inspired. It even has suggested wine pairings for each dish! This is not your average Indian cookbook: it is bold and nontraditional and recipes for Butter Chicken or Lamb Pasanda are nowhere to be found. The first time I thumbed through it, on the drive from Ingonish to Halifax in August, my stomach immediately started grumbling thinking of the amazing food to come.

That being said, I have no idea why I chose a recipe so complicated as my inaugural introduction to this book. This chicken dish with tomato curry ranks as one of the most complicated single dishes I’ve ever made (2 or 3 course meals are different). Luckily I chose to make it on a day I knew I’d have the time. Here are the rough steps:

  1. Marinate chicken (3-4 hours before you want to eat) in a combination of ghee or oil [I used oil, as I didn’t have time to make the ghee before I had to marinade it], lemon juice, cayenne pepper, paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, and salt.
  2. Make tomato broth: boil, simmer, and strain approx. 1.8kg of tomatoes in water.
  3. Make tomato curry by combining broth and spices and simmering.
  4. Make ghee (first time I’d made it).
  5. Roast garlic cloves & cashews separately, and set aside.
  6. (Meanwhile cook rice).
  7. Prepare ghee & lemon dressing.
  8. Grill chicken, deglazing with dressing from step 7.
  9. Assemble (yes, a step in itself): chicken over rice and then drizzle with the garlic, cashews, and tomato curry!
  10. Collapse exhausted, and enjoy.

In total I was in the kitchen 3-4 hours. I am surprised H. didn’t break down and order a takeaway during the process! The dish did not disappoint: it was PACKED full of flavour — almost too much, as there is a lot going on and a lot of competing tastes.

We both really enjoyed this meal but given that it is so cumbersome to prepare, I’m not sure whether I’d make it again. I can definitely see how the time would be cut down making this in a restaurant, as you’d have most of the elements ready and prepared, but I don’t think it’s practical for most home cooks. Many other dishes (including delicious Indian curries) are just as flavourful but much easier. Spending time in the kitchen is something I really enjoy, and normally as soon as I start preparing a meal I feel the day’s stress slip away (ok a glass of wine helps sometimes!), but a lot of finicky and complicated steps made for a  slightly more stressful experience.

That being said, I am looking forward to trying and sharing many future recipes from this book, so please stay tuned. 🙂

I’m well aware this doesn’t photograph well!


One thought on “Garlic, Cashew, & Lemon Chicken with Tomato Curry

  1. Sam 24/11/2012 / 4:43 pm

    Mmmm. Sounds amazing. Auntie Sam would like some. X

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