Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Papaya Chicken

The best advice I can give in making this dish, is focus on the preparation before starting; there are a lot, I mean a lot, of spices to be scooping out while the onions are caramelizing, and eventually burning. This is the main meal to which the Chana Masala would go well with (we made this again, with Chana Masala spice mixture this time instead of Garam Masala). The asafoetida in this dish is a spice that I've seen only in Indian dishes (until more recently, as a tincture to be put on the stomach of babies to reduce gas - a benefit from Thailand), and is very pungent and somewhat unpleasant when raw (and will likely stink up your place for a short while), but is used to reduce gassiness when eating lentils or cruciferous vegetables. This dish tasted quite good, an interesting spicy chicken paired with papaya, though I think I should have taken my beautiful Bride's suggestion, to cook the papaya a little with the chicken (on the other hand, cooking too long will deactivate the beneficial enzymes that papaya contains).

Papaya Chicken
From Everyday Indian by Bal Arneson
2 Tbsp corn or grapeseed oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
2 Tbsp grated garlic
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 green chili, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp Spanish paprika
1 tsp salt
900 g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 cup cubed ripe, juicy papaya

Mix together the cumin seeds, ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, paprika and salt.

Place the oil, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook for 10 seconds. Add the garlic, ginger and green chili, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the onion and sauté for four minutes, until caramelized. Add the cumin spice mixture, and cook for 10 seconds.

Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes, until it is almost done. Stir in the yogurt and cook for another 2 minutes, until the chicken is fully done. Add the papaya chunks, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, stir in the papaya chunks, and serve with brown rice or whole wheat naan.

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