Green Masala Chicken

Usually a combination of cilantro, mint, fenugreek, ginger, scallions and serrano peppers, green masala curries are fragrant and bright in color and flavor. Here we add chunks of carrot and ground cloves to offset the savory notes and add a touch of sweetness. The green masala can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. This chicken is delicious served with plain basmati rice.

makes 5-6 cups

ingredients

6 bone in chicken thighs (approximately 1-1.5 lbs)

3 Tbsp of olive oil

1 cup of diced onion (white or yellow)

1 Tbsp minced garlic

½ tsp ground cloves

2 cups of carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tsp salt

Green masala (purée in a blender)

2 cups of cilantro, finely chopped

2 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves

1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed

4-5 stalks of green onion

2-3 whole serrano peppers, stem removed

2 inch piece of ginger, unpeeled

⅓ cup of roasted peanuts

½ cup plain yogurt

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

 

instructions

  1. Heat up the oil and add the diced onions. Cook the onions on high heat for 5-7 minutes or until they are golden and translucent. Add the minced garlic and ground cloves, chicken pieces, carrot chunks and salt. Cook on high heat, stirring frequently for another 4-5 minutes or until the chicken has a golden color. Turn the heat down to low and cover the chicken and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes. 
     
  2. To prepare the green masala, discard the bottom one inch only of the cilantro bunch, rinse in cold water and set aside to dry in a colander or over paper towels. Pull the mint leaves off the stems, rinse and set aside. Trim the top stringy part of the green onions then rough chop them. Without peeling the ginger, cut into small ½ inch chunks. 
     
  3. In a blender bowl, combine peanuts, yogurt, water, whole serrano peppers, chopped ginger and salt. Blend until smooth then add the cilantro with stems and all, mint leaves, green onions and blend until smooth. If needed, add a few tablespoons of water to smooth out the mixture. The green masala sauce should be a smooth and bright green.
     
  4. The chicken and carrots should be cooked through and fairly dry by now. If there is still a lot of liquid, take the lid off and cook at high heat for 3-4 minutes to reduce the liquid. Next add the green masala to the chicken, turn the heat to medium and bring the chicken to a simmer. Immediately turn the heat off and serve. 

    ideas / variations

    • Try coconut milk instead of yogurt to keep it dairy free. 
    • Replace carrots with sweet or regular white potatoes, turnips or rutabaga.
    • If you like your curries hot, add an additional serrano pepper.
    • Replace the mint with 2 Tbsp of fresh rosemary or 1 cup of fresh basil or sage. 
    • Replace peanuts with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds or other nuts.
    • Bone in dark meat chicken always has the most flavor - however, if you want to replace it with boneless white meat, cut the breast into 1 inch chunks and reduce the initial cooking time to 3-4 minutes so the chicken stays moist. If using boneless chicken thighs or legs, the initial cooking.
    • Time for cooking chicken is no more than 10 minutes.