It’s a frigid wasteland out here in Massachusetts this week, so same as every winter, this means I am in the mood for steaming hot and sweaty yoga classes (how is that not appealing to everyone??) and spicy comfort food. I have more zucchini to use up, so I paleo-ized this “Paneer Curry with Peas” recipe published in Bon Appetit, and here’s the resulting dish: chicken and zucchini cooked in a sauce of crushed tomatoes with heat from fresh ginger, garlic, and a serrano chili and spice from cumin seeds browned in ghee.
Tomato Chicken Curry with Zucchini
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2” chunks (you could also use scallops or shrimp here, or add more protein — there is plenty of sauce)
- 5 tablespoons ghee, divided
- 1 large onion, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 serrano chile, minced with seeds
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 small or two large zucchini, chopped into 1/2″ chunks
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with sea salt and pepper; add to skillet and cook until just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; set aside. Reserve skillet.
- Place onion pieces in food processor. Using on/off turns, process until finely chopped but not watery. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons ghee in reserved skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add chopped onion and cook until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
- Add minced ginger, minced garlic, ground coriander, and minced serrano chile with seeds; stir 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes with puree, 1/2 cup water, and turmeric; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and simmer until mixture thickens slightly and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
- Add cooked chicken; gently fold to incorporate evenly. Cook mixture over medium-low heat until chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Fold in garam masala and cilantro. Season curry to taste with salt and pepper.