comfort food is an essential part of my food philosophy. when i’m in need, i generally turn to persian koreshts (stews), but i’m always looking for new foods and spices to give me that soothing quality. so, when a friend brought back from africa an array of spices and curry powders, i knew that i had found a new comfort dish. there’s just something fun about the bright red powder! combined with the yellows and greens of the vegetables, the entire dish just brings a smile to your face.
according to the ever-accurate wikipedia, zanzibar was introduced to curry by the omani’s in the 1600s, when the sultanate took control of the islands. given the commercial relationship between oman and india, indian curries (which were so popular in oman) were incorporated into zanzibari cuisines. the difference, however, is in the flavours. zanzibar red curry lacks the spiciness that you would expect from a curry, but has a sweet undertone. truth be told, i have no idea if my recipe is anywhere near authentic. however, the result was delicious. don’t be daunted by the seemingly long list of ingredients – the result is well worth it.
of note: i believe this specific curry powder is difficult to find. though i haven’t attempted to make this dish with other powders, i am certain it would still work well.
the food: zanzibar red curry with chicken
1 large chicken breast
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper (to taste, I use about ½ teaspoon of each)
½ tablespoon grape seed oil (substitute: you can use olive or canola oil, as you prefer)
1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons zanzibar red curry powder
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon tumeric
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
½ cup chicken stock (and another ¼ cup to keep aside)
¼ cup zucchini, chopped into fourths
¼ cup squash, chopped into fourths
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1: dice the chicken breast, and season with the cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. sautee the chicken in a pan on medium heat, until just cooked – you want it to still have another 5 minutes of cooking to do when you remove it from the heat. set aside.
2: in a deep pan, brown the minced garlic with the oil, until just golden. add the diced tomatoes and chicken stock, then add the curry powder, coriander, tumeric and black pepper. make sure the spices are stirred into the broth well, and bring the mixture to a boil for a minute. lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 30 min. stir occasionally.
3: after the curry has simmered, add in the vegetables and the last ¼ cup of stock. simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
4: serve with rice and a crisp white wine!
(makes about 4 servings; prep time: 5-10 min; cooking time: 40-45min)