If you’ve been craving curry stew, and do not wish to shop for 25 unusual ingredients, then this stew is for you. I’m not certain about the origins of this particular curry, but I’ve personally learnt it from an Armenian chef in Iran. During the years though, I modified and perfected the original recipe to my liking, and today this curry stew is one of the most popular stews that my friends and family ask for it.
A well prepared curry is a luscious treat for those of us who are spice lovers. However, the challenge is to make it without overkilling the other ingredient’s flavor; but in this dish, the main ingredient “yogurt” is the perfect receptacle for the curry spice and cayenne pepper and the resulting stew is really well rounded and delicious.
Finally, making curry with yogurt is a very gentle process. If you are used to making stews which often looks like a witch’s brew, then you need to simmer down for this one (wink). Good luck.
2 lb. regular greek style yogurt
1lb. regular strained yogurt
1lb. sour cream
6 tbsp curry powder, (recommended: Ship Madras Curry Powder)
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
3/4 cup tomato paste, sautéed in 1 tbsp olive oil for 2 minutes
2 large eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, small diced
1 lb. roasted or rotisserie chicken, deboned, large diced
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 cups of chicken broth or water
1 tsp powdered saffron, dissolved in 2-3 tbsp of hot water
In a large mixing bowl, combine the regular yogurt, strained yogurt, sour cream, curry powder, cayenne pepper, sautéed tomato paste, eggs and whisk them well until smooth. Set aside.
In the main cooking pot, heat the olive oil, and add the diced onions. Season with salt and sauté until lightly golden about 5-7 minutes. Add the diced chicken pieces, and continue sautéing for about 2-3 minutes. Next, add the broth or water and let the mixture come to a gentle simmer (not boil).
Once the chicken blend is simmered, using a plastic cup and a spatula, transfer the yogurt mixture into the pot, in 3 batches, mixing and stirring every time. Doing so will help to temper the yogurt slowly into the broth and will prevent curdling. Add the saffron and stir in to the stew.
Simmer uncovered, over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep your eyes on it until it’s done. Yogurt sinks and burns easily, so make sure the heat is low, and stir the mixture frequently and gently. Serve hot with basmati steamed rice.
- Strained yogurt is a middle astern product and usually is known by other names such as: "yogurt cheese", "labne", and "mast-eh-checkideh".
- If you can't find strained yogurt in your nearby markets, make it yourself. Purchase 2 lb. of regular greek yogurt, place a sieve over a fitting bowl and Lay a paper towel over it and gently put the yogurt on top. Leave it in the refrigerator overnight or for 8 hours; the whey will separate and yogurt solids will remain. That is strained yogurt.
- Ideally, this curry is super delicious when made with soured yogurt, and I sometimes go through the trouble of souring. Up to 3 days in advance, stick some white bread pieces (about half a slice) on top of the yogurt and keep it refrigerated. Plan accordingly and make sure to use the soured yogurt right after it is done. Once it is activated, it can not be stopped and if you wait a long time, it may be too sour.
- I had a friend whose mother used to leave the tomato paste out. Her curry would look very golden and it was delicious too. Simply, leave the tomato paste out from the mixture, and use a little more saffron.
- You can turn this dish to vegetarian curry by leaving the chicken out and using water instead of chicken broth.