Verdict: This dish brings the complexity of a curry to the comfort of a stew. A perfect addition to your winter cooking rotation.
Curries are a mainstay in our house because they are healthy, easy to make, and complex in flavours. Although there are a few recipes that don’t include vegetables, curry recipes tend to fit the bill in healthiness and striking deliciousness. Curries are also very easy to make but can require more time to cook (with the exception of Thai curry). The extra wait is worth it though – over time, the spices and broth break down and dramatically change the cheapest cuts of meat into the most tender and flavourful morsels.
A new curry recipe can mean a new world of unfathomable flavour combinations. Each country and region has a unique take on curry, and so, preparing a curry from Japan one night, and one from India the next feels like an entirely new cooking experience. Often with curry recipes, the first time I try a curry recipe is the first time I eat that kind of recipe, for example, this Japanese curry.
I was intrigued by the use of garam masala which is usually associated with Indian cooking. A typical Indian version of garam masala includes peppercorns, cloves, cumin, cardamon, star anise and coriander seeds. I find garam masala softer and more wholesome than regular curry powders; it’s the cloves that warm up the recipe. The lack of chili powder also makes it milder and more approachable to eat. If the spice and heat experience in eating curry is like riding a bike, garam masala based curries are the bikes with training wheels while vindaloos are the down hilll mountain variety – best saved for the veterans or the adventurous. You won’t have to stray too far from your grocery routine for this recipe. You can find the garam masala in the international Foods aisle of your super market; you can make homemade garam masala as well. Use whole spices and grind them up in the mortar and pestle or food processor.
During the cooking process, the carrots sweeten slightly, complimenting the garam masala’s clove and cardomon notes. The tender pieces of chicken are also a delight. The caramelized onions, hearty potato, and carrot result in a dish that looks like a stew with the surprising taste of a softly seasoned curry. We served this with brown rice and it was perfect for the minus 40 winter day, like curling up on the couch with a warm blanket and great book.