This recipe comes from my home. My mother used to make it for us during the hot days of summer.
Yogurt does wonders for cooling the body and digestion, so we always enjoyed this healthy, hearty, wholesome dish. The origin of the dish is northern Indian, but many mothers across India make this dish with their own spin. Yogurt is popular in the cooking of northern India, while coconut milk is more common in the southern coastal areas. I have used chicken, but this recipe can also be made using fish or vegetables. It is best served with rice.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the whole masala ingredients and cook until the spices release their fragrance, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the ginger and garlic and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onions and 2 teaspoons of salt, and cook, stirring, until the onions turn golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the ground masala ingredients and stir for 30 seconds. Add 2 cups (480 ml) water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the chicken, return the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it is about three-quarters cooked, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, and simmer until the chicken has cooked completely, 8 to 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt thoroughly. Just before serving, gradually mix the yogurt into the curry, stirring slowly. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or so to heat through, without letting it come to a boil.Taste, add salt, if needed, and remove from the heat.
Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, and serve.
Reprinted with permission from The Immigrant Cookbook
Leyla Moushabeck, ed. 2018, Interlink Books, 978-1-56656-038-2, $35 hb, www.interlinkbooks.com.
is a New York-based restaurateur. Growing up in Kolkata, India, food played a central role in his household. In 2011 he opened the Masalawala, which he runs with his father. Its success led Roni to open a second location in 2016, followed shortly by Rahi, a modern Indian restaurant named Zagat’s hottest new restaurant in 2017; and recently, Unico, a globally influenced fast-casual restaurant in Long Island City, named in NewYork Magazine’s “Best New Cheap Eats, 2017,” and Eater’s “Hottest Restaurants in Queens.” He has used his success to benefit his community, establishing a scholarship program in West Bengal, India, as well as working to empower victims of abuse and trafficking in New York, and staffing and training students from LaGuardia Community College’s Food Service Management Program.