Most of the curry recipes use the same ginger-garlic paste with cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon and other spices commonly used in curry powder blend. Still the cuisine maintains it’s individuality through the cooking technique which is closer to stir frying rather than the sauté and braising techniques used in Pakistani cuisine. I chose one of the most famous of Nepalese dishes, a Chicken Vegetable Curry, Chicken Bhutuwa to start with and found it not only very quick and easy but also finger licking good and satisfying main course served with both steamed rice or flatbread.
This Chicken Vegetable Curry has a generous quantity of cumin and red chillies, therefore packs a big punch of flavour. If you are not big on chillies, reduce the quantity to half of what is given in the recipe. I love the addition of eggplants and peas, both being my most favourite vegetables. They add a variety of colour, texture and flavour to the spicy chicken curry. It’s one of those recipes that’s perfect for global palates and getting non-adventurous eaters to branch out into something a little different.
Am I going to cook this again? Definitely! And very frequently too because it was an instant hit with my family. After this successful trial, I’ll be cooking a lot more from Nepalese cuisine so stay tuned to go on a new and exciting culinary journey with me on my blog.
Traditionally the recipe is cooked in mustard oil which is very commonly used in Nepali cooking. As I have converted most of my recipes to olive oil, so I used the same for this one too. I added eggplants and tomatoes in wedges form so that they retain some of their texture and juiciness. You can also chop them up small and have them melt down into the gravy if you like.
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1+1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggplant, cut into wedges
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger
2 dried whole red chilies
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida or 1 teaspoon onion powder
4 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
Spring onions for garnishing
This Is What You Do:
Add chicken pieces and mix thoroughly to coat chicken with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Add ginger, garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon red chilli powder and 1/8 teaspoon asafoetida to a blender with a little water and make thick masala paste. If you can’t find asafoetida where you live, add 1 teaspoon garlic or onion powder instead.
In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add chicken pieces and fry till golden brown on all sides (4-5 minutes). Remove from oil and set aside.
Heat remaining two tablespoons of oil in the same pan and add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and dried whole chilies, fry for a few seconds. Add the masala paste and fry for another minute. Add eggplant wedges, tomatoes and peas. Add a little more water (1/4 cup) and cook till the vegetables are tender but not mushy.
Add chicken and stir fry till the liquid is sufficiently reduced. Taste and season with salt. Garnish with spring onions and serve hot with steamed rice or roti/naan.