Chicken & Date Curry Recipe

Chicken & Date Curry Recipe
Dates are the sweet delicious fruit of the date palm tree - first cultivated by the Egyptians almost 6000 years ago. Today dates are commonly used in Indian, Middle Eastern, Moroccan & Persian cuisines in both sweet and savory applications. Dates have a lovely sweet flavor similar to honey and a slightly chewy texture. Since fresh dates are highly perishable, they are most commonly found in their dried form.

Healthwise, dates are very nutritious – they are high in antioxidants but also low in fat & cholesterol. Dates are a rich source of both protein & fiber and contain high levels of calcium, potassium and Vitamins A & B.

My Chicken with Dates is the perfect “date night” curry for not only the obvious reasons but also the wonderful combination of tastes and flavors you will enjoy in every delicious bite. The Marathi/Hindi word for dates is “khajoor” (pronounced khazoor).


MURGH KHAJOOR (Chicken & Date Curry)

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless/skinless chicken, cut into 1.5” pieces
10 dried dates, pitted and soaking for 30-45 minutes in enough hot water to cover
1 medium onion, finely diced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
1 bay leaf
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
salt & pepper, to taste
juice of ½ lemon (or lime)
¼ cup cream (you can use low-fat cream or even yogurt)
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
¼ cup toasted unsalted walnuts (or pistachios or almonds), coarsely chopped
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

METHOD:

First, drain the dates well & remember to reserve their soaking liquid. Next, roughly chop 8 dates and puree until smooth using a food processor or blender. Set aside until needed. Then, finely chop the remaining 2 dates and reserve until needed.

In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onions and sauté until just lightly brown. Then add the ginger and bay leaf. Stir to combine and add the spices (turmeric, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, garam masala, ground cinnamon, salt & pepper). Mix well and let cook for just about a minute or so. Now add the chicken pieces and stir to coat the chicken with the aromatics & spices. After 5 minutes, add the lemon juice along with the pureed dates. Also add about 1 cup or so of water and mix well to combine. Then cover, bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 6-8 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked yet still moist & tender. Finish the dish by adding the cream along with the nutmeg, finely chopped dates and toasted walnut pieces. Garnish the dish with the cilantro leaves and serve with fresh chapatis or fragrant Basmati rice.


VARIATIONS:

You can add some freshly grated carrots, bell peppers or green peas to the curry if you like for both flavor and a burst of lovely colors.

 photo Murgh Khajoor.jpg

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You Should Also Read:
Fig & Date Chutney Recipe
Orange & Date Salad Recipe

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