Curried Chicken And Lentils With Basmati Rice – Curried chicken and lentils served over basmati rice is comfort food to me. That may sound a bit strange coming from a Southern girl but, it’s true. I was incredibly blessed to spend several years when I was growing-up in South Africa. The make-up of the countries population is very diverse, and each group brings their own specialties and flavors to the table. There’s a large Indian community that lives there and they became and remain, very special friends to my family. We immediately fell in love with their version of comfort food. That’s right, curry. Curry in every form chicken, seafood, beef, mutton, vegetable, briyani, naan, roti and the list goes on and on.
Curried Chicken and Lentils with Basmati Rice
Author: Melissa Sperka
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ½ tsp fennel seed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 heaping Tbsp hot Curry paste [more or less to taste, I used Patak's]
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp chopped ginger root
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 Roma tomatoes diced
- 3 large bone-in chicken breasts
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 can lentil soup, drained [I used Progresso]
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks or 8 red potatoes halved
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Accompaniments: Basmati rice, warm naan, chutney
- Into a heavy pot or dutch oven heat the oil. Add the chopped onions and fennel seed and saute until the onions are translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add about 1 teaspoon of chopped cilantro.
- Add the curry paste, minced garlic, ginger root, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cook this over medium high heat for 2 minutes to let the flavors combine.
- Add the chopped tomato into the seasoning mixture and place the lid tightly on the pot. Continue to cook on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down and form the sauce.
- While the sauce is cooking, remove the skin from the chicken breasts, and cut each piece into chunks. I usually cut them crosswise into three large pieces, then cut each piece again, through the middle. If you don't have a knife sharp enough to do this, ask your butcher to help you out with this step.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir well, making sure the chicken is evenly coated with the sauce. Squeeze the lemon juice on the top. Turn the temperature to medium low and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes add the drained lentil soup, and two medium potatoes peeled and cut into chunks. Season this layer with salt and pepper.
- Replace the lid, and continue to cook on medium low for another 35 minutes until the chicken is done and the potatoes are fork tender.
- Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve over Basmati rice.