6 dried red chiles, such as Kashmiri or New Mexico, seeded
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
One 1 1/2-inch piece of cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 green fresh hot chiles, such as jalapeños, seeded and minced
3 cups water
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
How to Make It
In a heatproof bowl, soak the tamarind pulp in the boiling water, covered, until softened, 30 minutes. Strain through a coarse sieve; discard the seeds.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, combine the peppercorns, dried red chiles, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cinnamon and toast over moderate heat until fragrant, 1 minute. Transfer to a spice grinder to cool. Grind to a fine powder.
Heat the oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add half of the chicken to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, ground spices and green chiles. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 3 minutes.
Stir the water and the strained tamarind pulp into the casserole. Return the chicken to the casserole and bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 20 minutes longer. Transfer the remaining chicken to the plate and simmer the sauce until very flavorful, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the sauce. Simmer the chicken until heated through before serving.
The chicken curry can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.
Steamed white rice.
A spicy, fruity Gewürztraminer will harmonize with the sweet, aromatic spices in the curry. Look for a New World bottling from Washington State or Sonoma.
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