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Mole Chicken Curry

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone. I'm new here, and I signed up specifically to ask this question, so if it's in the wrong place, please feel free to move it.

 

That said, I'm looking for advice on a new recipe. For several years now, my family has made our own curry, a fusion of Indian and Thai cooking methods. Having recently bought a book from America's Test Kitchen, I decided I wanted to put some of its techniques to use, while incorporating some traditional Mexican ingredients. This is the result, completely untested, and I was hoping to get some advice from the people here before making it for the first time this weekend.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 large onion

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup raisins

2 cans unsweetened coconut milk (whole fat)

1/4 cup madras curry*

1/4 cup garam masala*

2 tbsp fish sauce

1-2 jalapeno peppers (red if I can find them, green if not)

1 tbsp grated ginger

3-4 tbsp orange marmalade

4-6 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

8 oz broccoli or cauliflower

1-2 red or yellow bell peppers OR 6 oz snow peas**

3-4 oz solid baking chocolate (unsweetened)

Peel of 1 orange

Peel of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup mixed mint and basil leaves OR spinach***

 

*These two spices are already mixed in a bag.

**We don't really like bell peppers, so I'm considering swapping in snow peas instead.

***I'm not sure which of these to use.

 

Cooking:

 

Phase 1:

 

Skim approximately 1 cup of the top layer of cream from the coconut milk. Whisk the cream, madras curry powder, and garam masala together in a pot or large pan, bring to a simmer over high heat, and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking constantly, until the cream separates into a puddle of colored oil and coconut solids. Continue cooking until the mixture is very aromatic.

 

Phase 2:

 

Whisk in the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and orange marmalade, bring to a simmer, and cook until the flavors meld and the sauce thickens slightly. The sauce should still be a little thin, as the chocolate will thicken it in the end. If it's too thick, add some water or chicken broth. Set aside when done.

 

Phase 3:

 

Saute the onions, jalapeno peppers, garlic, ginger, and raisins in a dutch oven over high heat until the onions turn translucent and the raisins plump up. Season the chicken chunks with salt and stir them into the mix, then stir in the broccoli/cauliflower and saute until almost tender. Add the bell peppers/snow peas and cook until crisp and tender.

 

Phase 4:

 

Pour the reserved sauce into the dutch oven, and stir until everything is evenly mixed and coated in the sauce. Add in the chocolate, and continue to cook until the chocolate melts and the sauce thickens.

 

Phase 5:

 

Remove the dutch oven from the heat and stir in the orange peel, lime peel, lime juice, and spinach or mint and basil leaves. Serve over rice or quinoa with a dollop of greek yogurt.


Edited by Hawkflight - 1/28/16 at 6:12am
post #2 of 21

A common pitfall in many fusion dishes is is a tendency of people to use to many flavors which then becomes confusion cooking with muddled flavors. More is not always better.

 

Procedurally, I would probably do a few things a little different. I would move the ginger and jalapenoes to phase one and actually I would start cooking with phase two, then on to phase three. Set aside and then start phase one, then add the chicken to the mix and continue to saute, then the veg and saute until tender. Then add the reserved sauce, then the chocolate, then finish up with phase five.

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

A common pitfall in many fusion dishes is is a tendency of people to use to many flavors which then becomes confusion cooking with muddled flavors. More is not always better.

 

Procedurally, I would probably do a few things a little different. I would move the ginger and jalapenoes to phase one and actually I would start cooking with phase two, then on to phase three. Set aside and then start phase one, then add the chicken to the mix and continue to saute, then the veg and saute until tender. Then add the reserved sauce, then the chocolate, then finish up with phase five.

 

Thanks for the advice! I see where you're coming from, I'll definitely adjust the procedure as you advised.

 

I admit, I am a little worried about using too many flavors at once. I'm not an experienced enough cook to really know for sure if I am or not until I actually cook the dish, but this is one reason I'm hesitant to use the mint and basil leaves. I'm also a little hesitant about the raisins, if I'm being honest.

 

EDIT: Looking over the modified procedure, I wonder - should I saute the meat and veggies in the oil from phase one, essentially swapping phases two and three? Or should I just saute them in butter? Or should I saute them in extra coconut oil from a jar?

 

EDIT 2: What are your thoughts on the matter of broccoli vs cauliflower and bell peppers vs snow peas? I was thinking cauliflower because it's starchier, and bell peppers since that's more traditional, but I would love to hear your opinion.


Edited by Hawkflight - 1/28/16 at 7:41am
post #4 of 21
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hawkflight View Post
 

I'm not an experienced enough cook to really know for sure if I am or not until I actually cook the dish, but this is one reason I'm hesitant to use the mint and basil leaves. I'm also a little hesitant about the raisins, if I'm being honest.

 

Don't worry about it, you will be more experienced after this dish :~). That is how this gig works and what makes it fun.

 

As to sauteing the chicken, I would start with the onions, raisins, ginger, and jalapenos. Once you have gotten them to the stage that you want, I would then add the chicken to the pan without removing the onions, raisins, ginger, and jalapenos; and continue sauteing. Then when you have gotten that to the stage you want, add your vegies with the longest cooking time vegies first;  and continuing on in the same manner. Doing it thist way you get a better mingling and complexity of flavors.

 

I would use cauliflower as opposed to broccoli because it will hold up better to a heavier sauce such as a mole without turning to mush. The same with the bell peppers as opposed to the snow peas.

 

I know you mentioned not particularly liking bell peppers, you might consider carrots or kolhrabi, or parsnips in their place and their flavor profiles should work in this dish.

 

Happy cooking and be sure to keep us posted afterwards!

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

 

Don't worry about it, you will be more experienced after this dish :~). That is how this gig works and what makes it fun.

 

As to sauteing the chicken, I would start with the onions, raisins, ginger, and jalapenos. Once you have gotten them to the stage that you want, I would then add the chicken to the pan without removing the onions, raisins, ginger, and jalapenos; and continue sauteing. Then when you have gotten that to the stage you want, add your vegies with the longest cooking time vegies first;  and continuing on in the same manner. Doing it thist way you get a better mingling and complexity of flavors.

 

I would use cauliflower as opposed to broccoli because it will hold up better to a heavier sauce such as a mole without turning to mush. The same with the bell peppers as opposed to the snow peas.

 

I know you mentioned not particularly liking bell peppers, you might consider carrots or kolhrabi, or parsnips in their place and their flavor profiles should work in this dish.

 

Happy cooking and be sure to keep us posted afterwards!

 

Thank you! I think you misunderstood my question about sauteing, though. What I was asking was what I should saute them in - butter, coconut oil, or the flavored oil from phase 1?

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkflight View Post
 

 

Thank you! I think you misunderstood my question about sauteing, though. What I was asking was what I should saute them in - butter, coconut oil, or the flavored oil from phase 1?

 

I just reread your op and would definitely do the flavored oil from phase 1.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

 

I just reread your op and would definitely do the flavored oil from phase 1.

 

Hmmm ... so, I'll move phase 3 to phase 2 and saute them in the oil, and then add in the ingredients from phase 2? Then proceed with the remaining phases?

 

Phase 1:

 

As described, but in the dutch oven.

 

Phase 2:

 

Add in the onions, jalapeno peppers, garlic, ginger, and raisins and saute over high heat until the onions turn translucent and the raisins plump up. Season the chicken chunks with salt and stir them into the mix, then stir in the broccoli/cauliflower and saute until almost tender. Add the bell peppers/snow peas and cook until crisp and tender.

 

Phase 3:

 

Whisk in the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and orange marmalade and stir until everything is evenly mixed and coated in the sauce. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the flavors meld and the sauce thickens slightly. Add in the chocolate, and continue to cook until the chocolate melts and the sauce thickens.

 

Phase 4:

 

As phase 5.

 

Like so? Should I add the liquid ingredients (the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and orange marmalade) all at once without cooking them, or should I cook them together and then add them, or should I add them raw in a specific order or at specific points?


Edited by Hawkflight - 1/28/16 at 9:35am
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkflight View Post

Like so? Should I add the liquid ingredients (the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and orange marmalade) all at once without cooking them,

 

This sounds like a plan to me.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hawkflight View Post
 

Hello everyone. I'm new here, and I signed up specifically to ask this question, so if it's in the wrong place, please feel free to move it.

 

That said, I'm looking for advice on a new recipe. For several years now, my family has made our own curry, a fusion of Indian and Thai cooking methods. Having recently bought a book from America's Test Kitchen, I decided I wanted to put some of its techniques to use, while incorporating some traditional Mexican ingredients. This is the result, completely untested, and I was hoping to get some advice from the people here before making it for the first time this weekend.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 large onion

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup raisins

2 cans unsweetened coconut milk (whole fat)

1/4 cup madras curry

1/4 cup garam masala

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 jalapeno pepper

2 red fresno peppers

1 tbsp grated ginger

3-4 tbsp orange marmalade

4-6 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

8 oz cauliflower

1-2 red or yellow bell peppers

3-4 oz solid baking chocolate (unsweetened)

Peel of 1 orange

Peel of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup mixed mint and basil leaves

 

Cooking:

 

Phase 1:

 

Skim approximately 1 cup of the top layer of cream from the coconut milk. Whisk the cream, madras curry powder, and garam masala together in a dutch oven, bring to a simmer over high heat, and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking constantly, until the cream separates into a puddle of colored oil and coconut solids. Continue cooking until the mixture is very aromatic.

 

Phase 2:

 

Add in the onions, jalapeno peppers, fresno peppers, garlic, ginger, and raisins and saute over high heat until the onions turn translucent and the raisins plump up. Season the chicken chunks with salt and stir them into the mix, then stir in the cauliflower and saute until almost tender. Add the bell peppers and cook until crisp and tender.

 

Phase 3:

 

Add in the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and orange marmalade and stir until everything is evenly mixed and coated in the sauce. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the flavors meld and the sauce thickens slightly. Add in the chocolate, and continue to cook until the chocolate melts and the sauce thickens.

 

Phase 4:

 

Remove the dutch oven from the heat and stir in the orange peel, lime peel, lime juice, and mint and basil leaves. Serve over rice or quinoa with a dollop of greek yogurt.

 

Thanks! Since I can't seem to edit my original post now, I'll just put this here.


Edited by Hawkflight - 1/29/16 at 2:42pm
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Looking at this recipe again, I'm a little worried that I may not be incorporating the Mexican element as well as I could be. I would like some advice on this matter, as I don't actually know what constitutes a proper mole.

 

Also, I just discovered that fish sauce actually has fish in it. All this time I thought it was a sauce you put on fish. My dad and I are actually allergic to fish, so is there a good fish-free substitute for it? I'm thinking umeboshi vinegar. It's got a slightly more sour, fruity flavor, which ordinarily may be a concern, but considering that the recipe is based in part on a Mexican mole dish, that may actually be a good thing. But I would like to hear a second and even third opinion on the matter.


Edited by Hawkflight - 1/28/16 at 9:23pm
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

I kind of hate that I can't edit my posts after 24 hours. =|

 

Ingredients:

 

1 large onion

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup raisins

2 cans unsweetened coconut milk (whole fat)

1/4 cup madras curry

1/4 cup garam masala

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 jalapeno pepper

2 red fresno peppers

1 tbsp grated ginger

3-4 tbsp orange marmalade

4-6 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

8 oz cauliflower

1-2 red or yellow bell peppers

3-4 oz solid baking chocolate (unsweetened)

Peel of 1 orange

Peel of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup mixed mint and basil leaves

 

Cooking:

 

Phase 1:

 

Skim approximately 1 cup of the top layer of cream from the coconut milk. Whisk the cream, madras curry powder, and garam masala together in a dutch oven, bring to a simmer over high heat, and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking constantly, until the cream separates into a puddle of colored oil and coconut solids, 3-8 minutes. Continue cooking until the mixture is very aromatic, 1-2 minutes.

 

Phase 2:

 

Add in the onions, jalapeno peppers, fresno peppers, garlic, ginger, and raisins and saute over high heat until the onions turn translucent and the raisins plump up. Season the chicken chunks with salt and stir them into the mix, then stir in the cauliflower and saute until almost tender. Add the bell peppers and cook until crisp and tender, 5-6 minutes.

 

Phase 3:

 

Add in the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, and orange marmalade and stir until everything is evenly mixed and coated in the sauce, about 1 minute. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the flavors meld and the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add in the chocolate, and continue to cook until the chocolate melts and the sauce thickens.

 

Phase 4:

 

Remove the dutch oven from the heat and stir in the orange peel, lime peel, lime juice, and mint and basil leaves. Serve over rice or quinoa with a dollop of greek yogurt.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkflight View Post
 

Looking at this recipe again, I'm a little worried that I may not be incorporating the Mexican element as well as I could be. I would like some advice on this matter, as I don't actually know what constitutes a proper mole.

 

 

When I am developing a recipe I might make it 4 or 5 times before landing on what was in my head and considering it perfect.

Might be a good idea for you as well.

Make it and then start with your tweaks being sure to note what you do and do not like.

Not Mexican enuf?

Add a spice or tweak the amts you already have.

Jus IMO.

 

mimi

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flipflopgirl View Post
 

 

When I am developing a recipe I might make it 4 or 5 times before landing on what was in my head and considering it perfect.

Might be a good idea for you as well.

Make it and then start with your tweaks being sure to note what you do and do not like.

Not Mexican enuf?

Add a spice or tweak the amts you already have.

Jus IMO.

 

mimi

 

Makes sense. I will be making it in less than 24 hours, so I'm just going to post here a few things I want to look out for, and if anyone else has any suggestions for the list, just let me know.

 

  • Is it tasty? This is the most important one.
  • Do the flavors meld well, or do they just become muddled and confusing and completely unbalanced?
  • Is there anything that tastes like it should not be there?
  • Does it taste like something specific should be there? Specifically:
    • Almonds, walnuts, or pecans.
    • Seeds (pumpkin, maybe).
    • Mint leaves.
    • Tomatoes or tomatillos?
  • Is the spice mix right?
  • Are the proportions right, or is something off?
  • I had another one, but I forgot it before I could write it down. :(
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well, I made the curry and it was actually really good! That's not to say that I didn't run into a few problems, however.

 

The first problem was that I put the heat on too high for phase one, so it didn't reach the point where the mixture separated. Also, phase one in general needs tweaking, as it's based on mixing in a curry paste as opposed to dry spices, which caused some complications. So I tossed the onions, jalapeno peppers, fresno peppers, garlic, ginger, and raisins in prematurely.

 

I also added the rest of the ingredients from phases two and three in prematurely, added the liquid ingredients before the chicken was even finished cooking. This was partially due to the fact that my pot was too small to get everything cooking on the bottom. So I just tossed everything in and let it cook for a while. The liquid didn't cover the top of the curry, so I filled a coconut milk can with water and added that to make sure everything was submerged. I let that cook for about half an hour to an hour, and then proceeded as my recipe stated.

 

The one thing I noticed was that the resulting curry wasn't as sweet as we like it. Individual tastes may vary on this matter, as we like our curry very sweet, but I ended up adding half the jar of marmalade, and even drizzling in some honey to get it as sweet as we like it.

 

The final result yielded a fairly watery sauce, so I mixed some flour and cold water and poured it into the curry, and it thickened right up. I would have used corn starch, but we were sadly out.

 

Finally, we were unable to find any fresh mint leaves, so we just left out the mint and basil leaves. The curry was still good, but if we get some mint leaves I'll add them to a bowl and see how it tastes.

 

Overall, the recipe was very good and I would definitely make it again, despite a few minor hiccups! The recipe normally would yield about five pounds of curry, but I doubled it, yielding ten pounds of curry, so we literally have curry for days.


Edited by Hawkflight - 1/31/16 at 6:24pm
post #15 of 21

So you get it.

Home cooking is all about the twist and the tweak.

You have to be able to bring a dish back from the edge of disaster and still have a good meal on the table at the end of the day.

Good job.

 

mimi

 

FYI I use the flour/liquid slurry more often myself.

Esp when I want a thicker/heartier sauce that will be reheated as leftovers.

Corn starch will break down after a longer cook so I save it for a finish on a roast gravy or Asian dishes.

 

m.

post #16 of 21

In regards to your sauce being too thin; many moles contain ground nuts and/or seeds.  Often, this takes the form of pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), although other nuts are used also.  They are ground fine and add some texture as well as helping to thicken the sauce.

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
 

In regards to your sauce being too thin; many moles contain ground nuts and/or seeds.  Often, this takes the form of pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), although other nuts are used also.  They are ground fine and add some texture as well as helping to thicken the sauce.

 

Bread crumbs too. 

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post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

Bread crumbs too. 

I also forgot to mention fresh, corn tortillas and fresh masa is sometimes used
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

Bread crumbs too. 

I also forgot to mention fresh, corn tortillas and fresh masa is sometimes used

 

If you are out of fresh (altho not so fresh will work just as well) corn tortillas and want a hearty corn (masa-ish) finish for a TexMex style chili.... I once tossed a handful of Fritos in the processor and made a thick slurry with some of the chili.

Was prolly the best pot of chili I ever produced lol ;-)

Yet another example of a good imagination coupled with a bit of flavor profile knowledge saving the day lol.

 

mimi

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by flipflopgirl View Post
 

 

If you are out of fresh (altho not so fresh will work just as well) corn tortillas and want a hearty corn (masa-ish) finish for a TexMex style chili.... I once tossed a handful of Fritos in the processor and made a thick slurry with some of the chili.

Was prolly the best pot of chili I ever produced lol ;-)

Yet another example of a good imagination coupled with a bit of flavor profile knowledge saving the day lol.

 

mimi

 

I know that this is OT but I make chili a couple of different ways.  One of those ways is to toast dried chiles then put them into a pot with beer and fresh corn tortillas. I allow this to cook until the tortillas fall apart and the chiles are tender.  I then puree that up, and fry the resulting puree in oil (or better yet lard if I have it around) and use that as the base to then build my chili.

post #21 of 21

To make a mole thicken some people use corn tortilla, french bread, and yes, even animal crackers.  It just depends on the recipe and what part of Mexico it is from.

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