Chicken Lentil Curry

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2 c. Green lentils
1/2 c. Chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 large Onion, diced
6 pc. Chicken thighs
3 c. Chicken broth, low sodium
1 c. Water
1 tbsp Curry powder
1 tsp Ground tumeric
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground coriander
1 tbsp Chinese garlic chili sauce (or chilli pepper flakes)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp White sugar
1 tbsp Ginger root, minced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 pkg Curry paste
1 can Diced tomatoes
Plain yogurt (optional)

[Vegetarian option: Omit the chicken thighs and substitute in a vegetable stock.]

Put everything, except for the chicken, in the slowcooker.  Stir to mix.

Place the chicken thighs on top and baste them with a little bit of liquid.  Add more water if necessary.

Cook for 4-8 hours.

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When the curry is done, de-bone the chicken thighs and stir the meat back into the curry.

Serve with basmati rice and a dollop of plain yogurt.


My comments:

I have always been hesitant in making curry from scratch for two simple reasons:

1. I was told that it's difficult to make all the spices work together if you don't know what you are doing (which I don't).  It takes a seasoned Indian cook to do it right (a.k.a. a friend's mother or grandmother).

2. I have tried making my own before and it tasted like crap.  We ended up throwing out 1/2 of it and needless to say, we never attempted to make our own curry from scratch again.

We are huge fans of store-bought curry sauce.  Cut up all the ingredients (anything you want), throw in a bottle or two of premade curry sauce (my fav: President's Choice Blue Menu Butter Chicken sauce) and 30 min, you have a delicious Indian curry meal.  This was our staple easy curry...that is, until now...

I knocked this delicious curry recipe off A Year of Slow Cooking and made a few minor changes to accommodate for my sense of adventure in the kitchen and more importantly, my limited selections of ingredients available at hand.  :P  My version of this lentil curry was super, uber yummy!  So good that my husband asked for it again the following week...the week after...and the week after that!  This is a very healthy meal: no added oil, low sodium, lots of veggies and not to mention, lentils and chickpeas are very nutritious.  Both lentils and chickpeas are excellent sources of protein, dietary fiber and folate.  Lentils are also high in vitamin B1 and iron while chickpeas are a good source of zinc and low in fat.  Because the lentils and chickpeas are so nutritious, you can easily omit the chicken and turn it into a healthy vegetarian curry!

When I made this, I added too much of the Chinese garlic chilli sauce and the curry was way too spicey for me.  So I stole some of my baby's plain yogurt and mixed it with my curry to dumb down the heat.  It was delicious; the plain yogurt complimented the spicey curry perfectly.  I highly recommend using a Mediterranian style yogurt (brand: Liberté Méditerranée) because it's delectably thick and creamy.  I confess that we loved this yogurt so much that we ended up using more than just one little dollop.  I felt guilty eating high fat yogurt (I did buy this for a little toddler, afterall, who needs the fat but I certainly don't), so I went out and bought a low fat plain yogurt (same brand) to serve with the rest of our leftovers.  It just wasn't the same.  :P  But since this recipe is so healthy to begin with, I think it's ok to indulge a little bit with our high fat yogurt next time.

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