This chicken and potato curry is a comforting, spicy dish that’s perfect for weeknight dinner. Onions, garlic, and ginger are chopped in a food processor, making the chef’s job a bit easier. The food processor-chopped onions melt into a sauté of ghee that flavors chicken thighs, along with coriander and cumin. For added heat and smokiness, we use canned fire roasted tomatoes along with regular tomato sauce. These pantry staples help us add big flavor to this curry with little effort. Creamy Yukon gold potatoes are a perfect addition and absorb the flavorful spices in the curry. This melange of delicious ingredients is hard to label but it most closely resembles a curry.
My mom would call my concoction, “bokhor oh nahpors”. Translated from Farsi slang this means “eat and don’t ask.” Growing up in a family with three kids meant my mom always had her hands full. My sister is nine years my junior, so mom literally had to wrangle two elementary school brats while changing diapers. When my sister got a bit older, mom worked outside the home and even went back to college to receive her AA. She accomplished all that while caring for her elderly mother. Mom is an incredible woman and an exceptional cook to boot.
Understandably, mom’s busy days left little time or energy for cooking. We always had a delicious home-cooked meal awaiting but the dish wasn’t always premeditated. Mom didn’t exactly print out recipes from New York Times and head to the market with a curated shopping list. More often than not, dinner was whipped up last minute with things we happened to have in the house. She invented some of my favorite dishes out of necessity and when asked “what’s for dinner” mom would reply “bokhor oh nahpors”. Meaning “it’s delicious, just eat it, but don’t ask what it’s called!”
Now that I have my own family, I love practicing kitchen improvisation. Whenever I create a recipe with things I have on hand I feel close to my mom and I remember her amazing cooking skills and imagination. This chicken and potato curry resembles a spicy Indian braise served over rice. However, to be technical about it, mom would call this “bokhor oh nahpors”.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as Kenny and I do! Happy cooking and improvising!
2 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped into big chunks
4 Tablespoons ghee or olive oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Tablespoons harissa paste (start with1 Tablespoon if you don’t like too much heat)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1, 15-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes and their juices
1, 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup filtered water
2 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
Cooked basmati rice for serving
Plain yogurt for serving
Place the onions in a food processor. Pulse until the onions are finely chopped roughly the same size, 1 second pulses for about 30 seconds.
Heat the ghee in a large, shallow dutch oven (or heavy bottomed pot) for three minutes.
Empty the chopped onions into the dutch oven, don’t clean out the food processor.
Add ¼ teaspoon salt to the onions and cook over medium heat, until fragrant and opaque 3 minutes.
While the onion is cooking, place the garlic cloves and ginger in the food processor. Pulse until the garlic and ginger are finely chopped.
Add the garlic and ginger to the dutch oven. Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
Add the chopped chicken thighs to the dutch oven, along with 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt.
Cook over medium high heat until the chicken is no longer pink and start to brown in places, 10 minutes.
Add to the chicken: ground coriander, onion powder, ground ginger, granulated garlic, ground cumin, and crushed red pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the harissa paste and tomato paste. Cook and stir until the tomato paste coats the chicken and it turns dark red, 3-5 minutes. Add splashes of water if necessary to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
Add to the dutch oven, can of roasted diced tomato, tomato sauce, chicken broth, water, and yukon gold potatoes.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat. When the liquid starts to bubble, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and let the curry simmer until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, 40-50 minutes.
Stir the curry with a wooden spoon about every 15 minutes. Be sure to scrape the wooden spoon across the bottom and sides of the pot to prevent scorching.
When the potatoes are fully cooked, stir in the fresh cilantro.
Taste the curry and adjust salt if necessary.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve over basmati rice with a side of plain yogurt.