When I was living in Hyde Park as a preppy 23-year old white girl with a Mini Cooper, I’d fantasize about being the girl two floors up. She had deep black hair, always braided, a wildly colorful wardrobe and a small cat named Debbani. She was beautiful, but best of all, her apartment always smelled like curry.
Poor me, I didn’t know how to cook back then. I had to survive on smells alone. I’d imagine her whipping up naan and Chana Masala while I sat on my couch with Tostitos. Thankfully, John Besh changed all this misplaced jealousy and deep-seated longing. He showed me how to make a simple curry sauce – void of any pretension.
A lot of people these days ask for a simple sauce to pair with chicken, meat or vegetables, and this is one I’d like to formally recommend. Curry sauce. It’s not just for the insiders, the ones with grandma’s in India or Asia. It’s for anyone who can score a can of coconut milk.
Recipe adapted from My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking by John Besh
2 tablespoons or more butter
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, minced
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder (or just any curry powder!)
13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk
11/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon chili paste
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 cups cooked rice
Melt butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Throw in the ginger, green onions and garlic and cook until soft and aromatic. Sprinkle with the curry powder and toast for 30 seconds or so. Add the coconut milk, broth and chili paste. (Note: I tripled the amount of chile paste here.) Heat to a gentle boil and reduce heat. Simmer about 15 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste; and add more chile if desired. Serve over rice.