Guest post by Big Apple Curry members Vidya & Steve who live in Massachusetts and are part of a large, loving Indian-Jewish family
Who knew that Indians and Jews have so much in common? The enduring love of family is a profound similarity shared by both cultures as is the celebration of long-standing annual traditions. Every year, we celebrate the Jewish holidays with Steve’s parents and extended family, the Kagans. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are all invited to participate, reflect on the meaning of the holidays, and enjoy each other’s company.
About 5 years ago, when it was our turn to host the family’s annual Hanukkah party, we decided to make Vidya’s mom’s Indian chicken curry to accompany the traditional Jewish potato latkes. When you think of chicken curry you probably picture it with basmati rice or naan. We discovered the spicy, strong flavors of the curry match beautifully with the crispy latkes in a way that’s downright addictive. It was such a hit with everyone that we’ve since made Chicken Curry & Latkes a Hanukkah tradition. Over the years, family members have refined the curry & latke feast to include spicy and mild curries to suit all manner of palates. Today, everyone looks forward to this meal, including us, the cooks! For our big Indian-Jewish family, we call this one of “the best meals of the year” because we love to eat it, discuss it and tinker with the recipes.
This year for Hanukkah, we made a big batch of our chicken curry and took it over to cousin Daniel’s house where the family was gathering, and where he made homemade latkes from scratch. The homemade curry and homemade latkes were an unbeatable combination and immediately reminded us why it’s become an annual ritual for all of us. You can serve this curry with any sort of latke or potato pancake you’re making for the holidays. We’ve done everything from homemade latkes to boxed mix latkes and the flavor combination never fails!
Hanukkah Chicken Curry
- 6 tablespoons canola oil
- ¼ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 4 medium yellow onions, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 8 chicken thighs (skinless, bone-in)
- 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes
- Fresh cilantro, finely chopped (for garnish)
Masala mix (combine red chili powder through salt in a small bowl)
- 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat oil in a large 5-6 quart pot.
- Add mustard seeds.
- When mustard seeds begin to pop, add onions. Fry until nicely browned. Add turmeric and mix well.
- Add chicken. Fry for 5-10 minutes.
- Add masala. Mix well. Fry for about 5 minutes (if needed, add a little water to keep the curry from burning on the bottom).
- Add tomatoes (whole tomatoes plus juice). Crush tomatoes with a spoon. Mix well.
- Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium. Keep stirring once in a while and cook for 15 minutes.
- Once the chicken is cooked, remove the lid and continue simmering to allow the remaining water to evaporate. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.
We freely admit that we often “cheat” when preparing latkes for the high holidays – we make latkes from a box! Our favorite is the Manischewitz Potato Pancake Mix. It’s easy to make, quick and delicious. One box will make about 18-20 small pancakes.