Red Chile Chicken, Garlic, and Basil Curry

One of my New Year’s resolutions (for both 2009 and 2010) was to learn more about Indian cuisine. Of course, that is a lofty goal – there are nearly as many variations on Indian cuisine as there are people in India! But in an effort to start somewhere, I looked to Monica Bhide. A while back, I ordered a copy of her book, Modern Spice. I immediately fell in love with the book. Monica shares stories surrounding many of her dishes – stories ranging from her childhood to enjoyable times with family and friends. And the recipes? Astounding. No old-fashioned Indian fare here. Instead, she shares recipes for various cocktails (Guava Bellini, anyone?) and a snack I absolutely must try: Cilantro-Lemon Corn Pops (popcorn spiced with onion, lemon, peanuts, and chile powder), not to mention so many other amazing recipes that it took me a while to decide which to try first. I finally settled on a simple, speedy chicken dish. Red Chile, Garlic, and Basil Chicken was a quick stir-fry that boasted some clean, bold, bright flavors. I opted to make it a curry by adding a bit of coconut milk.

This dish is by no means extravagant. As you can see, it doesn’t take a long list of hard-to-find ingredients. The red chiles I used were dried red chiles I found at an Asian market, but if you don’t have those available, you could use about a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red chile pepper. The flavors of this dish were so deep, cheery and comforting, however, that it tasted as though it had to be difficult to make. (Those are my favorite kinds of meals!) I loved it, and I can’t wait to make something else from Monica’s book!

Red Chile Chicken, Garlic and Basil Curry, adapted from Modern Spice

1 T olive oil

4 medium shallots, sliced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

3-4 dried red chiles, roughly pounded

scant 1/2 t ground turmeric

1/4 t kosher salt

1 lb ground chicken (preferably dark meat)

1/3 c lite coconut milk

7-8 basil leaves

In a large lidded skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until the garlic begins to change color. Add the chiles, turmeric, and salt. Saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken and saute for about 5 minutes. Then add the coconut milk, cover, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until chicken is done.

Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Add the basil leaves and stir in. Remove from heat and serve hot. Serve with steamed basmati rice.

Serves 3-4.


Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy

18 responses to “Red Chile Chicken, Garlic, and Basil Curry

  1. This looks delicious, I will definitely have to try it!

  2. That’s one of my many “goals” this year. Cook more ethnic cuisines. Nicely done. I think it’s my turn to take that step. 🙂

  3. Wonderful curry! I love the refreshing and aromatic addition of basil!

  4. This sounds fantastic! I’ve haven’t had Indian food in a while, partly because some of the recipes I’ve tried aren’t great (or, more likely, I’m incompetent), but I have to try this one!

  5. Recipe saved! 🙂 I love any kind of curry. I love that it’s got basil in it. I love basil!

  6. I am so honored! Thank you so much for trying out the recipes! I look forward to reading your other adventures with Modern Spice. PS – there is a fenugreek roasted chicken in the book 🙂

  7. Beautiful curry. I love curry…just so good with rice. Your curry looks simple and delicious. It’s inspiring to know you are learning new food 😀

  8. I think I first read about Monica’s book on Shauna’s site. I thought how great it and the recipes sounded then and now I’m reminded with your very lovely dish. This recipe really sounds like something we’d enjoy! How nice that Monica herself popped in. Now I’m really intrigued by her fenugreek roasted chicken. I first tried fenugreek in ice cream this past summer. It was amazing! Thanks, Alta! I’m putting Modern Spice on my Amazon wish list …


  9. I like that you are using olive oil vs. butter –much lighter version of Chicken Curry.
    Easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner too!

  10. I just added some curry to my spice cabinet AND two cans of coconut milk to the pantry. This will be at the top of the agenda. . . . maybe tomorrow night! Looks most delish! The book will also be on my “must have” list. And I love complex simplicity! Thanks for helping get me out of my comfort zone!

  11. This looks simply gorgeous. I love curries – but my kids are a little resistant. I might have to give this one a try.

  12. This is one of my favorite types of dishes. You think it would work as a stir fry then, without the coconut milk?

  13. This sounds so good!! I am just beginning to learn about Indian food and thank you so much for the cookbook suggestion. I have looked at a few in the bookstore and it’s like reading a foreign language. I really needed a place to start! Love you blog and especially that you are a fellow Texan! I look forward to future postings!! ~LeslieMichele

  14. Yes, yes, I’ll have a Guava Bellini please! And then some of this curry!

  15. can you drop me an email. I wanted to see if you woudl do an interview on my blog!

  16. Yum, sounds and looks really tasty, wish I could have some for lunch right now!

  17. Amy Thueson

    this looks so good! I am expriementing with diffferent curries, and i just keep staples of spices, and coconut milk just for these type of dishes. Its nice to know you can eat gluten-free, and healthy too!

  18. Pingback: Chocolate Cherry Nut Truffles and a Month of Unprocessed Foods « Tasty Eats At Home

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