I promised to help one of my friends with a surprise birthday party. Upon arrival, he beseeched me to prep the chicken curry. Oh dear, it was a study in desperation cooking. See, I made certain assumptions…Oh, but, don’t assume, don’t ever assume anything! I asked, um, do you have chicken stock? No? How about vegetable stock? No? Bouillion? He had the bachelor’s kitchen condition…oh, quite, quite developed. So, when I arrived, what could I find, that might turn into a feasible sauce?
- chicken breasts;
- tomato sauce;
- broadly chopped and sauteed white onion;
- curry powder;
- cooking oil;
- gas stove; and a
I put the spice powders on a hot wok. Because the volatile oils were asphixiating the other people in the kitchen, someone opened the kitchen window despite the sub-freezing (about 1F) weather. Onward ho! I put in the sauteed onions and tomato sauce. Frantic for time, I did not even brown the chicken (!!!), just desperately hoping for hungry diners who would accept a simple simmer for the chicken in the curry sauce. About thirty minutes later, the chicken was a fait accompli. Whew!
People said they liked it. And, at the end of the evening, there were only a few tablespoons of it left. So, this desperation dish served its purpose: feeding hungry birthday party goers. The tastiness of the sauce compensated for the chicken issues – but never mind that.
I write all of this only to emphasize that you must try making some kind of curry with tomato when the occasion strikes, because it truly is stupendous. The tomato adds acidity as well as sweetness, carrying all the spices so well. I can’t really explain it, you’ll just have to try it yourself.