For everyone who has ever picked up a jar of simmer sauce at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, read the label, sighed, and put it back on the shelf because it had dairy in it, here's a sauce for you. Easy and quick enough to make up after work, or make the sauce ahead of time. On a 5-pepper scale, this rates 3 peppers. Not blazingly hot, but also not for those with a dainty palate. Reduce or increase the cayenne to change the level of heat.
1.25 lbs boneless skinless chicken -- breasts or thighs
2 ounces onions, peeled and coarsely chopped (or use chopped, frozen onions)
1/2 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 ounce blanched almonds
6 ounces roasted red peppers (from a jar, about 2 peppers)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
3 to 4 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
In a food processor or blender, combine the onion, ginger, garlic, almonds, peppers, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt. Blend, scraping sides as needed, until a relatively smooth paste forms. Set aside.
Cut chicken into bite-size cubes and set aside.
Heat a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add oil. When hot, pour in all the paste. Stir and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the water, lemon juice or tamarind paste, and black pepper. Stir in the chicken. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer gently for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot rice. Makes 3 to 4 servings.
- Roasted Red Pepper Simmer Sauce