Sweet and spicy chicken curry, an oldie but a goodie

Any time I get to mix spicy and sweet, it’s a good day in my kitchen.

I also love it when an unexpected ingredient adds a certain wonderful something to a dish, but in the process loses its own identity — a sacrifice for the cause, if you will.

This recipe, Chicken Curry with Yogurt, is a double delight. It is spicy and sweet, and it includes apricot preserves, but you’d never guess by tasting it. The yogurt and spices work with the preserves to make a curry that has a creamy, chutney flavor. And the plump and juicy raisins are a perfect foil for the chicken.

I came across the recipe in my recipe box the other day when I was trying to figure out what to eat this week, and my mouth began to water. It’s an oldie but a goodie. It looks to have been cut out of a magazine, which one I can’t recall, and it’s glued to a pink 3-by-5 card, now stained and faded.

In the introduction, the author says you can substitute 1 tablespoon of curry powder for the coriander, cumin, cardamom and cayenne (replace the four Cs with one C). I’ve never tried that but I’m sure it would work just fine.

I like to serve this over brown rice with something green — I love it with broccoli or spinach — on the side. The leftovers are also delicious. It heats up well in the microwave and makes all your co-workers envy your dinner.

Chicken Curry with Yogurt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1½ teaspoons ground coriander

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ cup apricot preserves

½ cup golden raisins

2 cups yogurt (any nonfat, plain yogurt will do)

Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, sauté garlic and onion in oil until they begin to become translucent. Add chicken and sauté until a bit browned. Add the spices and continue to sauté, stirring constantly, a minute or so, until the aroma fills your kitchen. Add ¼ cup water, apricot preserves and raisins. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the heat adjusted, not too high, so that things stay at a simmer. This is not a very juicy mixture, so keep watching it and stirring every now and then. Fold in the yogurt and heat briefly, but do not boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4.

If you like to share a recipe, send an email to j.blanchette@theday.com.

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