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Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry

Heat and flavor. That is what this beautiful dish is all about. Of the many players in my arsenal that can be prepared in half an hour, this chicken curry has assumed the mantle. The rustic and earthy flavor of the nuts, turmeric and cumin tangles with curry under the pressing heat of the cayenne, relieved only by a stroke of fresh cilantro, a splash of cold water and the cool Greek yogurt. This plate packs a lingering punch to the palate and is best served over a bed of rice or a thick grain, though it stands up just perfectly on its own.


  • 2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 cup of broccoli chopped a little below the florets, about 10 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 handful finely chopped almonds
  • 1 dollop of sour creme or Greek yogurt (optional)
  • 8 ounces tempeh, cut into 3/4-inch pieces or 8 ounces of chicken



Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion. Cook over low to medium heat until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin seeds, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, wait about thirty seconds while they toast a bit, then stir in the tomatoes, water, and the salt.

Add the tempeh or chicken and bring barely to a simmer. Let the tempeh cook for 5 minutes or so, and the chicken 20 minutes, then add the broccoli. Transfer to a large family-style bowl, and sprinkle with cilantro and chopped almonds before serving.

What is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a soy food, relatively newer to the Western world that has been eaten in Asia for hundreds of years. Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a patty. One serving of tempeh provides around 200 calories, 18.2 grams of protein, more than tofu, and 10% of the RDA of both calcium and iron. Tempeh is a naturally cholesterol-free food. On its own it is pretty flavorless, but this makes it excellent for absorbing flavors around it. This is why I actually prefer using tempeh in this dish rather than chicken, although here I ended up using chicken because my husband still believes a meal without poultry or fish is bereft of something essential. I am working on changing his mind. Most of the recipes on this site can be turned vegetarian or kosher using substitutes and I encourage you to do so.


This recipe is an interpretation and adaptation inspired by, Tempeh Curry recipe on Heidi Swanson’s wonderful recipe journal, 101 Cookbooks.