Black Pepper and Pistachio Curry is a healthy, easy and delicious one pot Middle Eastern dish that is perfect for winter squash season. Affiliate links have been used to link to items I am discussing.
Do you guys remember a while back when I said I had a lung x-ray that led to a CT scan that led to various nodules needing to be checked out? Well I have some news. In the chest department everything is fine (no such thing as TMI here…. to each their own but it really pisses me off when I feel like I am supposed to be embarrassed by discussing serious medical issues), some other things are still a work in progress (not trying to be coy but I have nothing to report other than “nodules”), but today I had a biopsy on my thyroid and people I am losing another organ. Depending on how you count all of the reproductive organs this is either the fourth organ to go or the seventh. I am just happy I can live without all of them. We will not know if it is cancer until the thyroid is gone, but once it is gone my understanding is that should be the end of it barring any complications. So. Well now you know some of the stuff distracting me from the blog anyway!
On to Black Pepper and Pistachio Curry, a much more cheerful topic.
When you are obsessed with any particular kind of dish (curry, Italian pasta, chili, you get the idea) it can be hard to come up with or come across new variations on those ideas. It makes you understand why each household in India thinks their garam masala is the garam masala. Your mind tends to go to certain flavor combinations automatically. Which is why the minute I saw a curry based on black pepper and ground pistachios in Sabrina Ghayour’s Feasts: Middle Eastern Food to Savor & Share I knew I was going to make it–or at least play with it.
I stayed true to Ghayour’s pistachio spice paste precisely because I wanted to make myself try a different (from my perspective) spice blend. My main changes were to streamline the dish by using bite sized pieces of chicken, to use sweet corn in place of baby corn, and to add mushrooms, because, well, mushrooms. You know about me and mushrooms. And we all thought they were fantastic. Truthfully we thought everything about this Black Pepper and Pistachio Curry was fantastic. Sometimes a black pepper centric dish can be too strong for me, but it played off of the other spices and ingredients wonderfully.
Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour. Be sure to add a pinch of salt with each addition of veggies (and mushrooms), and then taste for more still. We liked this dish with a decent amount of salt.
- 1 1/2 T whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 T decorticated cardamom seeds
- 1/2 t coarse Aleppo pepper*
- 3 T minced ginger
- 3 T minced garlic
- 3/4 cup pistachio nuts (raw or roasted and salted)
- 1 t coarse sea salt (optional, use if your pistachios are UNsalted)
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 2 large yellow or white onions, chopped
- 1 lb sliced crimini mushrooms
- 2.5-3 lbs white and dark chicken meat, cut into bite sized pieces
- spice paste from above
- 1 medium-small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite sized chunks
- corn stripped from 3 cobs (or equivalent frozen organic corn)
- juice of 2 limes, plus to taste when serving
Place the ingredients for the spice paste into a powerful blender or wet-dry grinder. Add enough water to just cover the ingredients and grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large and heavy sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of sea salt and cook, stirring, until the edges of the onions start to brown, about 8 minutes.
Add the mushrooms with another pinch of sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their water and are starting to brown.
Add the chicken with another pinch of sea salt. Stir it into the onions and mushrooms and then let it cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Stir the chicken and let it cook for another minute.
Stir the pistachio paste into the chicken. Add just enough cold water to barely cover everything and bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.
Add the butternut squash and corn with a pinch of sea salt, and return to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the butternut squash is tender.
Add the juice of 2 limes and taste for more salt or lime juice.
Serve over Basmati rice and sprinkled with cilantro. Offer lime wedges on the side for those who like their curry with some extra punch.
*It has recently been brought to my attention that true Aleppo pepper is not currently available because of the situation in Syria. The Silk chile pepper that Burlap and Barrel sells is botanically identical, but for the most part I still see people selling "Aleppo" pepper. I tried asking at one retailer where it came from and got nowhere. So I am continuing to call for "Aleppo" pepper as a matter of ease for you (and also because I still have chile pepper labeled as Aleppo), but am no longer convinced what I am using is true Aleppo pepper. As long as it has a medium warmth and fruitiness, is not super hot, it will work just fine.
Looking for a Black Pepper and Pistachio Curry collage to pin?