North Indian Chicken Curry
Serves 5 to 6 
This is a moderately spicy curry. If you're sensitive to heat, cut back on the chiles and cayenne.

2 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
2 cups finely chopped onions (from 2 medium onions)
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, at room temperature
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 to 2 hot fresh green chiles (preferably serranos, minced)
4 lb. bone-in chicken thighs (10-12), skin and excess fat removed
1 Tbs. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. turmeric
3/4 tsp. cayenne
28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves; more for garnish
2 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala (recipe below)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a deep, wide saucepan set over med-high heat. Add the onions and stir to coat them with the oil. Spread them in an even layer and cook for 2 minutes. Stir well, rearrange in an even layer again, and cook for 2 minutes; the onions should have begun to brown at the edges. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a rich brown, another 10-12 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary so the onions caramelize but don't burn.

Meanwhile, put the yogurt in a small bowl, stirring until it's creamy. Add the cornstarch and mix well.

Add the ginger, garlic, and chiles to the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes so they meld with the onions. Add all the chicken thighs and cook, stirring occasionally, until they lose their raw color and begin to brown, 5-6 minutes. Lower the heat to med-low and add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, the yogurt mixture, the chopped cilantro, and the salt. Stir well, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and taste for salt.

To serve, sprinkle on the garam masala, transfer to a serving dish, and garnish with more chopped cilantro.

Garam Masala
Yields 1 tablespoon.

3/4 tsp. coriander seeds (or 3/4 tsp. ground)
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (or 3/4 tsp. ground)
10 black peppercorns (or 1/8 tsp. finely ground)
1-inch stick cinnamon (or 1/2 tsp. ground)
4 to 5 whole green cardamom pods (or 1/4 tsp. ground)
4 whole cloves (or 1/8 tsp. ground)

Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry skillet until aromatic. Put them in a spice grinder or coffee mill, add all remaining ingredients, and grind to a powder.

Source of recipe: Fine Cooking #58