In Texas, where I lived for the last three years, there was a little Indian grocery store that my husband and I absolutely loved, not because we bought a lot of Indian food, but because there was a tiny little restaurant counter in the back that had some of the best (and cheapest) curry and naan we'd ever had. The low-cost of living, the great weather, and our good friends aside, that place might be the thing we miss most about Texas.
We could purchase a serving of chicken tikka masala with rice (enough to feed us both a full meal) for the whopping price of $8.99. Not bad.
I've been leary of making Indian food at home because it's never anywhere as good as that from a restaurant, but I've made this recipe now TWICE and when I made it this weekend, my husband told me it was the best Indian food he'd ever had outside a restaurant. We both had the leftovers for lunch the next day and enjoyed them even more.
It's still probably not QUITE as good as what you'd get if you went out, but it's definitely fairly close, and it's far cheaper. Also, it's unbelievably easy.
Coconut Chicken Curry
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks ($3.50)
1 teaspoon salt ($0.01)
1/2 teaspoon pepper ($0.01)
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil ($0.05)
2 tablespoons curry powder ($0.75)
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (substitute cayenne pepper if you like it more spicy) ($0.02)
1/2 onion, diced ($0.20)
2 cloves garlic, crushed ($0.05)
4 potatoes, cut into chunks (if I use red potatoes, I leave the skins on, if not, I peel them) ($1.00)
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk ($0.99)
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes ($1.00)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce ($0.50)
3 tablespoons sugar ($0.04)
Basmati rice (cooked) ($1.50)
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil, curry powder, and paprika in a large skillet over medium-low heat for two minutes, until fragrant, stirring to keep from burning. Turn the heat up to medium and stir in onions and garlic and cook ten minutes more or until onions are very clear. Add chicken, tossing lightly to coat with curry oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked on the outside (it will cook all the way through later). Add potatoes, coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar into the pan, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes or until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.
Total cost - $9.62 for six servings (even at our dirt-cheap Indian place in Texas, this would have cost us $26.97).