Okay, so if you have ever visited or lived in Athens, Ohio, you hopefully have had the pleasure of eating at Salaam, a Middle Eastern restaurant that is absolutely incredible! When I first moved to Athens, Salaam was an eclectic hookah bar in the basement of a building in an alley that happened to serve the best food. A year or two later, the state of Ohio passed a smoking ban (which I actually really appreciate because I have asthma AND a bad smoke allergy) and Salaam had to choose between being a hookah bar and a restaurant. THANKFULLY, they chose the later because this was seriously one of my favorite restaurants there (I still go every time I return to Athens for a visit).
I kid you not, this place has incredible food. Branden and I always start with a mezze platter of fresh hummus, warm baba ganoush, roasted red peppers and kalamata olives. OH, and don’t forget piping hot pita bread!! If that’s not enough, then we always order the coconut chicken curry which is unlike any other curry I’ve ever had…which leads me to the point of this post (and its not to praise Salaam although I do encourage you to visit if you ever find yourself in Athens). The point is, I crave this delicious dish – like big time! I have been trying for years to recreate it and have come really close before. This time is different because this time, I think I’ve nailed it!
I made this for Branden’s birthday this year along with homemade Naan and baba ganoush (both of which you’ll see recipes for really soon). This was one of those meals that made me really sad when it was over because there was so much love in this meal and I never wanted it to end! So for all you Salaam lovers out there, eat your hearts out!
Salaam serves there’s with a beautiful trio of cilantro chutney, cucumber raita, and toasted coconut on the side…you can bet that I did the same!
Salaam’s Coconut Chicken Curry (not the restaurant’s exact recipe, but one that I changed to mimic their’s)
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 3 to 4 jalapenos, seed removed and finely chopped
- 1 dried ancho chile pepper, rehydrated in boiling water, chopped
- 1 tsp. ground tumeric
- 1 TBS ground coriander
- ½ TBS cayenne pepper
- 1 rotisserie chicken, separated from skin and bones
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 c. chicken stock
- 2-3 TBS coconut cream (Reserve some of the creamy part of the coconut milk if you can’t find coconut cream)
- 3 dried kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- salt to taste
Heat oil in a large dutch oven and add the onions. Sautee until soft. Add the garlic, chilies, tumeric, coriander, and cayenne. Reduce heat, sautee for another 2 minutes or so. (NOTE: At this point, I threw my coconut milk in the blender and then added the above ingredients. I gave it a few pulses and then continued on with the recipe – this isn’t necessary, but I wanted my sauce a little more uniformed).
Add chicken, coconut milk, stock, and lime leaves to a dutch oven and and cook on low for about 45 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Stir in them lemon juice and coconut cream. Salt to taste. Remove leaves. Serve immediately over jasmine rice.
This was adapted from This Primal Life