Wednesday, September 4, 2013

the home style chicken curry

You can't really go wrong cooking this curry unless you leave the pot on the stove and go on off to Sri Lanka on holiday expecting to be ticking away nicely upon return. I've found this always best with pieces of thigh meat, still on the bone; if it has to be boneless, again thigh meat will yield better results. Adding the ginger toward the end is a sweet and unique step that does nothing less than to enhance the flavour. I have cooked variations of this this recipe a thousand times - and it just keeps getting better. I brought back some incredible garam masala from my latest visit to the Indian Ocean, with 22 different spices, and most of them still whole. This mixture crushed just before use releases the most incredible headspace of aromas and flavours; something similar is well worth seeking out where possible.
Home style chicken curry

Serves 4
3 tsp vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
4 green cardamom, 2.5cm cinnamon stick, 10-12 black peppercorns, 1 tsp cumin seeds and 2 cloves all pounded together with a pestle and mortar
250g onions, finely sliced
½ tsp garlic, minced to a paste
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
100g tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
600g chicken, cut into 2.5cm chunks
½ tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
Heat the oil in a pan, add the bay leaf and pounded spices, and stir until the spices crackle and they change colour. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown, then add the garlic paste. Stir continuously and keep scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid the mix getting burnt.
Add the powdered spices, but not the garam masala. Mix quickly without letting the spices get burnt at the bottom.
Add salt, the tomatoes and the paste and cook on slow heat, stirring slowly. As the tomatoes melt to form a sauce, add the chicken and cook on a slow heat for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is almost cooked.
Sprinkle on the garam masala and simmer to finish cooking. Add coriander and sprinkle over ginger.