Chicken curry can mean anything from a dull curry-powder stew to a taste tickling feast of spices. It can be creamy or fiery, use whole spices or ground ones. This is a fairly mild chicken curry recipe, using individual ground spices with fresh chillies for warmth and cumin seeds for their nutty aroma. The flavours will keep on developing once it has cooked, so it is even better eaten the next day. If you are a hot curry aficionado then leave in the chilli seeds or use a hot jalapeno chilli pepper instead of the milder green ones.
Recipe for Chicken Curry
6 whole chicken breasts cut into chunks
2 medium onions
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3cm /1 inch root ginger peeled
3 cloves garlic
3 green chillies
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons tomato puree
250ml / 1 cup natural yoghurt
3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste.
Heat the oil in a large heavy based casserole, to which you have a lid. Fry the cumin seeds for a few seconds until you start to smell their nutty aroma. Add the sliced onions and reduce the heat. Cover with the lid and allow the onions to soften until they are translucent and soft without turning colour. This should take about 10 minutes.
While the onions are cooking, chop the ginger and garlic finely and de-seed and chop the chillies. If you want a hotter curry you can leave in some of the seeds. Add them to the softened onions and fry for one minute. Add the turmeric, garam masala and paprika. Stir all together.
Put the chicken pieces into the pan and toss with the spicy onion base. (You can remove the chicken skin if you want to keep this low fat) Cook, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes, adding a tablespoon of water if it looks like catching on the bottom of the pan.
Mix together the yoghurt and tomato puree. Lower the heat under the pan and stir it in, then add half a cup of cold water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is tender. The sauce should thicken. Make sure it doesn’t boil or the yoghurt will curdle. You can add a little more water if it gets too dry.
Serve with chopped coriander scattered over.
This is best made in advance as the flavours develop overnight. To reheat, warm in a covered casserole for 20 minutes, until just simmering.
N.B. If you want to use chicken thighs or drumsticks just add 10 minutes or so to the cooking time.