Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken Curry Memories

I don't think I know anyone that doesn't like Chicken Curry. It's such a flavoursome, comforting dish and once you have the basic spices at home, you'll be able to make it several times over without buying too many ingredients.

My childhood memories of chicken curry include family picnics at the beach. In Singapore, where I grew up, chicken curry was considered a picnic (!) food. My mom would make a huge pot of the stuff and we would drive to the beach with the family and have dinner on a big canvas sheet on the sand. When we made longer trips we would even bring along a make shift stove to re-heat the curry so that we would have something warm to eat after having a dip in the cool sea. I have many fond memories of shivering away in half-soaked beach towel towel, ready to dip a big chunk of french bread the thick gravy.

There are lots of different types of chicken curry and this one is some what a hybrid version of my mom's chicken curry and a North Indian version I created myself.

What I put in (Enough for 4):
  • 1 whole chicken (around 1-1.2 kg) cut into parts
  • 2 large white onions
  • 4 cm of ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1.5 tbsp garam massala
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 seeds of cardamon
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 4 dried chillis
  • Half a star of anise
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp thick full cream yoghurt (greek-style yoghurt works well)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (do not use olive oil!!)
  • Coriander to garnish

How to make it:
  • Pound the garlic and ginger and dice the onions finely.
  • Cut the tomatoes in half and then into slices
  • Place the chicken parts in a large bowl and add curry powder, chilli powder, garam massala and salt. Use your fingers or a spatula to ensure that the chicken is well coated in the spice mixture. Leave to rest.
  • Heat the oil in a large wok or saucepan on high heat. When oil is hot, add the pounded garlic and ginger and then cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, cumin seeds, dried chillies, anise and cinnamon. Fry in the oil for about 10-30 seconds until fragrant, don't let the spices burn!
  • Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions, letting them sweat until the onion is translucent. Try to make sure that the onion does not brown.
  • Add the chicken and stir until browned then add in the tomatoes and cook till soft.
  • Add the yoghurt and stir till all ingredients are well mixed.
  • Turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for about 30 mins, occasionally stirring.
  • Your curry is ready to serve!
Curries tend to taste even better when left to sit for a day so make a big portion and have it the next day or the day after. I like to serve this up with steamed white rice and garnish with coriander. Or go old school and dip a slice of thick-crusted french loaf straight in the pot.


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