Hot chicken curry for a mild(ish) evening

Once again there is a chicken from the farm defrosting for supper. Large (almost a small turkey), and organically raised, the skin is a light yellowish hue, and the legs are big enough to knock someone out, or at least chew on and pretend that you are a hobbit eating a partridge leg. And the flavour is phenomenal. I don’t have to tell you that a bird that has been raised scratching around in the outdoors, eating grass, grain and vegetable scraps and living for 3 months before being killed and hung for 2 weeks is going to taste a hell of a lot better than birds that are intensively reared, given growth promoters and killed after 6 weeks before being stuffed in polythene and shipped off to a shelf. It really is worth spending an extra few quid on a decent chicken, both in terms of promoting animal welfare and eating meat that isn’t full of antibiotics (and actually tastes of something).

I am tempted to roast the chicken, but as eagle-eyed readers will know I roasted a chicken a couple of weeks ago. So I joint the bird, keeping the carcass and wings for stock, and the legs for lunch, and cut the breasts and thigh meat into chunks. The likelihood is that you will, as I usually do, just buy the meat ready-jointed so we’ll work on that premise…

Chicken madras

Serves 4

1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
10 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 medium red onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 green chillies, sliced (seeds removed if you prefer it less spicy!)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks

To remove the seeds from the cardamom, crush the green pods under the back of a spoon and pull out the little black seeds. Save the pods to simmer with your rice, and crush the coriander and cumin seeds with the cardamom and cloves. Sweat the onion and garlic over a low heat in a little olive oil or butter, increase the heat and add the crushed spices plus the turmeric, cinnamon and chillies. Stir for a couple of minutes and add the tomatoes. Season with salt and a little sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Pour the sauce into a magimix and blend thoroughly, then return to the pan (via a sieve if you can be arsed). Stir in the coconut milk, bring to a gentle simmer and add the chicken. Simmer for 8-10 minutes till the chicken is cooked*. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with basmati rice.

*You may well find at this point that the sauce is thinner than you prefer. If so, remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, increase the heat, and simmer till reduced to desired consistency.

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