Tag Archives: curry

Recipe | A punchy chicken curry

As is often the case after a week in another country, on return from Australia all I wanted to eat was something comforting and familiar. Curry it was, and it was good. Just hot enough to for the body to respond with sweat and serotonin, without you having to bury your face in the freezer.

Serves 4
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 cloves
10 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp mustard seed
A few curry leaves
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 dried red chillies
1 tsp onion seeds

1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tin coconut milk
1 tbsp tomato puree
4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
A couple of large handfuls of spinach

– Start by toasting the whole spices (cumin, coriander, cloves) in a dry frying pan until their scent tickles your nostrils. Some recommend toasting separately but life’s too short. Tip them into a pestle and mortar and grind with the cardamom.

– Heat a little oil in a saucepan over a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and, once they start to pop, chuck in the curry leaves, asafoetida, dried red chillies and onion seeds. Keep stirring until the chillies char and wilt, then throw in the onion and garlic. Lower the heat and soften for 10 minutes before banging it back up and stir-frying with the ground spices, chilli powder and turmeric.

– Add the coconut milk and tomato puree and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes until thickened, then add the chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes then stir in the spinach. Cook until wilted and serve with rice and a handful of coriander.


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Recipe | Pork madras

Making chicken curry can be quite tiresome. The breast requires all sorts of faffing to achieve the right consistency without drying the meat out, and thigh involves either fiddly boning beforehand or fiddling with bones afterwards. And I’m sorry, Jay, but I’ve got a bit of a thing about mucky, sticky fingers. Alas, we’ll never be bezzies. I’m sure you’ll get over it.

Anyway, pork bypasses this rather neatly. Slow-cooked and then reduced to a thick and unctuous perfection, it was just about the best homemade curry I e’er munched ‘pon. Continue reading


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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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