Starting out

The world's simplest chicken curry, according to me

Over lunch, I asked my Tory A-list, working-mother colleague if she cooked Indian food. She told me about her favourite recipe. It involved lashings of every imaginable masala combined with pineapple and yoghurt. I had a vision of my dead grandmother churning in her grave.

My colleague isn’t alone. I come across many people who have developed “Indian” recipes that couldn’t be further away from the country if they tried. They involve the most odd, mumbo jumbo combinations of herbs, spices, fruits and nuts imaginable.

Chucking all your Indian spices into a pot does not a curry make. The best chicken curry recipe I have found, is actually the simplest, and it has hardly anything in it.

So here is my recipe for the world’s simplest chicken curry.

Feeds 2:

  • 4/5 skinless chicken thighs/drumsticks
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 and a half inch stick of ginger
  • 1 level teaspoon of chilli powder
  • Half teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • Half teaspoon of garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt to taste

Peel the ginger and garlic and blitz with the onion in a food processor. I do this to save time, but you could chop if you wanted. Heat the oil in a non-stick pot. When it’s hot, add the sugar. This caramelizes to give the curry a lovely red appearance, without added food colour.

As soon as the sugar caramelizes add the onion mixture and cook it on high heat. You have to watch this because it shouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If it does add a little bit of hot water.

When the mixture changes colour, add the turmeric and chilli powder. Fry for five minutes and add the chopped tomatoes. Stir for another five minutes and then lower the flame and simmer.

Now you are cooking the masalas. Wait until you see the mixture giving out oil. Little holes appear and oil comes out from the sides as well. Add some water if it starts sticking.

After 5 minutes, add the chicken. Turn the flame up and cook, stirring the chicken vigorously to incorporate the masalas. After five minutes, add a little water to cover the chicken, lower the heat and stir from time to time until done.

When the chicken is cooked, stir in the garam masala and salt to taste. Sprinkle with some coriander leaves to serve.


    This entry was posted on Sunday, September 24th, 2006 at 1:51 am and is filed under Chicken, Highlights, Home Alone, Meat, Tv meals. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.