Chicken Curry

This is a kind of all-purpose Balti with a Kashmiri flavour.  The Kashmiris would use large pieces of chicken on the bone but because I’m doing it balti style I’m using smaller chunks of meat.

This will make enough for six servings – so it’ll be good to freeze.

  • A chicken’s worth of meat –  skinless, boneless thighs and breasts.  About 1.5kgs cut into inch ish sized chunks
  • 2 heaped tsp. cumin seeds (or heaped teaspoons of powder)
  • 2 heaped tsp. coriander seeds (or heaped teaspoons of powder)
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 12 green cardamom pods
  • A cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A big chunk of ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • A couple of red chillies
  • Extra chilli flakes, if you like it hotter
  • 2 onions
  • 4 tomatoes – they’ve got to be ripe or you can use tinned ones
  • 150g 0% fat yoghurt
  • A handful of fresh coriander
  • Groundnut oil

Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns to a big, hot frying pan or skillet and toast them for a couple of minutes.  Then transfer to a pestle and mortar and bash them up.  Add the cardamom pods and bash them a bit too.  Or just bash up the cardamom with the powdered spices if you’re cheating.

Finely chop your onion, garlic and de-seed and chop your fresh chillies.  Heat some oil in the pan to medium and then add the onion.  Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, the rest of the bashed up spices (and some extra chilli flakes if you want more heat).  Reduce the temperature and fry the onion in the spices for ten minutes or more until it’s nice and soft. 

Next in goes the chicken to brown.  Raise the heat a bit to get it golden then add the chopped garlic and chillies.  While they’re cooking, chop the tomatoes, and after a couple of minutes, toss them in too.

Now comes about half an hour of simmering so take the heat back down.  The first 20 minutes as it is until the tomatoes have mushed in.  If things are looking too dry just add a splash of water, but not too much.  If you overdo it just burn it off at a high heat for a little while.   Then when it’s simmering gently, add about 100ml of yogurt and simmer for a little bit more until you think it’s looking about right: - the chicken cooked through and the sauce nice and thick.

Just before you serve up, chop the coriander, take the pan off the heat and mix most (but not all of it) in.  Add a dollop of yogurt to the top of each serving with a sprinkle on that last bit of coriander.

Serve it with some cauliflower rice, and even a crisp iceberg lettuce. Iceberg goes surprisingly well with curry.