Friday, 11 December 2009

Friday Night Chicken Curry

Sometimes the end of the week doesn't seem complete without a good curry. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something strangely addictive about Indian food and when work has left you depleted mentally and physically, a gloriously spicy dish is the perfect perk up, which I love to regard as a treat.
However, it is all too easy to get a takeaway or pick up a ready-meal version from the supermarket. This is absolutely fine, but often the guilt seeps in and I have to put in the effort to make my own.

The following recipe is my concoction which is inspired by a jalfrezi. It is quite spicy as there are chunks of chilli pepper in it. For this one I used the long Spanish chillis which are reasonably fiery but are easy to regulate the amount used, in terms of heat required. Of course it is all a matter of personal taste, so feel free to adjust the quantity to satisfy your needs.

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp kalonji seeds (nigella seeds)
2 tblspns groundnut oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed finely to a pulp
inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 dried curry leaves
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tspn cayenne pepper
1/2 tspn paprika
can tomatoes
2 tblspns tomato puree
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
red capsicum pepper, de-seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 red chilli peppers, de-seeded and roughly sliced
low fat yogurt (strained)*

Heat a frying pan and put in the cumin and coriander seeds and dry roast them over a medium heat until they just begin to colour and give off their aromas. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Tip them into an electric coffee grinder and grind them to a powder and set aside.

In a large pan, heat the oil and put in the mustard, fenugreek and nigella seeds and fry gently until the mustards seeds start to pop and you can see the fenugreek seeds beginning to go a shade darker.
Add the onions and fry on a medium heat until they soften. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until the raw garlic smell disappears, stirring all the time.

Now add the ground coriander and cumin along with the cayenne pepper, turmeric, and paprika. Crumble in the curry leaves. Stir-fry gently for a couple of minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, squishing them with your wooden spoon and then stir in the tomato puree. Allow the sauce to bubble gently for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
A little water maybe added if the sauce becomes to thick.

Put in the chicken and stir to mix in, making sure it is covered by the sauce and let it all simmer gently for about 15 mins.

Add the peppers and chillies and continue to cook for a further 10 mins until the peppers soften.
Just before serving stir through the strained yogurt.*

*to strain yogurt, place a clean thin cloth inside a sieve and place over a jug. Spoon the yogurt into the cloth and leave to stand for a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge. There should be liquid left in the jug, discard this, and you’ll be left with very thick yogurt in the cloth. I find that when strained, the yogurt behaves better in cooking and it also has such a rich creamy texture – you’d never know that it was low fat.
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