ANITA’S CHICKEN CURRY RECIPE
Serves 12-14. Takes approx. 2 ½ – 3 hours, prep and cooking. But totally worth it! Make loads so you can refrigerate and batch freeze. This is a tried and tested recipe I’ve been making for years and sharing with friends all over the world. It’s delicious, and my family and friends love it. I learnt to cook at the aged of 13; my Mummyji would say to me, “Unless you learn to cook, you’ll never find a husband!”
I do make the masala from scratch, but a good quality shop-bought brand will suffice. I also wear a shower cap and house coat so my hair and clothes don’t smell of the delicious spices cooking away.
- Eight medium/6 large onions finely chopped in a food processor or by hand.
- 50ml rapeseed oil or ghee (you may need to add more) if you find the onions sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
- Dry spices: 4 bay leaves, four whole black cardamoms, and 12 green cardamoms. Once the curry is cooked, I pick out the whole black cardamom from the saucepan.
- 2 kg lean chicken thighs need to be skinless and boneless. Chicken breast won’t cut the mustard – it’s too dry and doesn’t have enough flavour. Each piece is chopped into 4-6 pieces. OR good quality lamb chopped into small cubes.
- 800g fresh ripe tomatoes (blitzed in a food processor) or 2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes.
- 1 or 2 level teaspoons of salt (add more/less depending on your taste)
- Three heaped teaspoons of garam masala or masala.
- Two heaped teaspoons of turmeric/haldi
- Two heaped teaspoons of cumin
- One heaped teaspoon of red chilli flakes or four chopped fresh green chillies – vary quantity to your taste.
- Approx. 60g peeled ginger
- 12 cloves garlic
- Two large handfuls of finely chopped coriander, including stalks for garnishing
With this recipe, keep stirring from time to time to avoid the sauce sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it does, scrape off the bottom of the saucepan and add a little more oil and turn down the heat.
You’ll need to vary the heat throughout the cooking process.
I sometimes use a non-stick wok, Le Creuset or a deep stainless steel saucepan. You don’t want the ingredients sticking/burning on the bottom.
On medium heat, heat oil and add dry whole spices. Let them splutter for 2 minutes (until they change colour), and add onions. Coat them in the oil thoroughly. Pop the lid on and cook until golden brown (approx. 30-35 minutes), stirring occasionally on low-medium heat.
Meanwhile, add peeled garlic, ginger and fresh green chillies (optional) with a little water to a food processor and blitz until a smooth paste.
Once the onions are browned, add garlic/ginger/chilli paste. Add tomatoes, dry spices and salt, and stir thoroughly. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Then pop on the lid and cook for a further 20-30 minutes on low heat, stirring from time to time. It’s important that this bit isn’t rushed you’ve got to cook this sauce slowly to release all the flavours and avoid the curry being bitter. You’ll know when the sauce is cooked as the oil is released from the masala, and it will go a dark brown colour. If you find the sauce is sticking to the base of the saucepan, turn down the heat, mix thoroughly and add a little more oil.
Turn up the heat and add chopped chicken thighs, and coat/stir constantly in the sauce for 8-10 minutes. Do the same with the lamb.
Reduce to low heat, simmer for 60 minutes with the lid on, and stir occasionally to ensure it’s not sticking to the bottom. Lamb must be cooked on low heat for 2-3 hours until it’s soft and melts in the mouth.
Optional: 20 minutes from the end of cooking time, add other vegetables – blended spinach leaves, potato cubes, diced red peppers, grated carrots etc.
Just before serving, add chopped coriander and stir thoroughly. And keep a handful aside for garnishing.
Serve with yoghurt (any type, we like Greek yoghurt), white/brown rice, naan and pickle.
– If you add blended spinach, don’t add fresh coriander
– Add one tin of coconut milk instead of one tin of tomatoes (so do half and half).
– You can keep the chicken curry (once cooled) in the fridge for up to 3 days. I freeze portions, as it’s a time-consuming recipe and if you’re going to go to the effort of making it, cook loads!
– Substitute chicken for lamb; however, it will need an extra hour or two to cook.
Good luck, and do let me know how you get on!