Traditional Chicken Curry
- Serves 4
With layer upon layer of flavour, bags of depth, a hint of sweetness and just the right amount of chilli heat, this is the perfect chicken curry for your menu.
75g desiccated coconut
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
3 whole dried red chillies
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp fennel seeds
3 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp salt
5 tbsp vegetable oil
3 red onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
6 tbsp fresh curry leaves
8 tomatoes finely chopped
500g boneless chicken thighs (skin removed)
200ml water or chicken stock
1 small bunch fresh coriander finely chopped
A squeeze of lemon
1 green chilli finely chopped (optional)
- Toast the coconut in a pan over a low heat, stirring until it turns golden brown.
- Remove the coconut to a plate and into the same pan add the cinnamon sticks, dried chillies, peppercorns, star anise and fennel seeds. Roast in the pan for 3-4 minutes then add the ground coriander and chilli powder and stir for a minute. Add 100ml of water to form a paste and cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks, star anise and whole chillies and keep for later. Add the toasted coconut, turmeric and salt to the pan. Add everything to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a smooth paste.
- Heat the oil in the same pan and slowly cook the onions until they are soft – this will take about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes then turn up the heat and add the curry leaves and stir for a minute.
- Add the tomatoes and the spice paste, return the cinnamon stick, star anise and chillie to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring until you end up with a smooth paste and the oil starts to separate out.
- Remove half the mixture and freeze or place in an airtight container which will keep in the fridge for a week or so.
- Add the chicken and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Add 200ml chicken stock remove the lid and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the star anise, cinnamon and chilli, stir through the lemon juice and green chilli (if using) and scatter with the fresh coriander.