Traditional Chicken Curry
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.